Anti-Marriage Amendment Coalition's E-Mail Blunder & Creativity

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I've got to hand it to the anti-Marriage Amendment Commonwealth Coalition for their creativity... Yesterday they sent out an email designed to inspire hope in their cause to defeat the Marriage Amendment and leave the definition of marriage more vulnerable to litigation and judicial activism; the only problem was their inspirational metaphor was based on Floyd Landis' Tour de France victory (for those unaware Landis is suspected of cheating).

Quickly realizing their blunder they successfully converted their mistake into a new metaphor for their red-herring arguments that the Marriage Amendment will result in "no other legal agreements [being] allowed for any unmarried couples" and thus all contract rights will shatter (although they claim these are "unintended consequences" yet some of our visitors here seem to imply they are intended... which is it?). I've posted the text of both emails below the fold for your entertainment... not a bad example of a quick and creative recovery!

As to the actual message of their emails and their polling data (for which there has been pretty much zero disclosure with no cross-tabs being released nor any of the preceding questions to ensure it isn't a push-poll)... that's a whole other story! Regardless, those of us in favor of the Marriage Amendment cannot rest on our laurels and must assume we're running 10 points behind because our citizen-driven grassroots effort will be going head to head with a $3,000,000 special-interest campaign and paid staff in every region of the state. We will have to work to counter their misinformation campaign if we are to be successful.

Anyways... enjoy!

Victory Requires Vision and Belief

Dear XXXX,

The Tour de France has long been a symbol of how human determination and inspiration will lead to ultimate victory. In this way, last Sunday's closing of the Tour de France holds a key lesson for The Commonwealth Coalition's* campaign to defeat the Marshall/Newman amendment.**

For those who missed the race, Floyd Landis was confronted with a grueling day in the Alps when he fell more than 8 minutes behind the leaders. Though experts, pundits and his competitors had written him off, Landis returned the next day with an unexpected and historic recovery that placed him only 30 seconds off the pace.

To win, Landis willed himself through a backbreaking mountain stage with an arthritic hip that was literally crumbling as he biked the 2,000 mile Tour.

Landis was not alone - he had his wife, coaches and teammates supporting him. But, in the end, success boiled down to his faith in himself and his vision of victory.

Vision and belief are also the keys to our victory in November!

Reason to Believe

Through polling we've done over the last year, we know several things about our own journey ahead:

First, right now, 54% of likely voters tell us that they will vote NO or are undecided. Support for the amendment has fallen well below 50%. Statistically, the race is a statistical "dead heat" with support for the amendment waning! Read more about the poll results on our website later today.

Second, our research confirms that Virginians are smart voters. When voters read the whole amendment support erodes. Voters are hesitant to vote for anything that has unknown consequences. Most Virginian's believe that the government should stay out of our private lives and dislike the idea that this amendment can affect personal contracts in unforeseen ways.

From where we stand, our task is simple: We must get voters to read the full text of the amendment before they vote on November 7.

We know what we need to do and the course to winning is as clear-cut as racing a bike over a pre-determined course. We must have passion to inform others about our vision and the persistence to push our momentum forward.

Act on Your Vision of Victory

With little more than three months left in this campaign, and the numbers showing us in a dead heat with our opponents, now is the time to act!

The easiest way you can help is to talk with those around you. The more people you tell about the full language of the amendment, the more voters will vote NO in November. And, if you keep track of the NO voters you find on our get 10 NO voter petitions, all the better!

Another way you can help is by becoming an active member of The Commonwealth Coalition. Visit www.votenova.org or write to volunteer@votenova.org to find volunteer opportunities in your area.

Last, make a contribution to help us spread the word.

We need your support to carry us through this crucial leg of the race and to maintain and build the momentum toward our united vision of victory.

Like Landis, who pushed onward because he had the support of his team, we are counting on you. If we have faith to persevere and ignore the expectations of experts and opponents, we can wake up on Tuesday November 8th as victors!

Believe!

Charles Dyson
Campaign Scheduler

Then, realizing their blunder...

Timing Is Everything; Another Lesson Learned About Unintended Consequences

Dear XXXX,

Today, the Tour de France became a symbol for us of the old adage, "timing is everything."

Our weekly email got hung up in the system today, and, wouldn't you know, it didn't get dislodged until just after the news broke about Landis' suspected drug usage and before we learned of it.

Obviously, the email was written and sent when none of us knew that Landis might be nothing more than a cheater who disappointed those, like us, who saw his performance as an inspirational metaphor.

But, there is still a lesson here for The Commonwealth Coalition's* campaign to defeat the Marshall/Newman amendment.**

It's that actions have consequences and that not all are predictable or intended.

Unintended Consequences

Using Landis' performance as a metaphor for our campaign seemed like a wonderful way to communicate the need for a vision of victory and the will or belief necessary to translate vision to reality.

Who would have thought that we'd end up where we are when we chose to focus this week on someone we considered an American hero?

We certainly didn't intend to look like we were endorsing a cheater. Yet, because we didn't wait for the "fine print" of the drug tests to be completed, that's where we are.

A painful lesson to be sure, but one that can help us communicate to voters just how important it is to read all of the language of the proposed amendment before they vote in November so they don't end up, like us, kicking themselves after the election for not understanding all of the potential consequences of a yes vote.

We Still Have Reason to Believe

What happened to disappoint us today doesn't take anything away from our essential message this week.

Those of us working on this campaign not only believe that we can win in November. We now have reason to know that we can.

The Commonwealth Coalition released a poll today that shows significant erosion in support for the Marshall/Newman amendment.

A 23% lead last summer has deteriorated to a "virtual statistical dead heat."

54% of likely voters now say they will vote NO or are undecided.

Support for the amendment is now well below 50%.

What accounts for the difference in results?

Nothing more than the voters' common sense reading of the fine print in the Marshall/Newman amendment.

Virginians who actually read the whole amendment see that it opens a Pandora's box of unintended consequences, and they don't want to do that.

Our challenge now is to be sure voters know to read the fine print before they vote. If they do, we are confident that they will vote NO to this far reaching proposal to write discrimination into Virginia's bill of rights and intrude the government into our private lives.

From where we stand, our task is simple: We must get voters to read the full text of the amendment before they vote on November 7.

We Won't Let You Down If You Join Our Team

With little more than three months left in this campaign, and the numbers showing us in a dead heat with our opponents, now is the time to act!

The easiest way you can help is to talk with those around you. The more people you tell about the full language of the amendment, the more voters will vote NO in November. And, if you keep track of the NO voters you find on our get 10 NO voter petitions, all the better!

Another way you can help is by becoming an active member of The Commonwealth Coalition. Visit www.votenova.org or write to volunteer@votenova.org to find volunteer opportunities in your area.

Last, make a contribution to help us spread the word.

This is a team effort, and we are counting on you. In return, we promise that, unlike Landis, we won't let you down.

If we have faith to persevere and ignore the "conventional wisdom" and beliefs of so-called experts and opponents, we can wake up on Tuesday November 8th as victors!

Believe!

Claire Guthrie Gastanaga
Campaign Manager

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5 Comments

David said:

Yes, it is. Let's have a round of applause for bad timing!

Now, to the issue at hand - I didn't know that the Commonwealth Coalition had raised $3,000,000, only that this is an ambitious goal that was stated at some point. Do you have some information documenting this? Otherwise, the statement comes across as one of those pitiful fundraising ploys (you know the kind I mean, the "poor me, my opponent is so well funded and powerful, I'm the underdog, sniff, send money" type), not to mention being intentionally misleading. That's not really the impression you want to make, is it?

You raise an interesting question about intended versus unintended consequences of the broad amendment language. I don't think the answer is that it's one or the other, across the board. Which it is depends entirely upon who is being asked, and the specific consequence being discussed. My educated guess is that most voters who are in favor of the amendment fall in the "unintended" category. They want to trust the due diligence of the legislature and hope for the best. On the other hand, I don't think it's an accident that the amendment language doesn't specify same sex couples, and would therefore open up the relationships of all unmarried couples, gay or straight, to legal challenge and mischief.

The question I have is, which category are you in? Intended or unintended?

VoteNOva said:

Thanks for adding to our circulation and for laughing with us about the bad timing. I'll take "creativity" as a compliment, although I promise we'll be staying away from metaphors using live public figures in the future. :-)

Fact is, though, it's those who don't want the voters to focus on the entire text of the proposed Marshall/Newman amendment who are spreading misinformation.

As to the suggestion that we engaged in push polling -- our poll results are based on a question that was nothing more than a reading of the actual text of the amendment. The question followed nothing but preliminary questions designed to assure that the person was a registered voter with an intention to vote in the fall (we wanted to hear only from likely voters).

The numbers we released were purely and simply a reflection of the voters' common sense response to a reading of the text of the whole amendment, not just the first line as some polls have done.

When voters read/hear the entire question that will actually be on the ballot in NOvember, their common sense tells them that all that extra language after the first sentence must mean something and that they don't know what it is.

Read it all. Then, vote NO to the Pandora's box that is Question # 1 on the ballot this fall.

10th District Conservative said:

from Raising Kaine:

" I agree that the churches endorse bigotry (1+ / 0-)
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and homophobia. Organized religion is a terrifying force. That's why the Repugs use it. And though I see your point I don't see how you can get them out of the biz. They invented it and have been in it for thousands of years. Thats why I think going after the legal rights you want is crucial so that the unenlightened can't continue to use religion as a club to thump the gay community with. The thugs like it nice and muddy and it needs to be clear. Get all the laws in place then no one will care what you call the relationship. I think we need to get government out of the marriage buisiness. They only got in on it to get the revenue of the licence.

Democrat Jim Webbfor Senate 2006

by jmaps on Thu Mar 30, 2006 at 04:32:06 PM PDT

[ Parent ]
"
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/3/30/173556/216

Oh, but there is no agenda, right?

More than 50 years ago, Dorothy Sanders warned that we are in a cultural struggle a "war of dogma" not a civil war between proponents of the same religion but a deep struggle between paganism and Christianity. Nothing has changed.

I respect the intellects of many on the other side of this debate and have had some great conversations with some activists on that side. But make no mistake -- they want to limit if not eliminate free speech for people of faith who do not agree with them.

Sophrosyne said:

Thanks for coming by Claire!

As to this statement:

As to the suggestion that we engaged in push polling -- our poll results are based on a question that was nothing more than a reading of the actual text of the amendment. The question followed nothing but preliminary questions designed to assure that the person was a registered voter with an intention to vote in the fall (we wanted to hear only from likely voters).

Then why not release the full survey and the cross-tabs?

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