“To Hell with Them If They’re Stupid Enough to Believe It”

The title of this article is not a direct quote; when I’ve heard this said by campaign officials about voters it has started with something coarser than “to hell with.”  And I haven’t heard it directly from Tony Bushala and his crew of FFFFers about last week’s pro-FFFF slate mailer, but I have a feeling that I will.

Can we all agree that trying to win votes by bamboozling voters is shameful and should be loudly denounced? (I know, we can’t; the question is rhetorical.) But we should, inspired by the last embers burning in the deepest buried memories of our civics classes, believe that elections should be contested on the merits — and when not on the merits at least not in ways diametrically opposed to the merits. Electoral success should not come from lying. Can we agree on that much? (No — sociopaths, for example, can’t.)

Many people in politics would agree that actively lying is out of bounds (although some would not), but misleading voters, implying that up is down rather than just saying so outright — that’s OK. You don’t believe me? Take a look at this slate mailer that arrived last week in Fullerton. This comes from a photocopy, so some of it is hard to read, but I’ll try to walk you through it.

"Ballot Guide"

Apparent (but not actual) Bush-Feinstein mailer

As you can see, it’s a slate mailer, apparently for Barack Obama and Dianne Feinstein.  My information, which may be incomplete, was that it was sent to Democrats, to capitalize on Democratic warmth for those two politicians.  Everything else about the mailer is either misleading or actively a lie.

Start with the Prop 28 argument.  Legislators can currently serve “in office” for 14 years, not 6.  They can serve for 6 years in the Assembly (or almost 7, if you take over midterm) and 8 in the Senate.  That’s 14 years.  It does allow legislators to serve for 12 rather than 6 years in the Assembly, but at the price of giving up any chance to serve in the State Senate.  That is the scam.

Hold on, it’s about to get worse.

Anti-Democratic Recommendations in pro-Obama/DiFi slate mailer.

Yes, if you like Barack Obama and Dianne Feinstein, you’ll love dismantling Fullerton City Government!  If Tony Bushala — that’s my assumption as to who funded it — had cleverly left Republican State Assemblyman Chris Norby off of the slate mailer, it would be easier to pretend that this wasn’t just an effort to pull the wool over voters’ eyes.  And, of course the fine print orders the reader not to read anything (like an endorsement) into anything in the mailer.  The fine print ought to say “we think you Democrats are stupid and are just trying to trick you.”)

In fact, the number of informed Democrats who are supporting Chris Norby against Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva for State Assembly would probably fit into Tony Bushala’s bathtub.  But supporting Norby in an uncontested is not the real point of this mailer; his inclusion may just be an eye-gouge at Quirk-Silva — to whom Bushala has donated in the past — for taking on the object of his political love.  No, this is all about the recall — and using it to install a Bushala slate into power.

(Jane Rands, Matt Rowe, Sean Paden — sorry.  You may get along with FFFF people, but you are not a fully owned subsidiary and so you cannot be trusted to do what Tony wants.  Thanks for playing, though!)

Aside from the propositions and Judge Deborah Chuang — who has lost my vote simply because she can’t stay off of every stupid slate mailer around, no matter how disgusting — every paying contributor to this mailer is part of the Bushala claque, and my bet is that all of the money comes from Bushala.  (If they win and claim a mandate, remember that part of that mandate is to support Obama and Feinstein.) If you like Obama and Feinstein, Tony wants you to transfer those warm feelings to candidates who will not rule out taking Fullerton into an unnecessary bankruptcy to try to cancel the city’s pension obligations. I’m pretty sure that Obama and Feinstein would be on the other side of that debate.

Another flyer also landed in Democratic voters’ hands this past week — but its recommendations had a difference than made me smile.  See if you can spot it.

Fullerton "literacy" slate mailer

Oh, look, it’s the Coalition for Literacy Newsletter!  I like literacy!  Who’s Lloyd Levine, by the way?  Wikipedia says that he’s a former Democratic Assembly Majority Leader “known for his effort to enact a spay and neutering law for some pets, his effort to ban incandescent light bulbs, his program to promote fitness, and his plastic bag recycling program.”  That is all so totally Tony Bushala!  Oh, and according to this conservative site, he’s also now putting out slate mailers, selling a bogus association with literacy to the highest bidder.

Now, who in Fullerton do you suppose would be the highest bidder for another misleading slate mailer?

"Literacy" mailer supporting FFFF slate.

That’s right — Barack Obama and Dianne Feinstein!  No, wait — no asterisks by their name, so they didn’t pay.  And while you can see the ubiquitous Judge Chuang on the mailer as a paying customer, as well as a couple of propositions, most of the mailer (some of which didn’t come through on the photocopy) is once again the same well-funded bamboozler slate: yes on the recall, Kiger, Levinson, and Sebourn.

Maybe I’ve missed it, but — has any one of those three made literacy a centerpiece of their campaign?  My guess is “no.”  But from the perspective of a bamboozler, it doesn’t matter.  What matters to the bamboozler is this bit of philosophy:

You are an ignorant mark and however you can be conned into voting for these FFFF’ers is just fine.  “To hell with you if you’re stupid enough to believe it.”

(Or, if you want to, you could stand up to them and say that you won’t be conned.  It’s your vote; it’s up to you!)

Oh, and the little detail that I love?  The second FFFF slate mailer also favors one proposition and opposes the other — but it’s the exact opposite choice as the first one.  That tells you what really matters to the people (or person) who paid for this — and what doesn’t.

P.S. Chris Norby has spent about $13,500 in mailings so far, $2600 of it in slate cards; his report shows that his inclusion in the “Your Ballot Guide” slate mailer at the top cost him $1000.


I don’t know how updated Fullerton keeps its records of campaign/independent expenditures.  Anyone?

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)