Obama endorsed Wilma Chan?

30 May

Well, that’s what I thought when I first glanced at this mailer that I received last week:

I opened up my mailbox and there was Obama’s face, which I thought was incredibly weird. Once I realized it was a Chan mailer I thought, ok, this is strange, why would a presidential candidate endorse a state senator? But then I flipped it over…

As you can see, there’s a quote in very big writing, and then in small writing you see that it’s from Maya Setoro-Ng, Obama’s half sister. Look, it’s great and all that his sister endorsed Chan, but it still seems pretty disingenuous to slap a photo of our next president on the front of your mailer because of it.

It gets better though (well, worse actually). In the text of the mailer, Chan touts that she endorsed Obama early and was active on his campaign while Hancock took the “safe route” and endorsed Clinton. I’m a huge Obama supporter and I’ve grown to support Clinton less and less, but I’m not going to judge my state Senate candidate by who she endorsed for president. And I’m not going to assume that Hancock just took the safe route – I’m sure she had plenty of substantive reasons to support Clinton. Besides, I think this mailer would really piss of Clinton supporters – it’s pretty disrespectful. Is Chan just writing off those votes?

So all last week I was really annoyed about this mailer and ranted at everyone who would listen about it, and then two days ago, this came in the mail:

AAAAAAAHHHHHH! (I think I really did scream when I saw it.) If the other mailer didn’t make you think that Obama had endorsed Chan, this one certainly would. With at least 10 election mail pieces hitting a voter’s mailbox per day, who has time to actually open one up and read the fine print?

Look, I understand that Chan feels like she had to do something to counter the Hancock billboards and mailers with pictures of Rep. Barbara Lee, who actually did endorse Hancock. And I understand that few politicians are more popular in the district than Lee is, but this kind of campaigning is disingenuous. What’s more frustrating is that Chan IS endorsed by dozens and dozens of prominent leaders in the district and in the state.

I’m still undecided in this race, but these mail pieces have actually tipped me a bit towards Hancock. Has anyone felt this way about other election mailers you’ve received?

9 Responses to “Obama endorsed Wilma Chan?”

  1. ac May 30, 2008 at 10:11 am #

    YES! There was the same teeth-gnashing and guttural guffaws when our household received that mailer. The other one I’ve really liked was the Cops Voter Guide that supports Nadel. Because, you know, the actual police in our city have endorsed Sullivan (and would probably not endorse Nadel even if she were running unopposed).

    Wilma Chan’s mailer, I thought, was incredibly stupid and out-of-touch and -taste. I’m not sure how much Clinton supporters will be turned off by this: heck, I’m not sure how many voters are still going to their mailbox. Her other mailers included grammatical mistakes and some plain idiotic claims, so I’m not sure what is going on. It’s certainly not a reassuring or professional way to present yourself to the public.

  2. Eric May 30, 2008 at 4:14 pm #

    I won’t be doing it this election, but I’ve often thought about casting votes based on who has wasted the least amount of paper on mailers.

  3. Becks May 30, 2008 at 5:56 pm #

    ac – I hadn’t seen the cops voter guide (probably missed it in my ever growing pile of campaign mail). Do you know who put it together? It does seem odd that they’ve endorsed Nadel.

    Eric – nice idea, but I can’t imagine how much time and energy it would take (not to mention space) to save all those mailers and then count them 🙂

    I think if I was running a campaign I’d focus my mail energy early in the season, when voters aren’t receiving 10+ pieces daily. At a certain point, people just stop paying attention.

  4. Eric May 30, 2008 at 6:32 pm #

    Yeah, it’s been ridiculous. This week, I’ve gotten multiple mailers from the same campaign in a single day’s mail. Three flyers for Joe Nation in a single day aren’t more persuasive than one. It’s just annoying, and maybe detrimental.

    I can’t vote for the least wasteful candidate this time around, because Leno has sent out quite a few mailers, and I’ve already settled on him in any case. But we’ll see about next election. 🙂

  5. Becks May 30, 2008 at 7:07 pm #

    Glad to hear you’re voting for Leno, even if he’s sent out too many mailers. I think he’s clearly the best choice, and I’d be voting for him too if I lived in the district.

    I’m not sure if this applies to the Nation-Leno-Migden race, but in many of the races, independent expenditure groups are sending out mailers on behalf of candidates. Since they can’t by law coordinate with the campaigns (though I know some of them do), voters get several mailers on one day.

  6. BlueTooYou May 31, 2008 at 12:14 pm #

    I also have been overloaded with mail (and phone calls this campaign.

    RE: Obama and candidates

    At least Wilma Chan supports and worked for Obama – give her some credit!

    On the other hand, I was surprised by the mailer I got with a big Obama pix on it in support of Lee, Swanson, Hancock and Hammill because every one of them except Lee is for Hillary Clinton.


  7. David June 2, 2008 at 3:40 pm #

    KTVU did a story on this the other night. I felt smug because I already knew all about it from your blog!

    I don’t think this is the worst ethical breach in the world, but Wilma Chan’s defense of the mailer on KTVU was pretty silly. She said something like “If I had put an Obama logo on the mailer, that would be different, but there’s nothing misleading about putting the photos on there.” Huh? Two large photos which practically make it look like she’s his running mate? If the logo is a proprietary image, while the photos are in the public domain, then I guess she has a weak point, but that seems like a pretty legalistic defense. Hancock wasn’t happy about the mailer, of course…

    My mailers basically go straight into the recycling pile, so I can’t say whether any of the ones I’ve received have seemed misleading or unethical. I also haven’t answered my home phone in the past week, because I didn’t want to have to listen to all the robo-calls (luckily my friends and family always call me on my cell phone anyway).

  8. Becks June 2, 2008 at 4:15 pm #

    BlueTooYou – I didn’t receive any other mailers using Obama’s photo, but that does sound even worse.

    I’m glad KTVU covered this… it’s kind of amusing how the MSM is usually about a week behind the blogosphere.

  9. Becks June 2, 2008 at 6:30 pm #

    Well, I guess I spoke too soon because when I got home I saw the mailer with Obama’s face and the endorsements of Lee, Swanson, Hancock and Hammill. Really disgraceful. It was done by an independent expenditure group so I guess we can’t blame the candidates.

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