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We’re staying open, um, open thread…

Friday, Oct 31, 2008

* The blog is gonna stay open this weekend, including comments. Please, no drunk comments. Those are the worst. Try to make my life as easy as possible by staying good while I’m away from my ‘puter.

I have a ton of stuff for a subscriber-only post, including lots of mail and a recording of a robocall, that I simply didn’t have time to deal with today. Plus, the weekend is likely to be full of other campaign stories for non-subscribers, including things like this rather odd and, if true, disturbing e-mail from Democratic congressional hopeful Dan Seals, entitled “Tampered Mail”…

Last week, thousands of Seals supporters should have received our campaign’s final direct mailing. Unfortunately, those letters were tampered with and never left the post office. Authorities are now investigating the situation, but we have already missed a critical opportunity to raise funds and keep Dan on the air in the final days of our campaign.

The campaign’s final direct mail piece, which included a quote from Senator Barack Obama supporting Dan, was set to hit the mail boxes of thousands of supporters last week. The mail was received by the United States Post Office and then transferred that same day to a United States Post Office Distribution Center.

After realizing that supporters had not received the letter, we discovered that the mail had been set aside and out of sight at the post office. The letters were supposed to have been treated as first class mail. They were not.

…Adding for clarity… While I believe this is almost assuredly simple incompetence, it’s still quite troubling that the USPS would screw up a First Class political mailer like this.

…Also… PI has a new radio ad for Seals featuring Obama.

* And here’s a new TV ad from Republican Marty Ozinga that slams Democrat Debbie Halvorson for her ties to Rod Blagojevich…

* There’s been so much crazy red-baiting on my teevee and in my e-mail lately that I’ve started thinking I must be in some kind of bizarre time warp, so here’s your flashback moment of Zen…

So now I’m home investigatin’ myself
Hope I don’t find out too much

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Gregor - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 5:12 pm:

    I really don’t get the red baiting thing this year, it has never been this bad in my short lifetime… are they counting on us all being so young or uneducated that we don’t remember this game from before?

  2. - wordslinger - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 5:15 pm:

    From a lifetime of experience and from many years in advertising and direct mail up here, I suspect Mr. Seals is the victim of SNAFU at the Post Office, and not a sinister conspiracy.

    As Abby Hoffman said of the Chicago 8, the Chicago area Postal Service “couldn’t conspire for lunch.”

  3. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 5:19 pm:

    Red D conspiracy, right-wing Post Office conspiracy…one thing’s for sure, if Cellini was in the conspiracy business, he’d be in on both of ‘em.

  4. - fedup dem - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 5:44 pm:

    Rich, being based in Springfield as you are, you really have no idea just how easy for the USPS to screw up in and around the Chicago area (that is assuming that this was yet another example of there being “no service at the Postal Service”).

  5. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 5:54 pm:

    fd, I lived in Chicago for years, so I know how bad the USPS is there. That’s why there’s some commentary under the item about incompetence.

  6. - shore - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 5:56 pm:

    “After realizing that supporters had not received the letter, we discovered that the mail had been set aside and out of sight at the post office. The letters were supposed to have been treated as first class mail. They were not.”

    Having volunteered for the campaign going back 8 years and knowing Kirk and his family, it seems really really unlike him or his people that they would KNOW to have a plant in a post office.

    If you read the sentence it sounds like someone screwed up the postage inside team seals and they are trying to spin this to save face.

  7. - Levois - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 7:16 pm:

    Does the USPS need new management? lol

  8. - Cal Skinner - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 8:41 pm:

    it’s probably 3rd class mail, which is treated as 1st class mail at the end of the campaign.

    Nice little subsidy for the political class.

  9. - Team America - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 8:52 pm:

    I have more on this at my blog, but for our purposes here, I will simply note that along with this “mailer” story, I was amused to get yet another desperate e-mail plea from Dan Seals, asking for money because they were counting on the money this mailer was supposed to bring in. Now they are out of luck since the mailer didn’t go out, and they are desperate for cash to stay on the air through the weekend.

    Here’s what I really want to know: How can someone who wants to be our Congressman and handle billions, if not trillions, of budget dollars, not even manage his own campaign well enough to budget money for the last weekend push? In typical Dem fashion, it looks like even though he knew he’d need money for this last big weekend, he counted on funds coming in, and now he doesn’t have them. Is this how he’d manage our national budget and tax dollars?

    The other funny thing is that the “lost” mail was only 8,200 pieces. Was that the whole mailer? Why so few pieces, in a district with hundreds of thousands of registered voters? Or was the mailer much bigger, but only a few thousand pieces were lost? If so, what’s the big deal, and why the desperate e-mail? Something doesn’t make much sense to me.

  10. - archpundit - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 9:09 pm:

    —fd, I lived in Chicago for years, so I know how bad the USPS is there. That’s why there’s some commentary under the item about incompetence.

    My friends who live in farther out suburbs or just in mid size cities don’t believe the hassles I have with our post office. In many ways the USPS is pretty amazing given all it does, but when it breaks down bar the door.

  11. - archpundit - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 9:11 pm:

    —hy so few pieces, in a district with hundreds of thousands of registered voters?

    You understand it was a fundraising mailer, right? The question doesn’t make any sense in light of that fact.

  12. - Team America - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 9:32 pm:

    Maybe you’re right. But if so, that’s 8200 people that won’t know how desperate Seals is until it’s too late.

  13. - shore - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 9:46 pm:

    Discretionary appropriations-the money Dan will never get to spend because a tour pass is as close as he will get to the House floor-are only about 900 billion right now before President McCain cuts them.

    At this late stage in the game the $10k he wants to raise is going to be used for what, a lose bonus for staff or perhaps the open bar at election night?

  14. - Rob_N - Saturday, Nov 1, 08 @ 12:46 am:

    TA, A lot of things don’t make much sense coming from you. ;)

    And lots of campaigns send out “last minute” requests for donations in the final days of a campaign — including the 2008 McCain-Palin “Compliance Fund”. It doesn’t make much sense for you to think this is somehow “desperate”.

    The only thing that reeks of desperation lately is the spin coming from conservative like yourself, John Ruberry, Fran Eaton, etc.

    Cal, given the size of the mailing and the subject matter (as a fundraising mailer) it actually likely is First Class mail. I haven’t received the mail piece (and who knows if I’m even on the mailing list in the first place) but I’ve both prepared and received many similar mailers over the years and they’re almost always First Class (stamped) mail, not bulk.

  15. - Louis G. Atsaves - Saturday, Nov 1, 08 @ 8:47 am:

    I’m not running any campaigns this cycle (I swore I would not do this again) but I was always careful in the past to let the post office know that a batch of letters were being mailed first class instead of bulk. In my situation, it would usually be blocks of 250-500 letters with first class stamps to professionals such as real estate agents looking for support/funds. Anything more than that would go out bulk simply due to cost issues.

    The post office, seeing the campaign return address, probably thought the Seals mailer was bulk and the campaign probably dropped them off unsorted by zip code. When you drop mail like that unsorted to them, they take their sweet time in their own little way that has turned FedEx and other companies into worldwide successes. I discovered this to be true after one incident on my own in the past with a small mailing done out of our office, even though the post office is supposed to treat “political mail” as first class during the campaign season, even with a bulk stamp on it. I believe the “first class” treatment the Seals campaign alludes to refers to this type of situation and that the Seals campaign used a bulk mailing stamp.

    “Tampering” is a pretty serious charge here. No evidence was presented to justify the use of that word. “Incompetence” by the post office makes more sense and perhaps someone not understanding how quirky the post office can be in these situations.

    Still, since it was political mail, the post office should have processed it like “regular” mail in that situation.

    After getting burned once on a small mailing, I learned to presort even the first class mailings before delivering it to the post office.

    I can’t say exactly what happened to the Seals mailer other than to take their press release facts that they dropped off a batch of mail and the post office acted indifferently and took their sweet time with something that should have gone out without much of a fuss.

    That doesn’t sound like tampering. That is just a plain old post office nightmare.

  16. - Speaking At Will - Saturday, Nov 1, 08 @ 10:46 am:

    pumpkin ale makea my head hurt

  17. - Team America - Saturday, Nov 1, 08 @ 2:33 pm:

    Rob_N, read the language of the Seals e-mail. Sounded pretty friggin’ desperate to me.

  18. - Rick - Saturday, Nov 1, 08 @ 7:48 pm:

    The Seals campaign is rife with screwups. This is a screwup of epic proportions and it should have never happened if it happened as described. Maybe the campaign manager should have been running the show instead of running-swimming-biking.

  19. - North of I-80 - Sunday, Nov 2, 08 @ 2:22 pm:

    Gov B on Con-con: I am opposed to the con-con but now that Gov B is opposed to it, I am perplexed…. I CAN’T be on the same side can I ?? Time for an Intervention….

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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