This is a follow-up, perhaps a sort of caveat, to my previous post. It shows you what happens when you start caring, even a little bit, about congressional contests in other places.
Some time ago, still enjoying the new experience of making (tiny) contributions to political campaigns (which followed close on my new practice of posting signs in my yard — another thing I couldn’t do as a newspaperman), I carelessly contributed five dollars to Mark Kelly.
Call it a foreshadowing of my abandonment of the long-held principle of not caring about, much less meddling in, other people’s business. Although I wasn’t there yet. This was different. It was the special election to replace my hero John McCain, and Kelly was both a retired Navy captain (like McCain, and like my Dad) and an astronaut. I couldn’t give to my other hero John Glenn, so this was the next best thing. Godspeed, Mark Kelly, and all that.
Why five dollars? Because that’s all he asked for. Of course, I knew this was a come-on from his fund-raisers, and it would lead to lots of pleas for much more money, but I did it anyway.
And he won. No doubt my half a sawbuck played a big role in the victory.
And of course, the pleas came. And as usual, I ignored them. But then one day, he (or rather, ActBlue, his fundraiser) came up with a neat gimmick. They asked me to give $5 again, and simultaneously give another fiver to Sherrod Brown in Ohio. I had a vaguely positive impression of Brown, and I thought it was a mildly interesting pitch, and I guess I was feeling flush that day, so I did it.
The result was predictable, but Sherrod (I hear from him so often, we’re on a first-name basis) turned out to be the most extremely persistent political panhandler I’d ever encountered, putting Capt. Kelly in the shade, and then some.
Of course I got the usual emails, but his main oeuvre is the phone text. I frequently get three texts a day from him. I’ve never seen anything like it. And yes, I know I could turn off the flow, but I find it an interesting phenomenon to observe. Not that I intend to give him any more money.
I keep expecting him (or ActBlue) to realize that and move me off the list, but instead, he’s stepped it up, bringing out the big guns. And I mean big.
Now — apparently having learned that I’m a sort of South Carolina Toby Ziegler — he has sicced President Bartlet himself on me! In the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten two texts like this:
Hi, Brad, it’s Martin Sheen. You might not know this about me, but I was born & raised in Dayton, Ohio, and am the seventh of 10 kids born to two immigrant parents in search of the American dream.
I deeply admire Sherrod Brown because he has always fought for Ohio families like mine – he makes me proud to be a Buckeye.
But Sherrod is facing his toughest reelection yet against multiple self-funding GOP challengers who are ready to spend millions of dollars attacking him. He needs our help to win. So please, will you join me & chip in $15 or more today so that Sherrod can keep fighting for us in the Senate? sherrodbrown.com/martinsheendo
He even threw in a little video:
What am I gonna do now? Has he finally found the button that will cause me to cough up a tiny bit more cash?
It serves me right, for meddling in other people’s campaigns. I’ve been rewatching “The Wire” in recent days, and I know what Bunk would tell me: “There you go, giving a flip when it ain’t your turn to give a flip.”
That’s the cleaned-up version of the original, of course….