Sunday, November 22, 2009

Glenn Beck, Community Organizer

It's really too bad that in order to sell a book these days the author has to be a celebrity who's famous for being famous, writing about vampires, or creating a populist pseudo-movement based on anger and paranoia.

Whatever happen to selling a book because it was, you know, good?

C'est le vie...

To his credit, Glenn Beck's elaborate scam to promote his upcoming book certainly does take things to a new level. I mean, a voter registration drive? Really? That's, like, ambitious!

A word about this last detail to Beck's "Plan." Conservatives don't really have much experience doing voter registration. I can't think of a single prominent conservative organization that focuses strictly on registration. I'm sure they exist, I've just never heard of them. On the other side of the fence, however, there are groups like Rock the Vote and, yes, ACORN that are nominally non-partisan, but wink wink, nudge nudge, if you know what I mean...

The amount of time and energy conservatives and Republicans waste complaining about vote fraud could be far more productively used registering voters. This is how parties expand.

One of the problems with voter registration drives is that they suck. It's brutally hard and thankless work and it doesn't take long to figure out that there are better things to do with your time -- like eating lead paint chips. It's difficult recruiting capable personnel to staff these kinds of efforts.

The second problem is that they are complicated. Different states have different rules and it isn't easy to coordinate efforts. This leads to confusion among management, which is usually drawn from the volunteers who were not bright enough to figure out the job sucks dedicated enough to get the job done.

One of the reasons ACORN is an unspeakably poorly managed organization is because they aren't exactly working with the best and the brightest. Registering voters sucks so much that only ex-felons who can't find work anywhere else would want to do it. Beck's band of merry men will almost certainly suffer from the same problem -- maybe not so much with the felons (I'd imagine this will likely be an all volunteer army of registrars at first) -- but the unfortunate fact of the matter is that the folks who would be ideal for voter registration drives likely have better things to do with their time.

Plus, if the reason you're running around your neighborhood registering people to vote is because Glenn Beck told you to, then there's something wrong with you.

If Beck is actually able to set some kind of conservative voter registration drive up some time in th next year, don't be surprised if it quickly falls prey to the same issues that have plagued ACORN: registrations at non-existent addresses or of fictional characters or real people multiple times -- all the work of rogue volunteers looking for an easy way out of doing grueling work.

If "The Plan" is nearly as organized as the rest of the Tea Party movement, then such chaos is almost predestined.

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