Monday, March 3, 2008

Political Robots

For the first time in my life, my vote in the Democratic presidential primary here in Texas means something. I'm going to help decide the nominee. It's a good feeling.

But everybody knows it, not just me. And the robots have been calling at quite a clip to solicit my vote. They vary in their degree of automation. Some are robot-assists to mammalian contact with actual persons participating after the robot dials my number and screens it for answering machines, busy signals, and bad connections. Some are robot polls like the Republican one last night that asked me if I had a favorable opinion of George W. Bush (no), Sen. John Cornyn (no), Gov. Rick Perry (nope and no again). I then asked me if I was a codger (yes) and thanked me for my time. Okay, it actually was interested about my age. Some sort of demographic thing that identified me as a rare bird: white male, over fifty, Texan, and anti-Bush.

More often the robots are shills for actual mammals. Barack Obama called last week to pass the time and opine about what is in my best interests when I vote tomorrow. Gen. Wesley Clark called on Saturday offering to help me decide to vote for Sen. Clinton and make him happy for my wise choice. Hillary Clinton herself just left a message on my answering machine explaining why a vote for her was a vote for...something good, but I forget. In each case, the calls were simply canned recordings pumped into my house by speed dialing digitized gadgets.

Robots.

But -- oh, wonderful thing! -- just now a fresh, energetic and distinctly chilled young man rang my doorbell. He wanted me to vote for Obama. A brisk mammalian conversation ensued. I told him he had my vote. He reminded me about the caucus in the county seat after the polls close tomorrow. I let him know I was planning to attend.

It makes me wonder what market analyses exist that justify all those robots that keep calling.

1 comment:

Morse said...

I hope that Dick Cheney doesn't have a rare bird such as yourself in his gun sights, but then again you're not a lawyer and he's probably not drunk.