Golly, I’m so old I can remember when the Republicans used to go into a fugue state and start speaking in tongues upon hearing tales of Democratic campaign organizers offering free cigarettes to homeless people to get them them to vote:
“This is just plain and simply wrong. There is a right way and a wrong way to turn out the vote in this country and handing cigarettes to homeless people in an effort to entice them to vote is as wrong as wrong can be. It raises questions as to whether similar activities are going on at other places around the country,” [Ari]Fleischer said.
But hey, this is completely different:
Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the nonprofit financed by David Koch and other wealthy Republican businessmen, has spent some $31 million on anti-Obama ads since April. The group recently opened 98 Get-Out-the-Vote offices, hired some 200 field staffers and has been distributing its state-of-the-art voter-targeting technology on Samsung tablet computers to its volunteers. Now AFP is hoping to win hearts and minds with gifts of free gas.
AFP is hosting events at gas stations across the country to provide gasoline to motorists for the price of $1.84 per gallon. The group is paying for up to fifteen gallons for 100–150 drivers at each station, telling them that the $1.84 price symbolizes the price per a gallon before Obama took office in 2009.
A CBS news affiliate in Iowa reports that at least one driver, Louis Lumpkin, said that the free gas would make a difference on his vote for president.
AFP is spending about $4,000 giving away gas at every stop, and has been to stations throughout Nevada, Iowa and Michigan. Along the way, they’re earning free, largely uncritical airtime for their message and maybe some votes in swing states.
Click over to Lee Fang’s article at The Nation to read all the reasons why the oil-soaked Kochs are the biggest hypocrites in history for this little gambit.
Considering how much money is out there and how willing these plutocrats are to spend it on this campaign, it’s probably worth wondering how much straight up vote buying is going to happen. They’re doing this in plain sight and asking for publicity. Clearly, they are not concerned about any appearance of impropriety or legal exposure. Why not go for