October 13, 2004


A couple of weeks ago, in response to Jonathan Freedlandís mewling in The Guardian about how he couldnít vote in the US elections, I wrote:

Hereís a way Freedland and his fellow meddlers can still have their say in the USA: each could simply identify and adopt a random individual living in one of the battleground states and target that person with emails, letters, and telephone calls begging them to vote against Bush. Iím sure average Americans will be pleased to receive whiny 3am calls from people called "Jonathan", and will alter their vote accordingly.

This afternoon I received an (unsolicited) e-mail from The Guardian containing "the address of your voter in Clark County, Ohio. Please use it wisely." What the ... hey, these bastards are using my idea!

We have come up with a unique way for non-Americans to express your views on the policies and candidates in this election to some of the people best placed to decide its outcome. It's not quite a vote, but it's a chance to influence how a very important vote will be cast. Or, at the very least, make a new penpal.

It works like this. By typing your email address into the box on this page you will be sent a name and address of a voter in Clark County, Ohio from the most recent publicly available voters roll. You may not have heard of it, but it's one of the most marginal areas in one of the most marginal states: at the last election, just 167 votes separated Democrats from Republicans. It's a place where a change of mind among just a few voters could make a real difference.

Writing to a Clark County voter is a chance to explain how US policies effect you personally, and the rest of the world more generally, and who you hope they will send to the White House. It may even persuade someone to use their vote at all.

More about it here. The worst part is, Iím not even eligible to win The Guardian's prize (five nights in Clark County) for the best letter; that contest is only open to UK residents. Whatever; I'll settle for a contributor payment. The invoice is on its way.

UPDATE. John le Carre, Antonia Fraser, and Richard Dawkins get in on the action.

UPDATE II. Giles Ward has an excellent suggestion. To be pursued.

UPDATE III. LGF readers join the fun.

UPDATE IV. Noting this passage -- "Writing to a Clark County voter is a chance to explain how US policies effect you personally, and the rest of the world more generally, and who you hope they will send to the White House" -- Imre Salusinszky writes: "'Effect' should be 'affect', and 'who' should be 'whom'. If the Poms are going to start badgering innocent voters in Ohio they should at least try to write English Ė standards in the US are higher on this kind of stuff."

Posted by Tim Blair at October 13, 2004 11:58 PM

Satirists all over the world are slitting their wrists in despair.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at October 14, 2004 at 12:15 AM

British Election Spam - oh yeah that's going win one for the flipper.

Posted by: LB at October 14, 2004 at 12:16 AM

'If you're feeling brave, though, you might want to explore the highly influential talk-radio airwaves. On the right, the overarchingly dominant figure is Rush Limbaugh, heard on hundreds of stations nationwide, including 19 in Ohio, some of which can be heard in Clark County. This is a strictly at-your-own-risk proposition ...

as against being a soldier in iraq

or afghanistan

or a policeman in bali

or jakarta

Posted by: ilibcc at October 14, 2004 at 12:41 AM

These are TOO funny. I can just imagine the reaction of the average Ohioan on receiving one of these preciously self-regarding and condescending missives: "Honey, I think it's from one of the gals on, what's that show-- Absolutely Fantastic?"

Posted by: Mike G at October 14, 2004 at 12:47 AM

Wow, I had no idea the Guardian was so pro-Bush! I mean, their readership is very likely to flood all these Clark County voters with diatribes against Bush and urge them to vote for Kerry, right? Obviously, the Guardian is well aware of the average American's contrarian nature, so they must be counting on the average Clark County person going out of their way to vote Bush as a result. Remind me to thank them on Novemeber 3rd for all their help!
(A happy Bushie)

Posted by: Vicki at October 14, 2004 at 12:49 AM

A whole bunch of people in Piqua are gonna be annoyed.

Posted by: Robert Crawford at October 14, 2004 at 12:51 AM

Could you guys, please, please do such stupid acts? The election over here is going to be sooooo close that everything and anything that can be done to help Bush win would be great. One thing that would help would be having folks from across 'the pond' call and email stumping for Kerry - gad, I can only hope that some fools in Britain and Europe carry out that not-too-bright suggestion.

Posted by: mike from oregon at October 14, 2004 at 12:57 AM

It almost makes me wish I was back home in Allen County. My response would be: "We're glad to have your support in the present War Against Nusiance, Tommy, but please remember how you've fared the last few times we've had a difference of opinion."

Posted by: OH Boy at October 14, 2004 at 12:57 AM


Do let Margo, Alan Ramsey, David Marr and Phatty in on this. They have urgent work to do.

Posted by: Clem Snide at October 14, 2004 at 01:00 AM

Oh, damn! My brother- and sister-in-law live in _Preble_ County, Ohio. If they had gotten one of these missives, I would have been able to see the white-hot bolt of plasma arcing toward Britain from down here in Georgia!

Posted by: F451 at October 14, 2004 at 01:04 AM

Please let Margo Kingston write an e-mail please let Margo Kingston write an e-mail oh please oh please.

Dear Clark County Voter:
Please don't let the fundamentalist Zionist lobby control over politics and the media in the US stop you from voting for Kerry in '04. Kerry will protect the people that are fighting for their country. Otherwise Clark County's complicit in America's crimes.

Margo Kingston

Posted by: dorkafork at October 14, 2004 at 01:05 AM

Does anyone have contact emails for the local media in Clark County? They would probably like to know about this.

Posted by: EvilPundit at October 14, 2004 at 01:09 AM

They would be more effective if they sent a recording of the editors of al-G playing The Buckeye Battle Cry on the kazoo.

Posted by: Mr. Davis at October 14, 2004 at 01:10 AM

Gee What a cunning plan to get Bush reelected

Posted by: Le clerc at October 14, 2004 at 01:11 AM

I went to the website, registered with my AOL address, and just moments later received my Clark County voter's address. Since The al-Guardian won't send duplicate addresses, I have spared Margaret H. the dubious pleasure of receiving a letter from a Moonbat. I also had the real pleasure of reading the cover letter that came with the address. There are helpful tips about writing to Clark County folks, and 23 terms and conditions for entering the contest. These people are beyond satire. By all means, go and register. You, too, can have your very own Clark County, Ohio voter.

Posted by: Ernie G at October 14, 2004 at 01:16 AM

Dear Mr. le Carre, et al:
Kindly fuck off.

Posted by: Latino at October 14, 2004 at 01:17 AM

Can't someone get Le Monde to follow this up with their own Missives to the Midwest campaign?

The only thing that would secure more votes for Bush then having obnoxious know-it-all Brits telling my fellow Ohioans how to vote would be having a bunch of cheese-eating-surrender-monkeys educating us humble, uneducated Americans.

Why couldn't they pick Cuyahoga County so I could get my lovely pen-pal?

Posted by: rk at October 14, 2004 at 01:20 AM

I wonder at the legality of all of this. In a very real sense, the Guardian and their 'agents' are attempting to meddle in the democratic process of a foreign country. Several questions spring up - 1) where did they get a list of registered voters? Can foreign groups obtain these legally? 2) Given that the Guardian is a British entity, I wonder if this isn't a violation of one of numerous treaties signed since the Revolutionary War - something that forbids the British affecting American processes of government? 3) I wonder if, in a legal sense, this constitutes vote tampering?

Not that it will happen, but it would be interesting to see if the American embassy speaks up.

Posted by: Austin at October 14, 2004 at 01:25 AM

Er, Tim, how is it that the Guardian stole this idea from you, when you freely admit sending the concept to them?

Posted by: trojan at October 14, 2004 at 01:27 AM

Austin, I see your point. Meddling can take many forms, like having a candidate's relative go to a foreign country and make campaign speeches, ostensibly to speak to expatriate voters, but also to meddle in the election. Fat lot of good that did.

Posted by: Ernie G at October 14, 2004 at 01:32 AM

Send, trojan? I didn't send anything to the Guardian. Where do you get that idea?

Posted by: tim at October 14, 2004 at 01:36 AM

From the article........

"Maybe there's one good reason - just one - for re-electing George W Bush, and that's to force him to live with the consequences of his appalling actions, and answer for his own lies, rather than wish the job on a Democrat who will then get blamed for his predecessor's follies."

From within an historical context in Britain this would be the equivalent of having Baldwin as Prime Minster instead of Churchill during WW2.

Posted by: Shaun Bourke at October 14, 2004 at 01:49 AM

We ALL know that terrorism is only a nuisance..

Or is that nuance?

Posted by: Rob Read at October 14, 2004 at 01:55 AM

What say we post the addresses, e-mails and phones of the Guardian editorial staff and management online? Say, at Freeper or LGF or someplace.

What? I'm just saying...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at October 14, 2004 at 01:57 AM

Um...wasn't it meddling in colonial politics that drove poor, old King George III mad? al-Gardian readers should be advised of the dangers.

Posted by: KBiel at October 14, 2004 at 02:01 AM

What? I just spilt my coffee when I read that. Clark County? That's Springfield. About 30 miles north of my home county of Clinton (basically known as a campaign stop for Bill Clinton in 1992 even though only 3 or 4 people ended up voting for him).

Clark County is Republican. So is most of Ohio south of Cleveland. It's all Bush country, no doubt about it.

If I had any doubts about it, they were dispel a month again when I drove the family up from Cincinnati to Findlay (via Interstate 75). All along the interstate I saw groups of people assembled all holding Vote Bush signs. I said to my wife that I was as much a supporter of the President as anyone but I certainly couldn't see myself standing out in a corn field holding a sign just to show it.

After driving through various cities (Troy, Lima, Findlay) seeing similar groups of pro-Bush supporters, I finally stopped to ask someone what the heck was going on. She excitedly told me that the President was coming. Well good I thought. But you make it sound like it's the Beatles.

Two weeks ago the President travelled to West Chester, Ohio which is but 5 miles from me. My kids asked if we could go. I said no, it looks like the crowd would become too large to make the visit a fun one for them. I thought it might get as much as 5,000 or more. Which is way too large a crowd for most people in Ohio. Ten to twenty is about as much we can stand. Spread apart. Later the news mentioned that 45,000 showed up. 45 freaking thousand.

Good luck to the Guardian. Hey, give them my name and address. I wouldn't mind hearing some sophisticated Englishman explaining how voting Kerry was the morally right way to go. It would give me a chance to ask him whether he understood how Kerry planned to fight terrorism. Because after hearing him speak for nine months, I sure as heck don't understand it.

Ron Wright
Cincinnati, Ohio (which is not Clark County but close)

Posted by: Ron Wright at October 14, 2004 at 02:03 AM

hey tim

how about an an adopt a leftie mentoring program?

Give us the names of people who write for the Guardian and we 'll write them letters telling them what to write.

and what to wear to work, and what to ahve for lunch and who to go out with etc

Posted by: Giles at October 14, 2004 at 02:12 AM

I just saved 6 Ohioans from being annoyed by axe-grinding Brits. I understand that one might like to prove the inherent American orneriness of doing the opposite of what everybody else says you should do, but these people do not deserve to be bugged by people who should mind their own business.

So, do as Ernie says, and save an American from meddling furriners. Adopt a Clark County voter today!

Posted by: meep at October 14, 2004 at 02:15 AM

Tomorrow: the adopt-a-Guardian-journalist program will begin. Great idea.

Posted by: tim at October 14, 2004 at 02:34 AM

"Here is the address of your voter in Clark County, Ohio. When writing
to him or her please be courteous and consider how you would feel if
someone from Ohio was to write and advise you how to vote."

If they had considered how they would feel if someone from Ohio wrote to tell them how to vote, wouldn't they have realized what a stupid idea this was?
I believe they would be amused/outraged that a brainless twat would be stupid and arrogant enough to think Brits were incapable of forming an intelligent opinion.

I guess it's a reflection of their own high regard for themselves that they don't realize we might have a similar opinion of them.

Posted by: SPY at October 14, 2004 at 02:39 AM

Link for Clark county Ohio board of elections is Clark county Ohio

Posted by: Lab Queen at October 14, 2004 at 03:00 AM

Hang on, did Professor Richard Dawkins just say that the invasion of Iraq was a bad thing because it was just like Tony Martin shooting a burglar who broke into his house?

Does he think the average American reader will think this is a bad thing?

Does he think this argument will sway an American voters into voting against Bush?


The man should stick to evolutionary biology or whatever field it was where he established his probably well-deserved scientific reputation; because he comes off like a pompous, ill-informed hick whenever he opines on politics, economics or religion.


Posted by: James Bennetts at October 14, 2004 at 03:09 AM

James, that's exactly my take on Dawkins' blithering. Yes, he's a moonbat, first class, with crunchy nut clusters.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at October 14, 2004 at 03:41 AM

i'd adopt a hundred dogs before i'd adopt any of those ugly harridans

Posted by: ilibcc at October 14, 2004 at 03:42 AM

It allways puzzles me why so many non-economist scientists (such as dawkins) are basically statists...

My best idea is that they know their clever and they've been told Clever=Success , but they don't really have any power, so rather than go the route of Success!=Clever they blame the system...

It's basically Arrogance + Envy + Confusion.

Posted by: Rob Read at October 14, 2004 at 03:46 AM

Boy, wish I could get into the time machine, move there a year in advance so I could register to vote, and get matched up with a lovely British pen-pal, just so that I can tell him/her to bugger off.

Posted by: Lola at October 14, 2004 at 03:47 AM


Posted by: Jim Treacher at October 14, 2004 at 03:53 AM

Is second prize 10 days in Clark County, Ohio?

Posted by: Anthony at October 14, 2004 at 03:56 AM

Rob Read,
You hit the nail on the head. They have gone through school being taught that certain bizarre behavior patterns (Acting snotty, saying "Ooo! Ooo! I know! Call on me!) yield A grades, then when they get out of school they find that these don't matter as much as honesty and hard work. I blame the schools. It's cruel, like teaching a kid to walk funny.

Posted by: Ernie G at October 14, 2004 at 04:13 AM

Am amazed.
No wonder.

Posted by: ilibcc at October 14, 2004 at 04:14 AM

I think this is a game that deserves wider recognition. Am trying to start a meme as Australia sleeps.

Posted by: Tim Worstall at October 14, 2004 at 04:34 AM

Rob and Ernie,

The late Robert Nozick, a philosophy professor at Harvard and author of the libertarian classic, Liberty, State & Utopia, wrote a great paper on this idea. Intellectuals, especially those who stay in or near academia for their whole lives, want the world to be like a university, largely because they are top dogs in the university. They don't understand or accept, that the outside world dosen't work the same way.

Why do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism

Posted by: marc at October 14, 2004 at 04:37 AM

Now come on chaps and chappesses! Just because some moronic liberal with muppet tendencies wants to fill some space in his paper please don't think we Brits are all in agreement with him/her/it. Like most newspapers/snoozepapers over here, we read the Mail/Times etc to find out what's going on albeit with some bias, we read the Sun to see who is sh*gging who and the Guardian is great for wrapping up a double portion of fish and chips. Their front pages and politics are rubbish but the back pages on sport are quiet good when sitting on a Number 64 bus eating your chips....

You are all welcome to vote in our elections - may we have Zell Miller for PM, Mr Greenspan for Chancellor and Mr Rumsfeld for Defence Secretary? Thank you. Oh and Teresa Heinz Kerry can be our Ambassador to France as we don't like them either.....!

I forgot to add that the Sun also shows the pictures of who is (you know what..) who.....this is why it is the paper of choice for the liberals and moonbats like Pinter/Fraser et al as they have difficulty with words like 'patriotism' 'honour' and 'duty'.

Posted by: dave t at October 14, 2004 at 04:45 AM

Dave - I don't think anyone here believes the Guardian speaks for every last British person. Nobody here seems to be attacking anything other than the paper itself.

Posted by: Emily at October 14, 2004 at 04:51 AM

I am from Clark County, Ohio.


The big town is Springfield (75,000). There are a dozen or so small farm towns or villages of note. The newspaper is the Springfield News Sun. The editor, Karla Garrett Harshaw, has a hard left wing edge to her politics. People can get the Dayton Daily News in many locations, but that's largely in the western part of the county. TV comes from Dayton. WHIO (CBS) WKEF (ABC) WDTN (NBC) WRGT (FOX). WHIO has the only newscast that matters. Unfortunately, they're a CBS affiliate.

Clark County largest employers are the government and International Harvester. Government covers stuff like local law enforcement, schools to Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

There is an excellent college, Wittenberg, in Springfield.

Clark County is not really Republican turf. Remember that Kerry launched his midnight rant after the GOP convention in Springfield.

Although the House seat has been filled by a Republican since 1915 it is Reagan Democrat turf. The GOP is far more prevelant in neighboring Darke and Greene Counties. There are many strong union employees and retirees, but they like their guns and don't like abortion, so read into that what you will.

Posted by: Raidergoo at October 14, 2004 at 05:00 AM

Is this a joke? I live a half hour's drive from Clark County. No offense to Raidergoo, but who would possibly think spending five days in Clark County is a prize?

Posted by: Rebecca at October 14, 2004 at 05:09 AM

I sent the Guardian this email - wonder if they will bother to reply? I know they do not speak for Britain (apart from about 0.00000001%) but it is annoying when they do something like this as some people do think all Brits agree with these muppets. Anyway, email reads:

"Just curious - what happens if someone using an address YOU provide then stalks or writes a letter so foul that the receipient commits suicide if for example he/she were in a depressed state at the time? Will you accept liability and pays millions of dollars?

Will you also do the same with the local press in Ohio to enable US voters to write to people in say, Sedgefield when the election is held over HERE?

IS this not against electoral law in either the States or the UK?

Why were we not allowed to vote in the last Iraqi election? We could have prevented the 97% vote in favour of Saddam!

And finally, bearing in mind that 1 April is some 5 odd months away is this whole thing in fact yet another Gaurniad cockup?

Yours aye"

Posted by: dave t at October 14, 2004 at 05:10 AM

No offense to Raidergoo, but who would possibly think spending five days in Clark County is a prize?

Especially when the potential winner is a Guardian reader, of all people...

Posted by: PW at October 14, 2004 at 05:21 AM

I know it's been said already, but surely this is a gag. If not, then whoever approved the idea has no notion what he's getting into. Who, in any country, would welcome unsolicited foreign advice on who to vote for? Here are the possible outcomes, with guessed probability:

(1) recipient already a Kerry supporter:
99% - no effect
1% - irritated enough by emailing twat to change vote to Bush

(2) recipient already a Bush supporter:

90% - voting preference reinforced
9% - irritated enough by emailing twat to enlist as a campaign worker
1% - irritated enough to get on a plane to beat the shit out of emailing twat

(3) recipient undecided:

20% - no effect
5% - vote swung to Kerry
75% - identifies emailer as twat, notes that emailer opposes Bush, vote swung to Bush because Bush pisses off twats, and that's got to be a good thing

How does this help Kerry?

Posted by: Mike at October 14, 2004 at 05:53 AM

Mike - I like your thinking! :-D

Posted by: Barbara Skolaut at October 14, 2004 at 06:04 AM

Anybody have John LeCarre's email address? I'd like to solicit his advice on other important issues that he can't vote for. Like who should be number 1 in the BCS football poll - USC or Oklahoma? I would also be interested in discussing a pro-rata refund for his last couple of books - they are total crap.

Posted by: Don Mynack at October 14, 2004 at 06:45 AM

Also, I swear when I first read above that one of the writers was Richard DAWSON, former Match Game and Hogan's Heroes standout. I think more Americans would be impressed by him, rather than a "professor of the public understanding of science at Oxford University".

Posted by: Don Mynack at October 14, 2004 at 06:48 AM

Evilpundit :
Little Green Footballs has a link
(in comments thread ) to the Springfield Sun,the main newspaper for Clark Co., and
also the editor's email address.

Posted by: Sharon at October 14, 2004 at 06:52 AM

The Guardian seems a little fuzzy on how our Presidential election works. In case anyone is wondering, it doesn't really matter whether Clark County goes for Bush by 1% or 10%, or goes for Kerry by 50%. The vote count is lumped in with all the other counties in Ohio; the winner of the majority (or plurality, I guess) of the votes in the state gets all 20 electoral votes.

Not that I want to give the Guardian ideas, but I think their idea (or Tim's) would work better if they targeted registered Democrats and urged them to make sure to vote. Much less likely to offend (I agree with Mike's assessment, and Vicki's), and they might increase the Democrat turnout.

I look forward to the post-election report from Clark County.

Posted by: PJ/Maryland at October 14, 2004 at 06:55 AM

There's nothing like being talked down to by condescending British Socialists to make those corn-fed Ohio simpletons want to jump on the Kerry bandwagon. LeCarre's rant about Bush's "contempt for institutions of world government" was an especially effective touch since Clark County is undoubtedly a hotbed of support for subsuming American sovereignty to a single world government.

And those lucky Buckeyes receiving a letter from Dawkins must be scratching their heads over this metaphor: "But that's the Tony Martin school of foreign policy [Martin was a householder who shot dead a burglar who had broken into his house in 1999]. It's not how civilised countries, who follow the rule of law, behave." I'm guessing the common reaction in Clark County to this will be: "He shot a burglar who broke into his house? What's wrong with that?"

Posted by: Randal Robinson at October 14, 2004 at 07:21 AM

"But that's the Tony Martin school of foreign policy [Martin was a householder who shot dead a burglar who had broken into his house in 1999]. It's not how civilised countries, who follow the rule of law, behave."

Yeah, that stupidevilgreedy Bush, who goes around invading countries merely because a couple of guys "broke into" the WTC and the Pentagon. Okay, they did it with airplanes rather than crowbars, and the buildings suffered some, umm, structural damage, but it's just like that Tony Martin case! (When you're an analogy-impaired Socialist nutcase like Dawkins, that is.)

Posted by: PW at October 14, 2004 at 07:44 AM

Oh yeah, and ditto what PJ/Maryland suggested. I'm at a loss why these guys aren't simply supporting a Democratic get-out-the-vote effort in, say, Columbus or Cincinnati. (Especially since nominally Democratic voters don't exactly seem in thrall with Kedwards, so there should be plenty of potential.)

Well, I do have an inkling...doing something so mundane just wouldn't satisfy their inherent intellectual wanker-ness. Much better to prove your moral superiority by talking down to a stupid undecided voter who may actually not hate Dubya.

Posted by: PW at October 14, 2004 at 07:50 AM

Thanks, Tim, for the tip. I'll sleep better tonight knowing that I saved four Ohio voters from receiving annyoing letters telling them how their vote can pass the "global test".

Posted by: Jennifer at October 14, 2004 at 07:51 AM

For a while Samizdata covered the Martin story, arrest & prosecution, and, I think, imprisonment, for shooting a burglar; juxtaposed with a laundry list of UK home-burglars who got probation, suspended sentences, etc. It seems a lot of ordinary Britons were outraged. So using Martin as a metaphor of the Bad and the Violent Propounders of Uncivilized Foreign Policy is shooting one's own propagandist self in the foot avec a verboten firearm. Martin's response to provocation is sounding pretty good to a lot of us, his harassers on the other hand like a menace to civilization.

Posted by: AH at October 14, 2004 at 09:14 AM

As someone who actually travelled to Clark County as a tourist, it's not entirely a backwater. For aircraft enthusiasts the place is a Mecca. The Wright-Patterson Air Base has the best aircraft museum in the world. They have the X-15 rocket plane which set (and still holds) the world speed record, the only surviving XB-70 (a gigantic Mach 3 bomber), a 10-engine B-36, and hundreds of other exhibits.

Why in Clark County? The connection is that the Wright brothers came from the area.

Posted by: zscore at October 14, 2004 at 09:41 AM

I like Clark County. I sold stuff there in the 70s. I lived in New Martinsville, OH (about 150 pop) which is just south of Clark County. don't know that I'd want a 5 day vacation there.

And Tony Martin. Who'd want to burglarize him? Hasn't he been kinda mobbed up since he started singing "I Left My Heart (in San Francisco)"? Wouldn't you be facing a severe possibility that a Tony Soprano type would send Vito and Guido to "fix" your problem with Tony?

Posted by: Dr. N.O. Brain at October 14, 2004 at 10:10 AM

At least it isn't Franklin County, Ohio, where there are now more registered voters than eligible voters, after a Democrat-sponsored get-out-the-vote drive. Oh, those lefties! What a laff riot they are!

Posted by: Butch at October 14, 2004 at 10:37 AM

I cannot say about Le Carre and Fraser, but I understand what has happened to Sir Richard. The eeevil intelligent design beings have finally driven him insane. President Bush's connections to fundamentalist christians are what provokes his diatribe. It is not laudable, but understandable, since he has fought them for twenty years.

Posted by: jinnderella at October 14, 2004 at 11:24 AM

They can write all the letters they want, this is TOOOOOOOO funny!!! They have no CLUE how incredibly p***ed off they're gonna make everybody!!! Bush will win by a landslide! Specially with all them big words they'll be using, they might even sound French! Oh, JOY!

Posted by: Pam at October 14, 2004 at 12:50 PM
Now that all other justifications for the war are known to be lies, the warmongers are thrown back on one, endlessly repeated: the world is a better place without Saddam. No doubt it is. But that's the Tony Martin school of foreign policy [Martin was a householder who shot dead a burglar who had broken into his house in 1999]. It's not how civilised countries, who follow the rule of law, behave. The world would be a better place without George Bush, but that doesn't justify an assassination attempt. The proper way to get rid of that smirking gunslinger is to vote him out.
Obviously Dawkins is one of those idealistic cowards who'd still be waiting for the UN Bobbies to show up after someone broke in, 12 hours after he's dead cause he's so civilized! Posted by: Jake at October 14, 2004 at 01:09 PM

Speaking as a Clark County voter (Democrat for Bush), dictator appeasing euro-lefties like LeCarre can get stuffed. How about bringing back the english literary tradition of Orwell and standing up for freedom?

Posted by: Jim Burdo at October 14, 2004 at 01:42 PM

Hey, at least Clark County is gonna make some $$ off the Guardian. (If the check doesn't bounce.)

From the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News:

The electoral spotlight on Clark County, which has drawn three visits from presidential contenders, crossed the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday.

The Clark County Board of Elections shows 50,754 undeclared voters. [Guardian Editor Ian] Katz said they received about 36,000 names and addresses. [Clark Co.] Board of Elections Director Linda Rosicka said The Guardian paid $25 for a list of all registered voters in the county. Purchasers can extract whatever segment of voters they want, she said, and anyone can buy one.

"We're still waiting for their check," she said.

(free but very annoying registration required)

Posted by: nol at October 14, 2004 at 02:39 PM

Here's what I told the Guardian:

Go fuck yourself . . . . I just saved this poor bastard from getting a whiney snotty "we're going to tell you how to vote" letter from one of your Euroweenie readers.

By the way, dickhead, there's a 60% chance this guy wasn't even going to vote. Getting one of your reader's letters was more likely going to push him to Bush rather than Kerry - how many Americans do you know who like being told what to do by Europeans.

Original Message:
From: The Guardian clark.county@guardian.co.uk
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2004 07:45:45 +0100
To: scicluna@smartchat.net.au
Subject: Operation Clark County: Your voter's address

Here is the address of your voter in Clark County, Ohio. When writing to him or her please be courteous and consider how you would feel if someone from Ohio was to write and advise you how to vote.

[Name and address removed. The Management.]

If your address is incomplete, and for any correspondence, please email clark.county@guardian.co.uk

To enter the competition to campaign in Clark County, email your letter to clark.county@guardian.co.uk. For terms and conditions see below.

A few tips about writing to Clark County:

* Don't make any assumptions about the voter with whom you have been matched. His or her name comes from the publicly available voters' roll. The voter has not registered any party affiliation. (We don't want individual Clark County voters bombarded with lobbying letters so this site will assign only one name and address to each user Ė please don't pass yours on to anyone else.)

* Explain why you think they should pay the slightest bit of attention to what you think about their election. Remember, charm will be far more effective than hectoring.

Posted by: steve at October 14, 2004 at 06:11 PM

>that's exactly my take on Dawkins' blithering. Yes, he's a moonbat, first class, with crunchy nut clusters.

Dawkins isn't a moonbat, and you wouldn't find him agreeing with the likes of George Monbiot.

But he does come from that British tradition of scientists - especially prominent in the 1930's (John Maynard Smith, for example, joined the Communist Party in the late 30's) - who think that the world can be run on rational, scientific principles, which sounds fine except that those principles usually turn out to be some sort of crude utilitarianism.

The failure of the policy in the real world is then explained in terms of some people not being rational enough, rather than as evidence for the inadequacy of the policy.

Posted by: Scott Campbell aka Blithering Bunny at October 14, 2004 at 08:38 PM

Could Andrea delete the voter's address from the post above? If I were him, I wouldn't appreciate it.

Posted by: kelly at October 14, 2004 at 10:03 PM

Why live in Clark County?

It is not a backwater, that's further north and west. Housing prices are lower here than just about anywhere in America. $100,000 bucks gets you 4 bedrooms 2 baths and an acre. You get four seasons, none of which are ugly for more than a week at a time (usually). The schools are decent outside of the Springfield City system. Crime is low. The was a fellow not long ago who shot two car theives that came to his house under the prentenses of buying his car. One dead, one paralyzed. Law enforcement cleared the guy immediately. Public sentiment was they had it coming.

Many Clark County residents look down on the nearest readable newspaper, the Dayton Daily News. I can't imagine reaction to Guardian meddling.

Posted by: Raidergoo at October 15, 2004 at 12:29 AM

Ahh, Home

Lived the first 18 years of my life in Clark County. CBS actually did a piece on a mock presidential debate at my grade school in 1976 (Carter-Ford) as part of a special on the attitude of Springfield voters, because Springfield is a microcosm of the Rust Belt. We were Democrats then, but the Carter administration cured most of the family of that affliction. My two sisters living outside of Berkeley CA, well, one can only do so much. After all they are still family.

Springfield still votes Democratic, but the surrounding county votes Republican, I believe in the balance, the county voted narrowly Republican in the last election. Lots of UAW and AFL CIO, but they are all old. Most of the under forty crowd left to work for Honda up the road in Marysville. The old folks are not exactly social liberals.

My first question when Kerry had his midnight rally was, ''Where the hell did they eat''. There are not really any restaurants in the county to meet the refined palates of the billionaire couple, and the 50 millionaire couple (Edwards). A few decent bars, but not really a top notch restaurant. That could explain Kerry's rather erratic rally that night.

Posted by: Jim Harris at October 15, 2004 at 04:28 AM

Having enjoyed Dawkins's writing for years, I find myself in agreement with some of the other posters in that he's no moonbat. Clearly suffering from a bad case of Bush Derangement Syndrome likely brought on by his anti-religious sentiments, but I've never seen any indication that he's a socialist. (Though perhaps I've simply missed it.) I was horrified in the early years of Bush's administration to see the amount of religious monkeying he apparently intended too, but on 9/11 I GOT OVER IT and readjusted my priorities.

I was banging my head on the keyboard to see Sir Richard indulging in such intellectually barren rhetoric, though.

Posted by: LabRat at October 15, 2004 at 08:12 AM

Steve -- I removed the address of the person in Ohio. Don't compound the Groaniad's foolery by perpetuating the abuse.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 15, 2004 at 09:04 AM

Thanks Andrea . . . .

Posted by: steve at October 15, 2004 at 10:05 AM

1. What are people writing to these Grauniad scumbag hacks?
(Evidently it was always referred to as The Grauniad by other papers due to its tendency to make a lot of spelling errors.)
2. I assume that by applying for the name of a Clark County voter ourselves, that removes them from the list and saves them hearing from a Grauniad reader. Correct?

Posted by: Martin Archer at October 15, 2004 at 11:06 AM

I forget, who owns the Guardian?
Inform me, pleeze.

Posted by: Tom at October 15, 2004 at 12:02 PM

Le Carre and Frazer, both brilliant authors who are masters of their craft, using intrigue,politics and history as the background for developing their fiction.
However what they write is from their interpretations of life, and by the prolific output of both I would doubt leave their garrets long enough to recognise the real world outside their windows-it so much easier to make judgments and comment after the fact- their backing of such an such a character as Kerry shows how far removed from reality they have strayed.
Frazer a cousin of the Queen,her husband is I believe one Harold Pinter, both like Kerry, wealthy elitist socialist extreme leftwinger with no concept of life in the 'trenches and the lot of the 'common man'

Posted by: Rose at October 15, 2004 at 12:50 PM

Le Carre is a longtime lefty and anti-American. In the last decade or so he has added a virulent anti-Israel bias, since the mean old Israelis keep picking on the poor Palestinians just because the latter are trying to destroy Israel and kill all the Jews. In le Carre's view, that would make the world a better place. He would also have preferred it if the USSR had won the Cold War.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at October 15, 2004 at 04:36 PM

I'm a Brit and extremely disturbed and ashamed by the actions of the Guardian. This is totally over the top and I can certainly sympathize with the comments above whether you intend to vote for Kerry or Bush. I have mailed the Guardian to let them know my feelings and I hope that they immediately stop this shortsighted campaign and apologize to America and especially Clarke County.
Anyway I hope you can accept my apologies.

Posted by: fred at October 16, 2004 at 12:16 AM

Message sent to Jonathan Freedland at The Guardian, October 13, 2004:

Mr. Freedland: I'm writing in regard to "Operation Clark County," the Guardian's attempt to give its readers a voice in the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

It's very clever, although having spent some time in Clark County and knowing its people, I suspect the Guardian's effort to influence our election will be as successful as the Kerry campaign's effort to influence the recent Australian election.

While I can have no objection to some of my countrymen being contacted about the election through this medium, I do take issue in the most serious possible way with the views you espouse on the global struggle with Islamic fascism and America's role in it.

To ask, as you did, whether "the Bush policy is inflaming al-Qaida" is to betray complete ignorance of a long history of al-Qaida attacks on U.S. interests at home and abroad. These include, to name just a few: the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center; the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia; the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998; and the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen in 2000.

All of these and more took place before President Bush came to the White House and were topped off by the horrors of September 11th. Most Europeans (and I include Britons here, eurozone or no) simply don't understand the justifiably and necessarily galvanizing effect of that day on the American psyche. You had to be there, as the saying goes.

America was al-Qaida's favorite target before Bush was elected and will remain so after he's gone, likely for many years to come. The question is, what are we going to do about it? How do we view this threat, what policies will we undertake to address it and who is the most qualified to prosecute what is unquestionably a fight to the death?

As to Iraq: If Zarqawi were not in Iraq now, murdering innocents like Ken Bigley and hoping to elude the teams of Delta Force and SAS commandos who, Inshallah, will seize him imminently, where would he be and what would he be doing? It's doubtful he'd be sitting peacefully back in Zarqa. He'd be in Finsbury or Hamburg or here in Chicago, plotting his next atrocity. He's a poisons specialist, you know -- not sure I'd want to sit next to him on the Tube.

While many Americans understandably have mixed feelings about bearing the burden, in blood and treasure, of policing the world, barbarism reigns when America fails to act. This has been amply demonstrated in Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Rwanda and now, tragically, in Darfur.

For a reminder of how wonderful things were in Iraq in the good old days, before Saddam retired to his spider-hole, I refer you to the dispatch from the BBC which I have appended to the end of this note. Of course, the reliability of the BBC is questionable, so I leave you to judge for yourself.

Thank you for hearing me out. We in America are very grateful for the support we have received from Tony Blair and from those Britons who have stood with us, in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, in this struggle.

I wish you well with your project and will look forward to the Guardian's coverage of President Bush's re-election.

Paul Raab

Babies found in Iraqi mass grave

A mass grave being excavated in a north Iraqi village has yielded evidence that Iraqi forces executed women and children under Saddam Hussein.

US-led investigators have located nine trenches in Hatra containing hundreds of bodies believed to be Kurds killed during the repression of the 1980s.

The skeletons of unborn babies and toddlers clutching toys are being unearthed, the investigators said.

They are seeking evidence to try Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity.

It is believed to be the first time investigators working for the Iraqi Special Tribunal (IST) have conducted a full scientific exhumation of a mass grave.

"It is my personal opinion that this is a killing field," Greg Kehoe, an American working with the IST, told reporters in Hatra, south of the city of Mosul.

"Someone used this field on significant occasions over time to take bodies up there, and to take people up there and execute them."

Tiny bones

The victims are believed to be Kurds killed in 1987-88, their bodies bulldozed into the graves after being summarily shot dead.

One trench contains only women and children while another contains only men.

The body of one woman was found still clutching a baby. The infant had been shot in the back of the head and the woman in the face.

"The youngest foetus we have was 18 to 20 foetal weeks," said US investigating anthropologist P Willey.

"Tiny bones, femurs - thighbones the size of a matchstick."
Mr Kehoe investigated mass graves in the Balkans for five years but those burials mainly involved men of fighting age and the Iraqi finds were quite different, he said.

"I've been doing grave sites for a long time, but I've never seen anything like this, women and children executed for no apparent reason," he said.

Long search

Mr Kehoe said that work to uncover graves around Iraq, where about 300,000 people are thought to have been killed during Saddam Hussein's regime, was slow as experienced European investigators were not taking part.

The Europeans, he said, were staying away as the evidence might be used eventually to put Saddam Hussein to death.

"We're trying to meet international standards that have been accepted by courts throughout the world," he added.

"We're putting a package together on each body removed - pictures of bones, clothes, a forensic report."

Iraq's human rights ministry has reportedly identified 40 possible mass graves across the country.

The dig at Hatra, where a makeshift morgue has been erected, is due to be completed on Wednesday.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/10/13 04:12:35 GMT

Posted by: Paul Raab at October 16, 2004 at 08:29 AM

Dear British Subjects,

I have recently become aware of The Guardian's "Operation Clark County," intended to influence our elections.

As a child, I got up at 4 am to watch Lady Di marry Prince Charles. My mother and I sent gifts when Wills and Harry were born. I sported the "shy Di" haircut for years, and pored over the history of the British royal family. I've visited England four times, and as a lawyer, I am thankful to have inherited the British common law.

However. I am a direct descendant of William Bradford, who left England to become the first Governor of Plymouth colony. As such, Im also a Daughter of the American Revolution. I think of the Stamp Act every time the demagogues raise my taxes, and I think of King George III every time I clean my Bushmaster Bullpup assault rifle.

I am ever mindful: we left for a reason. Your scurrilous, illegal campaign sets you a rung or two lower than even the yellow-bellied, black-hearted French. Piss off.

A proud U.S. citizen

Posted by: DAR chick at October 16, 2004 at 11:39 AM

These idiots don't seem to know the history of Clark County. It is named for George Rogers Clark. A lot of the Clark County folk that these people are now condescending to are descendants of victims of Indian massacres funded and aided by the Brits. See http://www.nps.gov/gero. But since real American history has not been taught in the schools for the past 20-30 years, the young voters of Clark County may not be aware of that fact either.

Posted by: Mary Harmon at October 18, 2004 at 01:16 AM

To all you concerned British folks who seem to support our unelected, unqualified, and utterly out-of-touch president, please just get yourself a copy of a good American newspaper, like the New York Times, or the Washingtoon Post; or just look them up on the web. Just a few days worth of headlines should convince you that the Guardian is doing the World a service.

I think you might be right in one sense-- I don't think it's going to have any effect on the elections, for one simple reason: the Republicans have mounted a massive effort in several different states to suppress minority voters. However, our side is on the ball this time, and we'll nail them in the courts every time they try.

Chances are, this election will end up a big mess. I hope that this will lead to some constitutional reforms, including perhaps the abolishment of the antideluvian electoral college.

The biggest enemy of democracy in the world now is American Evangelical Fundamentalism. Doing away with the electoral college will go a long way towards breaking this crazy lot's hold on power in the United States.

Posted by: Prem from California. at October 18, 2004 at 04:38 PM