Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama Supporters and the Police State Mentality

I've written in the past on the questionable and frightening tactics rabid Obama supports use against anyone who dares question him. On Friday, Megan McCardle visited the same subject.

Here is the back story. A reporter, Neil Munro, ran a test of the donation systems for both Obama and McCain. He purchased two $25 gift cards from American Express and used them to makes donations to the campaigns of Obama and McCain.
As required by law, the campaigns' Web sites asked for, and National Journal provided, the donor's correct name, location and employment. The cards were purchased with cash at a Washington, D.C., drugstore, and the campaigns' Web sites were accessed through a public computer at a library in Fairfax County, Virginia.

The Obama campaign's Web site accepted the $25 donation, but the McCain campaign's Web site rejected it.
You can go read his entire report for the details, but the high-level summary is that McCain system actually checked and verified the address as is required by law while the Obama system happily ignored the law and accepted the donation.

That is a story in and of itself, but McCardle writes about what happened after the story was published. It seems some Obama supporters are upset that this reporter had the audacity to actually do some investigative reporting and they wonder if maybe Munro could be arrested for committing voter fraud.
It also seems like the only way to expose much wrongdoing or error. The Obama campaign screwed up massively; it should not be possible to charge something to a credit card without matching the name to the name on the credit card. Most responsible web processors also require that you provide a fair amount of other information, to ensure that people aren't using stolen cards. And beyond that, last time I looked it was mandatory to get correct names to ensure that people aren't violating the campaign finance laws. I don't support those laws, to be sure. But as long as they are the law, all the campaigns have to abide by them.

Wondering if we can't prosecute the person who exposed the campaign's error smacks of police state tactics. Yes, I still support Obama, and I have no reason to think that the error was deliberate. But that doesn't mean that I think the Obama team has a right to have its errors protected from public exposure.
I'm sure if Munro had been spending his time dumpster diving in Alaska to dig up some dirt on Palin, he would be labeled a journalistic hero by Obama supporters. Note also two details that indicate just how far this "Obama will not be questioned" mantra goes.
  1. Munro didn't specifically target the Obama campaign. He ran a test that treated both campaigned equally. And he published his results as they happened with no doctoring. Yet somehow these actions are taken as punative towards Obama and his angry mob is demanding retribution.

  2. Megan McCardle writes about this attitude but can't help but remind people that she still supports Obama and doesn't support the laws he is violating. It is probably standard policy at a publication such as The Atlantic--all writings must be pro-Obama or they will not be published.
People are weary of this campaign--many just want it to be over. They assume that once it is, they can't put much of this behind them. How wrong they might be. If candidate Obama is not to be questioned and those that due are threatened with legal action, how might President Obama demand to be treated?

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