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July 03, 2004

Bush's Mass Mailing List

Not usually a political blogger, but I found this story over at Christianity Today. Seems the President is getting some addresses and phone numbers for a mass mailing/telemarketing program.

And he's getting them for free.

The President is asking supporters to send him their church directories. This is going to give him a wealth of information -- names and addresses especially, but also phone numbers and possibly some demographic information (age, number of kids, etc.).

Marketers pay a LOT of money for these lists; in fact, these lists are one of the biggest expenses involved in any marketing campaign. Bush is going to get them for free.

Needless to say, Bush opponents are up in arms. I can understand why -- the Bush campaign is getting thousands of dollars worth of marketing information for free. I'd think that this is streatching the campaign rules a little bit. Bush had better be careful here.

Other things the Bush campaign is asking are for volunteers to encourage their churches to hold voter registration rallies, recruit churchmembers for the campaign, and put together voter information packages. Some church/state separationists are upset about these things as well.

I don't like the church directories being given to the campaign. I have no problem with any of the other things Bush is doing; after all, the Democrats have been doing it for years, with Rev. Jesse Jackson at the head of the campaign. Part of the problem is that people don't think of Jackson as a minister -- he's first and foremost a politician. Part of the problem is that church/state separatists tend to be more toward the liberal side of the spectrum, and they don't notice the beam in their own eye.

I'm not sure how I feel about this plan. I can see that it's very efficient, politically, for the campaign. I can see, however, that it could cause some problems in churches that are politically diverse. It can cause concern about tax-exempt statuses for many churches. And I'm not sure it's going to gain the President many new voters (though I could be wrong here).

I know that if my church held a voter registration drive, I'd participate. I know that if my church held a campaign dinner, or if someone asked me to volunteer on the campaign, I'd probably say no. I support President Bush, but I don't want him to think that he's getting a free ride from Christians simply because he's a Republican. He needs to make sure he doesn't forget about us two years after re-election, as has seemed to be the case.

Posted by Warren Kelly at July 3, 2004 10:54 PM
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