How the GOP used social media to outsmart anti-free speech laws.

Looks like the NRCC was on the ball this cycle.

Republicans and outside groups used anonymous Twitter accounts to share internal polling data ahead of the midterm elections, CNN has learned, a practice that raises questions about whether they violated campaign finance laws that prohibit coordination.

Translation: they probably didn’t, which CNN will concede later. Moving on…

…The groups behind the operation had a sense of humor about what they were doing. One Twitter account was named after Bruno Gianelli, a fictional character in The West Wing who pressed his colleagues to use ethically questionable “soft money” to fund campaigns.

A typical tweet read: “CA-40/43-44/49-44/44-50/36-44/49-10/16/14-52–>49/476-10s.” The source said posts like that — which would look like gibberish to most people — represented polling data for various House races.

Classic Purloined Letter technique.  If the Democrats had known what accounts to look at, they could have gotten the GOP’s coveted internal polling – the real stuff; the stuff that the parties guard like a dragon guards its hoard – and then used that data to wreak great evil.  But they did not, no doubt to their public fury and private shame.  It’s unfortunately a trick that can be done only once; but then, the best shenanigans always are.

As for the ethics involved… look at the title.  When it comes to the First Amendment and free speech: what part of Congress shall make no law is unclear?  I mean, I understand that some fetishists out there have this elaborate mythology set up, complete with the convenient devil figure Dark Campaign Money*.  But then, there are fetishists out there who are into clown porn; I don’t really feel obligated to take them too seriously, either.  The bottom line is: out in the real world, as long as the government remains this giant behemoth that can seemingly-randomly crush any one individual person, group, organization, or demographic designation without even meaning to do so, people are going to want to get as much influence as possible over where the behemoth falls down.

That means that people take elections seriously; and so will be interested in supporting candidates who will advance said people’s favored policies.  And one of the best ways to support a candidate is to give him or her money, because the money pays for the microphone that gets out the message.  This is why ‘campaign finance reform**’ is so concerned with money; money is speech.

And guess what?  Congress shall make no law.

Via @moody.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: The Democratic party, by the way, does not get to do anything like this.  It’s the one that loves restrictive speech codes so much, so it can blessed well live by the rules that it wants to impose on the rest of us.  If the Democratic party doesn’t like that, well, the Democratic party can maybe consider stopping their knee-jerk support of restrictive speech codes.  Or not.  Not my problem, either way.

*Oh, man, the bad pop psychology Nasty Fun I could have with the Activist Left over that one.

**A remarkably Orwellian phrase, given that every time that we get more of it we end up with less reform.


One thought on “How the GOP used social media to outsmart anti-free speech laws.”

  1. It’s probably doable again, just not using twitter. Think of how many social media sites there are out there that have fallen off in popularity where you could stash something like this; sure there’s LiveJournal and MySpace, but there are lots of others.

Comments are closed.