Just Above Sunset
November 14, 2004 - British Busybodies

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In November 14, 2004 - Rick Brown on why what was said last week was wrong, or inadequate... Rick, the News Guy in Atlanta says this to Joseph in Paris -


As for the "Guardian UK's adventure in Clark County, OH", I'm sorry, but whatever it is you are referring to may have had a huge effect on the UK vote, but not many of us over here subscribe to the Guardian. Maybe only Bush voters saw "Guardian UK's adventure in Clark County, OH," but I, for one, have no idea what it even is.


Joseph was referring to this –


"My fellow non-Americans ... " The Guardian (UK) Wednesday October 13, 2004 -and perhaps to the write up in the rival Telegraph (UK)

... and a write-up in the Telegraph (UK) "Guardian calls it quits in Clark County fiasco" David Rennie in Youngstown (Filed: 22/10/2004) -

-  The Guardian yesterday ran up the white flag and called a halt to "Operation Clark County", the newspaper's ambitious scheme to recruit thousands of readers to persuade American voters in a swing state to kick out President George W Bush in next month's election.


Yes, "Operation Clark County" was a failure.


The most powerful transatlantic connection is a personal one, so we have designed a system to match individual Guardian readers with individual voters in Clark County, in the crucial swing state of Ohio. … We have included only those voters who chose to list themselves as unaffiliated, instead of as Republican or Democrat: that is no guarantee that they are persuadable, of course, but it does increase the chances. The data on which our system is based is publicly available, but we have designed it to give out each address only once, so there is no danger of recipients getting deluged.


In formulating your letter, you will need to introduce yourself: no individual Clark County voter will have any reason to be expecting your communication. And in choosing your arguments, keep in mind the real risk of alienating your reader by coming across as interfering or offensive. You might want to handwrite your letter, for additional impact, and we strongly recommend including your own name and address - it lends far more credibility to your views, and you might get a reply.


It didn’t work.


But Rick checked it out and…. 

This is very funny!


I love it that some Democrat living over there tried to warn them this would only help Bush in that county but they didn't believe her, and that the first lady to receive a letter threw it away because she thought it was from a terrorist, and that, according to some local pol, these people, many of whom have "literacy issues," thought the Guardian was from the nearby town of London, Ohio!


Does this whole thing not sound like some movie that stars Peter Sellers and Jonathan Winters? Except, of course, the movie could never be as funny as the real thing!


Still, I do have a hard time believing this cute little stunt had any effect whatsoever on the election.

Ah, probably not.


Bob Patterson, our Just Above Sunset columnist, adds this –


Rick is right.  This would make a swell comedy.

Which reminds me.  I'm told (hearsay is inadmissible as evidence) that the movie The Russians Are Coming (1966) with Jonathan Winter among others was actually based on an incident during WWII where a Vichy French sub came into New London, Connecticut.  Got some fuel, got some supplies.  Did some "roving ambassadors of good will" type shmoozing and then departed before someone remembered to ask:  "Are they on our side?"


Did Ohio actually sign the treaty ending the Revolutionary war or are they technically still "one of the colonies?"


Since George Washington didn't become the first president April 30, 1789, (and thus become the representative of the USA) so wouldn't each colony have to sign the treaty separately?  Did they?


Rick replies –


Damn, all this nostalgia is making me feel old! But in a good way! (If that's possible.)


I does happen that I do know the movie "The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!" (starring as the submarine captain, as I remember it, Alan Arkin, one of my favorite comic actors) was based on the book "The Off-Islanders," a novel about a Soviet sub running aground on some Nantucket-like island where the inhabitants don't so much suspect these outsiders because they're commies as that they don't live on this island. I happened to have read this paperback, one of the few I read back then, when I was in high school vacationing at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.


Did Ohio actually sign the treaty ending the Revolutionary war or are they

technically still "one of the colonies?"


Truth is, Ohio wasn't one of the colonies in 1783 when the Treaty of Paris was signed. I think it was territory owned by some other colony. (Pennsylvania?)


Since George Washington didn't become the first president April 30, 1789 ... so wouldn't each colony have to sign the treaty separately? Did they?


After the treaty was signed, the United States became a confederation of independent states, recognized as such by Britain, which, four years later, decided to reorganize themselves into a proper country. By that point, they weren't actual colonies anymore, they were states, each of which just had to worry about ratifying the actual Constitution.


(I think Rhode Island, for one, originally rejected the pact but then decided after the fact that they didn't relish the idea of being like some Monaco surrounded by this huge and possibly dangerous country, so they signed up after everyone else had signed on.)


Be that as it may, the Brits made a whole lot of folks in Ohio, the country or state or colony, unhappy.  A bad idea.


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....