NY-26: Operation: Infiltrate

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 24 2011 8:13 AM

NY-26: Operation: Infiltrate

It was just three months ago that Ian Murphy, a gonzo writer for the Buffalo Beast , called Scott Walker and claimed to be David Koch. Murphy temporarily shifted the terms of the union fight in Wisconsin, and permanently fixed the Kochs' status as liberal arch-foes. From there, Murphy went on to grab the Green Party's nomination for NY-26 -- a district with less than 900 registered Green Party voters. The ensuing campaign was... not busy. When I met Murphy last week, over beers in a bar located in a scenic big box store parking lot, he shrugged about his campaign schedule for the weekend ("I don't have any plans") and reminisced about the angry e-mails he was collecting from Democrats and Greens. Democrats because they didn't want him to spoil the election; Greens because they wondered why this guy was their candidate.

Still, Murphy has pulled some effective stunts. He purchased JaneCorwin.org and mocked up a dada campaign site to look like the Republican candidate's. And then he volunteered for the GOP campaign.

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"Hi, sir, my name’s Steve and I’m a volunteer for the Jane Corwin campaign–"

"Jesus!" a guy screams at me. "You know, I was thinking about voting for Corwin, but this is too much! You people have called me a dozen times in the last two days! I am sick of it!"

"But Jane Corwin wants to rule over you with an iron fist," I calmly relay. "Don’t you crave strong leadership?"

"What?!" he balks. "An 'iron fist’?"

"Yes," I assure him. "These phone calls are just the beginning. When Jane’s in Congress she will do everything in her power to crush you mentally and physically."

"Don’t call me again!" he says and slams down the receiver.

"Corwin walked door-to-door handing out phone books!" Old Lady shouts into a phone. "She knows what hard work is!" We exchange glances. "Do you listen to Donald Trump?" she asks the person on the other end. I’m not sure why.

Not a lot of bell-ringing. "Should we use the word 'Republican’?" one of the kids asks Bob.

"NO!" he yells nervously.

It's in the tradition of Matt Taibbi's "Bush Like Me." It'll piss some people off.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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