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September 28, 2012 11:21 AM The Anti-Bambi Vote

By Ed Kilgore

Having mocked Charles Krauthammer’s plea to Mitt Romney to “go large” in the remainder of the presidential contest, I should probably note the other extreme to which Team Mitt seems to be going to micro-target battleground state voters. MoJo’s Tim Murphy has a report on a strange mailer being sent to certain Virginia voters:

[I]t turns out that Romney has, over the last few months, actually made Lyme disease—the bacterial disease transmitted to humans from deer ticks—part of his pitch to suburban Virginia voters. It started back in August, when he sent a public letter (paid for by the campaign) to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) commending him for his push to create a “Tick-Borne Diseases Advisory Committee.” “More needs to be done,” Romney wrote. “As president, I will work to ensure that more attention is focused on this important issue … We need to ensure that all scientific viewpoints concerning this illness can be heard.”

Murphy goes on to explain there has been an obscure battle underway in scientific and public health communities over the causes (one of which appears to be, ironically, climate change), dangers and ameliorative efforts associated with Lyme’s disease, which is perceived as a particular issue in some Virginia suburbs where deer have lately been appearing to munch on gardens and shrubs. And he gets this fine quote from the ever-ready Virginia-based pundit Larry Sabato: “VA is home to some Lyme disease, but I would never have guessed that it was a presidential level issue!”

I dunno. I vaguely recall way back in the day reading the first chapter or two of some right-wing political fiction potboiler in which one of the subplots was the constant menace to the D.C. area of deer unleashed by environmentalists and animal-rights advocates. Maybe the Romney campaign believes there is an anti-Bambi vote to be harvested, in conjunction with its efforts to inflame southwest Virginia voters with anger towards environmentalists over coal policies. If I somehow get bored on Election Night, maybe I’ll pay some attention to voting patterns in Prince William, Fauquier and Stafford Counties. But it sure looks like the Romney campaign is taking small-ball tactics to an unusual extreme.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • JustMe on September 28, 2012 11:50 AM:

    This comes across as the Romney campaign's awkward attempt at micro-targetting of voters. My guess is that some campaign consultant came in with a slick powerpoint presentation about how micro-targetting is "the future" and that the Obama campaign does it, so the Romney campaign should do it, too. Lacking the infrastructure and expertise of the Obama campaign, the Romney campaign just slapped together something that has the look-and-feel of micro-targetting voters without being particularly effective.

  • Neil B on September 28, 2012 11:53 AM:

    Yes Ed, you have a point re the continuing head-scratchiness of R-Money's statements and campaigning (heh, I hope he doesn't try to open the windows of that spaceship that finally takes him off to Planet Kolob, or maybe I do ....) But Lyme disease is a real problem, and some people aren't even cured by the usual means. My GF has the residual Lyme syndrome: was diagnosed, took the medication course, but it didn't all go away.

  • Honeyboy Wilson on September 28, 2012 11:55 AM:

    Here in Kentucky, at least, our out of control deer population is the result of stocking the state for hunters. The hunters, apparently, are no match for the reproductive abilities of the deer.

    In terms of tick control, we just get Advantage or Frontline and apply it to ourselves. It doesn't seem to have any adverse effects.

    By the way, in terms of tick control, we just get Advantage or Frontline and apply it to ourselves. It doesn't seem to have any adverse effects.

  • Monadnock on September 28, 2012 12:11 PM:

    I just want to reiterate Neil's comment: Lyme disease is no joke. When my wife contracted it, we discovered how difficult it is to diagnose and how controversial to treat. Because some doctors refuse to recognize the more stubborn, embedded form of the disease, many insurance companies will not pay for extended treatments. I watched my wife go from one of the most energetic people I've ever met to someone who could barely pull herself out of bed. Because we were fortunate enough to find a "Lyme literate" doctor (and well off enough to afford treatment), I'd say she is about 95% recovered, but it was a year long struggle that nearly drove us to despair. There's nothing Mitt can do to get my vote, and I realize this is probably not a legitimate Presidential issue--but it is a real issue.

  • Joe Friday on September 28, 2012 12:11 PM:

    Perhaps we can make Willard the Chairman of the "Tick-Borne Diseases Advisory Committee". Lord knows he's had plenty of experience as a parasite, sucking profits and jobs out of the economy.

  • martin on September 28, 2012 12:30 PM:

    maybe Iíll pay some attention to voting patterns in Prince William, Fauquier and Stafford Counties.

    Hell, my parents live in Fairfax County, Springfield to be exact. They've been invaded by deer for years. 37 years ago when I graduated High School, Springfield was surrounded by woodland. Now all of that is suburban sprawl. No wonder the deer are munching on the gardens, they've got no where else to go. And he ticks go right along with them.

  • Boudica on September 28, 2012 12:54 PM:

    First, a shout out to Martin. Lake Braddock graduate here!
    Second, what jumps out at me is Mitt's phrasing: "We need to ensure that all scientific viewpoints concerning this illness can be heard."
    This sounds to me like all the other science waffling from Republicans....We need to teach both sides: evolution and intelligent design. Some scientists say the earth isn't warming.
    I don't know what the Republican science-denialism viewpoint on Lyme disease is, though.

  • exlibra on September 28, 2012 1:09 PM:

    The hunters, apparently, are no match for the reproductive abilities of the deer. -- Honeyboy Wilson, @11:55 AM

    Too many of them are Romney's devotees and exactly like him -- shoot first, aim later. At least here, in Rockbridge County, VA, they are.

  • mark on September 28, 2012 3:40 PM:

    Actually, mice are more significant than deer for spreading Lyme disease to humans. A recent study documented that foxes appear to be helpful in curbing the spread of the disease--where fox populations have dropped, the incidence of Lyme disease has risen.