Stop dropping hammers before someone gets hurt!

I’m still debating with myself about unsubscribing from all these fund-raising emails I’ve been getting from Democrats ever since I was in James’ campaign. That would cut my email burden about in half. But then, I wouldn’t get the chance to make fun of them.

Two things continue to strike me about them:

  1. They’re so stupid. Or rather, they assume the recipient is so stupid.
  2. They are amazingly lacking in originality. You get the same painfully hackneyed clichés over and over, sometimes multiple times in the same day.

Oh, and before you Democrats get all huffy, I’m sure the Republican fund-raisers are at least as as dumb and repetitive — probably far more so in these days of enslavement to Trumpism — but I have no way of knowing, because they don’t send me any. Which shows they have at least a smidgeon of smarts.

So I mock the ones I have.

There are several basic formulas for these things, and two types seem contradictory. There’s the poor-pitiful-us-please-send-us-money ones, which start with such headlines as “This is not the message I had hoped to send today.” Then there’s the ones that brag about how Democrats are mercilessly beating up on the opposition.

The idea with all of them is to stir emotions — any emotions, apparently — because they’ve learned that makes people give money. Or at least, the consultants say they’ve learned that. Personally, I wonder. Wouldn’t it be cool if occasionally an idea crept into these appeals? Even I might give if I got one like that.

Anyway, in recent days I saved a few of the “look how we’re beating up on them” variety, mainly because of the astounding literary monotony of them. All of these pictured in this post came in in a nine-day period — and I probably failed to save some of them.

You’ve seen the one above. Here are a couple more:

Now at this point, you might be saying, “Well, women — even that Republican one we like — just can’t handle tools, the poor things!” But hush your mouth, you sexist pig — male Democrats are apparently just as clumsy:

I’ve been known to repeat myself — everyone needs an editor, and I don’t have one here on the blog — but even if I were in a coma, I don’t think I would do something like this. I mean, think about it — that same headline is going out over and over to the same people! Does anyone actually truly think that’s a good idea?…

31 thoughts on “Stop dropping hammers before someone gets hurt!

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I’m sorry that everything I write seems to irritate you so.

      You would have such a happy, peaceful life if it weren’t for someone — I don’t know who it is — forcing you to read this blog…

      1. Ken

        Or forcing you to remain subscribed to these ads.
        Do you really expect these solicitations to be literary gems?

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          No, but I don’t expect them to be as aggressively idiotic as they are. They could back off on that just a tad, I think.

          You have to realize that I had to deal with these people back during the campaign, which was hell — actually, I only had to do that for the first month, a period when we had no campaign manager. After that, he or someone else took it over, and I was able to concentrate on the work that (as the campaign manager, who had WAY more experience than I at these things, told me) would normally have been done by a communications staff of five or six people.

          Which of course brings up a conflict. If we had raised more money — a lot more money — I’d have had that staff, and who knows? Maybe we would have won, what with the additional TV ads and such we could have afforded.

          So I was perfectly aware that we desperately needed the money. I just hated everything we had to do to get it. The ads, certainly. But also the time James, and Mandy, had to put in making personal contacts. One of my favorite pictures from the campaign was one I shot of our finance chairwoman standing glaring at James when she caught him, on a day when he was supposed to be calling contributors, in the kitchen at the back of his office doing something I had wanted him to do — talking on the phone to a reporter who’d been trying to get him.

          I never showed it to her, though — our finance chair. She wouldn’t have enjoyed it.

          Anyway, just to be nice to the fundraising people — sometimes they try to make the same point as the “hammer” headlines with slightly different wording. Such as in this ad I received today. Sometimes, instead of dropping hammers, our friends “blow us away.”…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Oh, and by the way — the issue here is NOT how much stupid crap I have clogging up my email, or how irritating I find it to be.

            I could make sure I never see one again, but that wouldn’t solve the problem, would it? And I wouldn’t have the material for writing about it.

            The problem, of course, is this: Our democracy — and for the last couple of centuries, Americans from all points on the political spectrum have pushed to make it less a republic and more an actual democracy — is completely dependent on money.

            And in terms of how the money is raised AND how it is spent, the whole point is to hit a button on both potential contributors and voters that will spark an emotional response.

            Note that bit in the ad above above about “crying tears of PURE JOY.” Y’all know how much I love Joe Biden. And I like President Obama almost as much. If I made up a favorite Top Five list of recent pols, they’d both be contenders.

            But the idea of having such a response to a political situation — crying tears of PURE JOY — is rather laughable. I guess if I were a Frenchman standing on a street in Paris watching the French and American troops enter the city after driving out the Nazis in August 1944, I might have had such a response (this is on my mind because last night, I finished watching “Is Paris Burning?” for the first time — I highly recommend it). But in my own life? Sure, I was VERY happy to see Joe win in 2020. But tears of joy, or tears of anything else? Nope.

            I also find it a bit hard to believe the people sending the stupid ad had such a response.

            To work, a republic — or even a democracy — needs to depend on reason. On deliberation. On discernment. But it has always depended far, far too much on the emotional punch to the gut. And that has brought us to this sad state in which we find ourselves today.

            These Democratic ads illustrate the point. If you want to see it on the other side, allow me to share something I retweeted today:

            Yep, that’s worse. Way, way worse. But that doesn’t make these stupid ads, or the emotions they try to stir, good…

            1. Barry

              What a picture. Don’t you know he’s a “proud American”.

              I am sure his family is proud.

              I have to admit, the “Biden was not unifying” in his speech crowd might not have the moral authority to point fingers.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                I’m not sure his family IS proud. Even if they agree with him, they might wish he’d tone it down a tad.

                Of course, that would put them in the same category as all those Trump supporters who acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, his tweets went too far…

              2. Ken

                This is how many would LIKE to view Trumpists. As tasteless, fat-bellied “losers” — to quote another poster to this blog. But the majority of the people who took part in the failed Jan. 6th coup weren’t losers. They came largely from the middle of society. They were (former) police and military, business people, tradespeople, folks with homes and families and careers. That’s what makes Trumpism – with or without its leader – peculiarly dangerous. The threat comes from the middle of American society, not its fringes.

                Their attempted coup has not yet ended. And those who are abetting it weren’t insulted by Biden in his address on MAGA Republicans. THEY are the insult. What’s more, no better or more concise example of how MAGAism can operate without Trump is found in comments denying Democrats legitimacy by declaring them undemocratic.

                1. Doug Ross

                  It’s hard to imagine there are still people who think January 6 was an attempted coup. But there you go. Mentally, they are no different than the guy in the picture: obsessed, deranged, and brainwashed.

                  Maybe if he was wearing a rainbow flag and a skirt, his message would have more appeal.

                    1. Doug Ross

                      A coup needs a leader, a plan, and an actual group of people to assume power if it succeeds. None of that existed on January 6. It was a riot by a bunch of losers that got out of hand outside the building and then turned into a minor vandalism escapade allowed by the Capitol police once they were ALLOWED to enter. And then it fizzled out in an hour or two.

                      It wasn’t a coup, It was a protest similar to many other protests that occurred on the streets in 2020. Fringe radicals who lack any direction or purpose.

                    2. Brad Warthen Post author

                      OK, everybody: Come up with another word for a mob of “fringe radicals” attacking and seizing the U.S. Capitol — for the first time anything remotely like this had happened in U.S. history — and hunting for the vice president so they could hang him.

                      Doug doesn’t like the words “attempted coup.”

                    3. Brad Warthen Post author

                      Doug is, of course, referring to the kind of coup I knew in my childhood. I’ve referred before to my one experience with an actual coup d’etat.

                      I think I’ve also referred to the fact that I was actually in the house where the coup was planned, AS it was being planned. Or at least some aspect of it, we assume. I mean, I wasn’t in the room, but in another part of the house. But the meeting was between an Ecuadorean Navy captain — who happened to be our landlord — and an admiral who a day or two later would be the jefe of the junta. Sure, they could have been talking about an upcoming fútbol game or something, but I kind of doubt it…

                      Anyway, the takeover went very smoothly. They tend to go differently when they are led by such yahoos as these instead of by senior military officers in a country with a very fuzzy concept of civilian, constitutional control over the military…

                  1. Barry

                    It’s not hard to imagine because you are simply incorrect.

                    We know some of them wanted to overthrow the government because we have their own words. We have the words of their families in court.

                    When you have people like Guy Reffitt armed with a gun and weapons, engaging with police on the Capitol Steps, who went to the building to find and drag out members of Congress , it’s a coup attempt. It’s a poor one, but it’s one.

                    Now, it wasn’t a very well thought out plan – just a bank robbery that is very poorly executed at a comical level is still a bank robbery attempt.

                2. Barry

                  I am not sure.

                  Most of the people that have been in court for their crimes in January 6th have a few things in common. We know that because either they, or their attorney’s have spoken in court.

                  1) Most of them admitted in court that they were addicted to various right wing websites and lost the ability to control themselves as a result.

                  2) Many of their family members have said that they became obsessed with Trump or Trump aligned websites.

                  3) Their attorneys have told judges that they had substance abuse problems – or had serious problems holding a job.

                  4) Many of them don’t seem to have had stable family lives, or real life friends other than online.

                  I think a number of folks that showed up on January 6th- that never went down or into the building were probably just normal folks- even if they were cultish in their behavior and actions.

                  1. Ken

                    MAGA is more than a Trump cult. As Biden, among others, have suggested, MAGAism is the rejection of democracy. It denies Democrats political legitimacy. It advocates that Democrats deserve no respect as a political force in American government. “Stop the Steal” was not just a rejection of Trump’s loss. It was a rejection of Democrats ever holding power.

                  2. Ken

                    Besides, are you saying that nobody in middle America ever suffers from or is involved in 1, 2, 3, or 4 of your list? That 1, 2, 3, and 4 remove these folks from the ranks of “normal” America?

                    1. Barry

                      Of course not.

                      but a lot of of the folks that went to Washington that believed the lies and nonsense of Trump knew better than to go to the Capitol.

                      The folks at the Capitol- all Trump crazies for sure- were even more extreme than the other crazy Trumpers in Washington that day.

                  3. Brad Warthen Post author

                    In any case, the whole Trumpism phenomenon can’t be explained one way or the other. There is no “This is the answer” that can explain just under half the people in the country voting for such a malevolent, grossly unqualified ignoramus to be the most powerful man on the planet — and doing it twice.

                    The process by which voter intelligence, or character, or both, declined to this point so suddenly is very complicated. It’s not a matter of culturally or economically left-behind whites, or racism, or elitism on the other side, or any one thing.

                    We saw that portion of the electorate inching in that direction over a period of years — from the Angry White Males of 1994 through the Tea Party silliness. And there were strong indications that the GOP was yearning for someone wildly unsuitable in 2012. Remember how polls bounced from one Loonie of the Week to another during the primaries? But they weren’t quite ready to jump off the cliff yet, and settled for Romney.

                    And I suspect they wouldn’t have elected him in 2016, either, if Hillary Clinton — whom they had hated for more than two decades — hadn’t been the Democratic nominee.

                    But then, between then and 2000, they grew used to the idea, to the point that they almost went with him even against someone who didn’t stir their greatest ire.

                    But in any case, I can’t explain it with any neat summary. I wish I could, and that I knew of a remedy for it…

                    1. Doug Ross

                      Let me know when Trump is convicted. It was a done deal so many times in the past five years, I’ve lost count.

                    2. Barry

                      Trump craziness is mainstream now.

                      I heard a few news snippets and audio from Trump’s speech in Ohio last night.

                      The man has severe brain damage. He sounded like a complete fool and today it’s not even news.

                      On the other hand, I watched the first part of the new Ken Burns documentary on PBS. It’s about the United States and the Holocaust.

                      Last night’s episode was incredible.

                      It walked the viewer through the early days of Hitler and the role non intervention played to help Hitler become more powerful.

                    3. Barry

                      I think Trump could easily be convicted – especially in a Washington DC courtroom.

                      but the DOJ is too scared to bring the charges knowing what the crazy Trumpers might do.

                      It’s clearly worth doing no matter what those cult members think or do.

  1. Ken

    “I could make sure I never see one again, but that wouldn’t solve the problem, would it?”

    I dunno, maybe it would. I get the same sort of solicitations. And as soon as I see one, I delete it. End of story. What if more people did that? Instead of, say, obsessing over how they supposedly are destroying America – which I don’t think they are. They may be an annoyance. But there are far, far greater threats to American government than that.

    Like the threats that were the topic of Biden’s speech last week.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    By the way, just in case you’re concerned about all this hammer-dropping…

    I just cleaned up my email, and since I posted this, there have been MORE incidents of this phenomenon.

    Liz Cheney and Pete Buttigieg have BOTH done it again! I’m starting to wonder about their motor skills…

  3. Barry


    Most of the people that have been in court for their crimes regarding January 6th have some things in common. We know that because of their statements in court – or the statements of family members or attorneys.

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