Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Ohio GOP wants your telephone number

FOR A POLITICAL PARTY that prides itself on rugged individualism and enforced privacy from government intruders as though the fate of empires depended on it, we now must turn to Columbus, Oh., for the latest word in snoopery from the Ohio Republican Party's front office. The party is defending itself in court from the Ohio Education Assn. for the GOP's deep-well attempt to gather up educators' telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and whatever else (no DNA this time) will help it take its message to the voters. State Republican chairman Kevin DeWine says he doesn't know what the fuss is about because the party is simply trying protect itself from the OEA's "lies and attacks." DeWine says his party wants to reach many other groups, including fishermen and farmers. I don't know what that's got to do with unfriendly teachers, but why not I.D. even infants while they're at it?

It does seem a little strange that as voters are bombarded by the media from all directions, he fears he could miss one or two teachers in Coshocton who haven't heard the latest word about Gov. Strickland and President Obama. A Columbus judge is taking all of this into account before moving on.

But there is obviously no agreement within the GOP on how far you can go - beyond the telephone directory and Google - to tell you more about your neighbor than you care to know. Rep. Michele Bachmann, the latest Republican rage from Minnesota, has noisily declared her scorn for census takers by saying, law or no law, she will bar the prowling socialists from her house.

In fairness to the other side, DeWine might at least agree to a trade that would have him release the names, email and home addresses, and license plate numbers of the many donors to his party. Fair is fair! Sometimes, even in politics.

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