Somewhere along the line my name and address got put on a mailing list for conservative groups. Not sure if a ‘clean list’ got contaminated, or whether it’s someone’s idea of a joke (or revenge). Mostly I just send back the coupon with a ‘you’ve got to be kidding’ note; let them pay postage. But the recent ‘Taxpayer Opinion Poll on the real Liberal Agenda’ from The Heritage Foundation is just begging for comment.
Of course groups all across the political spectrum use such ‘polls’ to encourage people to make donations- but previous ones have at least presented themselves (more or less) as fairly-worded. Not this one. As any professional pollster/ researcher knows, the precise wording of questions in a real survey must be carefully written to avoid influencing the outcome. Even instructions and any preamble must be neutral. After a ‘special message’ just for me, this ‘opinion poll’ has a preamble that clearly identifies the entire purpose; and it’s not to get a “fair and balanced” view of anything.
For each issue they state their opinion as to whether it is part of ‘the Liberal Agenda’ or ‘Heritage’s Conservative Agenda’ (funny how they admit there might be multiple ‘Conservative Agendas’ but only one ‘Liberal Agenda’). Then you answer if it is or is not part of ‘Your Agenda’ (or if you are ‘undecided’). No room for comments, clarification or complaint. And I’m sure if I tried to write any in they would just declare mine a ‘spoiled ballot’ so here is what my ‘ballot’ would look like (I won’t type out the entire questionnaire; just the most egregious questions):
|3. Make permanent the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003||NO||YES||The tax cuts that favoured the wealthy? The tax cuts that didn’t help the infamous ‘middle class’ and ‘working poor’? The ones that over-paid ‘Financial Industry’ people used to keep even more of their blood money? Those tax cuts?|
|5. Increase federal spending by trillions of dollars||YES||NO||It’s not how much is spent; but what it’s spent on. How well that’s done, and how quickly fraud is tracked down and prosecuted. See next Q.|
|6. Expose and eliminate wasteful ‘pork barrel’ spending||NO||YES||It won’t happen under the current system. Parties aren’t ‘in control’ of anything; lobbyists and corporations are.|
|7. End unnecessary regulations on small businesses||NO||YES||End unnecessary ones- enforce or add necessary ones.|
|9. Block sensible Medicare reform||YES||NO||All for sensible reforms; not in favour of giving corporations even more $$ under the guise of ‘sensible reform’.|
|10. Expand freedom of choice in health care||NO||YES||Freedom as in dieing from lack of insurance? Single-payer and/or strong ‘Public Option’ can do more for Health Insurance reform.|
|16. Terrify Americans with ‘global warming’ hysteria||YES||NO||Science isn’t hysteria; and rabid fundamentalism is a much bigger danger.|
|20. Defend traditional marriage as a cornerstone of American society||NO||YES||Sure- bring back multiple wives, the ‘rule of thumb’ and, oh yes, ‘women should be silent in church’.|
|29. Maintain policies that are proven effective in stopping terrorists and protecting America||NO||YES||“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”|