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Hey Brown supporters: Don't shoot NOM, shoot the stances that spurred them into action!

by Jeremy Hooper

So a very weird situation is playing out over on the National Review's Corner blog. Check out this exchange, posted onto the blog as a series of four different posts, three from Kathryn Jean Lopez and a final one from Maggie Gallagher:

#1: Lopez hears from an angry reader who doesn't think that highlighting Scott Brown's anti-LGBT equality stances are smart strategy:

Monday, January 18, 2010
[Kathryn Jean Lopez]

Another Massachusetts e-mailer, who suggests some of the calls stop:
Here in Boston, I am getting bombarded with auto calls about the election. Been surveyed 3 times this weekend.

I am dismayed however to be getting auto calls from anti-gay marriage and anti-abortion groups based in Washington (caller id says so) with canned speeches about Coakley. I am voting for Brown, but I am a registered Republican. A lot of people who are independent or even Democrat who are leaning Brown will get turned off if they feel that by doing so, they are signing on to social conservatism.

If you have any influence, suggest they back off before they ruin it for everyone, including themselves.

I don't know what group that is making the calls. Seems right that they probably don't need to press. If you're pro-life and pro-traditional marriage, you're probably voting for Brown already.

UPDATE: A source associated with the campaign says: "It's definitely not us, we're not doing it and we don't condone it at all."

#2: Lopez gets "miscommunication" from Maggie Gallagher. Then, after getting a correction from Maggie later in the day (see below, #4), posts an update attempting to correct the record:

Monday, January 18, 2010
Voter Beware! Phone Mischief in Massachusetts? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

Earlier I posted a complaint about marriage calls in Massachusetts. The reader was questioning the strategy. Daily Kos is pointing to the National Organization for Marriage as the caller. Not so, NOM's president, Maggie Gallagher tells me.

A Brown campaign official who has been investigating tells me: "They are calling via a push-button survey and asking people if they support Obama. If you say 'no,' it hangs up on you. If you say 'yes,' it then proceeds to give you this rabid right-wing message and tell you to vote for Scott Brown. Again, that message is going to Obama supporters, so it looks like it's deliberately designed to tick off Ds and Indies."

[G-A-Y editor's note: this part appears to have been added after post #4, below] UPDATE/CORRECTION: Miscommunication: NOM is doing voter outreach in Massachusetts:

Responding to multiple press inquires, today the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) confirmed its voter outreach campaign supporting Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate special election. Over the weekend and continuing today NOM will place over 790,000 calls primarily to Independent and Republican voters to identify voters who support marriage and encourage them to turn out and vote for Scott Brown.

My apologies.

#3: Another emailer contacts Lopez, referring to NOM's work as "crude":

Monday, January 18, 2010
More on the Faux Robocalls
[Kathryn Jean Lopez]

A reader from Brookline e-mails:
I can confirm those fake National Organization for Marriage telephone polls — the calls specifically announce that they are from NOM, and struck me as counterproductively crude politicking. If they are, in fact, fake, someone needs to be prosecuted for fraud.

I can also confirm the targeted nature of the calls. They referred to my girlfriend's last name, not mine — she is unenrolled (Mass speak for independent) while I'm a registered Republican.

I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but I'm seeing people waving Scott Brown signs in Brookline — the bluest heart of BarneyFrankistan.

For the first time in my adult life, I may cast a vote that counts in Massachusetts!

#4: Maggie corrects the correct (prompting Lopez to add the correction to #2)

Monday, January 18, 2010
NOM Is Robocalling in Massachusetts
[Maggie Gallagher]

I confused Kathryn in a quick e-mail, where I meant to convey that but apparently conveyed the opposite. My bad. Apologies.


Alright, so here's what we find so interesting about this: Even though NOM's calls are accurately addressing the fact that Scott Brown will be a voice for marriage inequality, some Republican voters felt strongly enough about these calls to write in and demand they stop. This prompts Kathryn Lopez to say that "[i]f you're pro-life and pro-traditional marriage, you're probably voting for Brown already," a thought that would seem to actually justify NOM's calls. After all, shouldn't voters in America's first state to approve marriage equality know that the man they might send to office would be a voice of hostility towards the marriages that've been happening (without incident) in the Bay State for the past 5+ years? We think so. And we think that some of these outraged readers should consider whether they are enraged by the robo-messages or the campaign stances that led to their creation!

But then sources associated with the Brown campaign weigh in (in #1 and #2), saying the messaging is "rabid right-wing" and that they "don't condone it all." Well, uhm, here's the thing: The messages, as reported by all that have heard them, basically say that Brown is against same-sex marriage, comparing the Republican candidate against the pro-equality Coakley's own record. And guess what? THAT IS AN ACCURATE ASSESSMENT! So if the Brownies find it "rabid" and worthy of scorn, then they are the ones being disingenuous, as their man is planning on becoming what NOM wants him to be: A supportive voice for preserving DOMA, and for banning marriage equality in general! That's simply a fact.

So then the general tone of these exchanges becomes so anti-the NOM ads, that we get insinuation that they may have been fraudulently conducted in NOM's name. In fact, Lopez even begins to refer to them (in #3) as "faux robocalls." Repudiation seems to be the order of the day, as they seem to realize that "rabid" social conservatism, no matter how accurate the assessment may be, is not a winning position for a Republican in a blue state. The tone is one of defense, primarily because the curtain has been too fully lifted for their liking. Plus, Lopez has already erroneously said that Maggie distanced herself from them, so she feels license to see them as nutty and not from their own team.

But then what happens? Maggie pipes in and says, "Oh, yea, they were totally us!" So all of those calls that the campaign itself has just written off as "rabid" and ones that they do no condone? The ones that NRO readers have written in to condemn? Yea, Maggie, a fellow NRO personality, is forced to step up and own up to them and the $50,000 that NOM claims to have invested in this race, and Lopez is forced to correct her earlier (#2) post. When they thought they were fake, they all hated them. But now that they know that one of their own *is* responsible? Well so far, they've remained silent.

So where does this leave us? Well to us, it's a blatant example of a party and movement that has no problem going after gays, yet who NEVER wants to own it. This NOM robocalling is gross, just like the group's entire organized existence. But the bottom line: NOM is not lying about Brown! And if their calls turn off some voters, then THAT"S A GOOD THING! Because marriage bias IS detestable, something that Mass residents know more than anyone in the nation. NOM's handiwork is also detestable -- but it's not inaccurate when it comes to Scott Brown's plans to push back on basic fairness for LGBT people. Voters still have a few hours to realize this.

***The entire exchange can be found at NRO's blog: The Corner

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Your thoughts

Homophobia is immoral and those caught up in it are naturally guilt-ridden and reluctant to admit they are mired in it. That is why radical anti-gay activists try so hard to hide what they are doing and believing (in Mass. and in the Prop. 8 court case). If they really believed that what they were doing is right, they would be proud of it. They're not, they're ashamed of it.

Posted by: Michael | Jan 19, 2010 10:21:28 AM

Wow, Maggie's been caught not lying. This is one for the history books.

Posted by: Matt Algren | Jan 19, 2010 11:37:45 AM

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