I received this fax today, and I got all excited. On the cover sheet, it was noted that "this fax and the attached documents are official documents of the Republican Party, and are confidential, and are intended solely for the individual named above." Which would be me!
The attached document said:
I've just received word that based on your support of the Republican Party, you have been selected by the National Republican Senatorial Committee to receive the American Spirit Award. The American Spirit Award is a high honor -- the highest, in fact, that the NRSC can bestow upon an individual. This high honor has been endowed upon our nation's and our world's greatest defenders of liberty, economic freedom and military strength, including President Ronald Reagan and General Norman Schwarzkopf. I am thrilled that you have been selected and it is my sincerest hope that you will accept this honor....
Senator John Ensign (Dalai's Note: (R) Nevada)
National Republican Senatorial Committee
Now, that's what I'm talking about! I've finally been recognized for my selfless fight against certain large corporations, and blog-boredom. And I've voted Republican all my life.
But wait. There's a problem. Some quick Googling reveals something disturbing. Dozens of other folks reported receiving the same fax over the past several weeks and months. When they call in to claim their "award" they receive a high-pressure sales pitch to join up with NRSC at ever higher levels, for thousands of dollars, although for many, the price went down when they demurred. Sadly, this is nothing but a scam, designed to separate the mark from his money.
I don't know if Senator Ensign realizes that his name is being used in this manner, and I call upon the Senator to stop this low-class fund-raising tactic immediately. Who does he think he is, Hillary? I've actually e-mailed him with this request, but have yet to hear back.
Obviously, I'm not the only one to have this honor "endowed" upon him. There were several citations of the "award" being given to Democrats who never have voted Republican in their lives. The saddest story of all comes from Glasgow, Kentucky, where a poor fellow named David Thomas actually believed the hype, and so did his local paper, the Glasgow Daily Times:
Local wins mystery honor
Thomas still uncertain what American Spirit Award is
By BRAD DICKERSON Glasgow Daily Times
David Thomas was notified via fax that he was to receive a major award, yet it took some convincing before he accepted it as the truth.
The owner of Glasgow’s D&D Construction and Concrete received the correspondence last week from the office of Nevada Sen. John Ensign, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), saying he was selected to receive the 2007 American Spirit Award.
Others who have been recognized with this honor were President Ronald Reagan, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and General Norman Schwarzkopf, the faxed notification stated.
“To be honest, I looked at one of my men and I said, ‘Somebody at work is really yanking my chain,’” Thomas said about his initial reaction. “We really didn’t know what it was. What we began to do is we began to call and we began to try to figure out what it was that we got.”
Thomas said he placed phone calls to representatives in both Frankfort and Washington D.C., to determine if the award was legitimate, which, he acknowledged, was.
“I was leery that it was probably someone just wanting money,” Thomas said. “I pretty much made them convince me of who they were. We ended up getting a number to the White House and we ended up figuring out that we had been given an award.”
Attempts to contact officials were unreturned, although operators answering calls referred to the office as that of the NRSC. Thomas believes someone wrote a letter and nominated him for the award, although he is unsure who it could have been or if he’ll ever know.
“What did I do to get this award?” he said.
After receiving confirmation that he was being recognized, Thomas tried to find out just what he would receive. That question, he said, is still a mystery.
“What the award is for, I don’t know right now,” he said. “I won’t know until I get there. They just needed to know if I would accept it.”
Thomas said that what he does know is he will be meeting President George Bush in March to get the honor. He added that he will also be sitting on a business advisory council.
Send me a postcard from the meeting, David. I think I'll have to pass.
As a reasonably staunch Republican, I am disheartened by this whole thing. My Democratic friends will laugh, but I think they have a few bad actors in their camp, too.