Odd Automated Phone Call for IL Governor Blagojevich mispronounces his name.--

In Illinois, next Tuesday is primary election day. As someone who usually votes in the Democratic primary, I have been getting automated political phone calls from Democratic candidates.

I just got an odd call from Planned Parenthood on behalf of Governor Rod Blagojevich (bla-GOY-a-vich).

What was odd was not the boilerplate about a "woman's right to choose" or the Bush administration, but the fact that the recorded spokeswoman for Blagojevich referred to him at least four times incorrectly as "bla-GOYD-a-vich." The message ended with a reference to things "here in Illinois." I tried *69 to find the origin of the call, but the supposed originating number was "000-000-0000."

Of one thing I'm reasonably certain: the spokeswoman was not from "here in Illinois."

Sadly, I wouldn't be so sure. Just as more people can name all three judges on American Idol than can name one Supreme Court Justice (or whatever the sad statistic of the week is), I don't find it hard to believe that (especially in down-state places like Belleville), the average Joe can't pronounce the governor's name. I'm not even sure the average Joe would necessarily KNOW the governor's name.

On the other hand, no one would mispronounce Konerko (or, in Belleville, Pujols).
3.16.2006 3:53pm
Stephen Butler (mail):
The Daily Illini (UIUC student newspaper) editorial on Tuesday ended with this:

How can students make sure that the University retains its high status and can continue to fund the type of education we expect? Vote. Tell your friends to vote. In the upcoming primaries, all registered Democrats must cast a vote against Blagojevich to save the worth of this school and the degrees it produces.

I was a bit surprised to read that strong of a statement. Apparently the Governor hasn't made many friends in higher education.
3.16.2006 3:58pm
James Lindgren (mail):

But remember, this was a recorded message in which no one around the person working on the recorded message knew how to pronounce his name either.

I'm still highly doubtful, but of course you might be right.
3.16.2006 4:00pm
You usually vote in the Democratic primary, eh?
3.16.2006 4:04pm
After re-reading my post, I realize I should clarify one thing. The "especially in down-state places like Belleville" comment was not meant to imply that people down-state have worse language skills that those in Chicago. Only that, given the city's ethnic make-up, people in Chicago are used to ethnic names like Blagojevich.

Of course, I did mean to imply that those from down-state have worse taste in baseball teams (as do those on the South Side of Chicago).
3.16.2006 4:05pm
James Lindgren (mail):

WB wrote:

You usually vote in the Democratic primary, eh?

Yeah, I usually vote Democratic at the state and local level, but (in the last decade at least) Republican at the national level. And my wife and I have donated money solely to Democrats (again all but once at the state level).

There really isn't a viable party for those of us who combine support for abortion, reasonable gun control, affirmative action, gay marriage, stem cell research, etc., with smaller government and a vigorous WOT.

Is there such an animal as a small-government Tony Blair (with his rhetorical skills)?

Jim Lindgren
3.16.2006 4:18pm
Anon1ms (mail):
Until reading this post, I probably would have pronounced the "j" in his name.

Learn something every day.
3.16.2006 4:18pm
James Lindgren (mail):
I would have had trouble pronouncing our governor's name before hearing it several times a week on TV (I still have trouble spelling it).
3.16.2006 4:22pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Seeing that "Cairo" is pronounced "Kay-ro," I wouldn't put a lot of meaning into a mispronunciation issuing from Illinois.

As long as the reaction to the mangled name is in the area of bemusement, rather than incomprehension, not much harm is done.

I'm still waiting for a job teaching TV anchors how to pronounce foreign names. There, it's worse than amusing.
3.16.2006 4:35pm
KenB (mail):
I probably would have pronounced the "j" in his name.

Technically, the "j" *is* pronounced in his name -- it just happens to be pronounced with a sound that English generally spells with a "y".
3.16.2006 4:51pm
Perhaps the call came from San Jose, IL, pronounced by its inhabitants "San Joe's"
3.16.2006 5:00pm
The River Temoc (mail):
That robo-calls and phone banks are usually done from out-of-state is hardly a secret on political campaigns, whether Democrat or Republican.
3.16.2006 5:16pm
"reasonable gun control"

You mean like the current Illinois law that makes me a felon if my FOID card expires, or if I don't have one and try to exercise my second amendment rights?

Laws that keep me from carrying a concealed weapon no matter how provably responsible a person I am?

Just askin'.
3.16.2006 5:30pm
btorrez (mail):
Thanks for the post. This same call actually woke me up about an hour ago as I tried to nap. In Illinois (many Chicagoans pronounce the "s" at the end), you cannot split your ticket in the primaries, thus, forcing guys like me to choose, in many cases, the lesser of two evils. Particulary given the dismal state of the Republican Party here. So I will be voting in the Democratic primary (despite my rightwing views) simply due to the fact, that the guy running against John Stroger in the D's primary probably has the best chance of unseating him.
3.16.2006 5:31pm
Star23 (mail):
Govenor Blagojevich is trying to push a bill to give parents a thousand dollar break for each student entering college toward their tuition. He is working to get a bill passed to have perschool programs available no matter what the income of the family. The program will take kids from age three to five before school because studies have shown that children that had teaching tools used in daycare and preschool do better. The statistics are much higher for kids to graduate.
3.16.2006 5:38pm
BillC (mail):

I have been getting automated political phone calls from Democratic candidates.

Ah... the "do not call" list.
3.16.2006 5:57pm
Robert Schwartz (mail):
I wouldn't know what the message on an automated call is. I slam the phone down so fast.
3.16.2006 5:59pm
Vincent, Paul (mail):
What percentage of education funding is governor Blagojevich advocating that the state contribute (especially in light of his desire to implement preschools)? I'll bet is isn't close to being 50%, and this is why some public school districts in IL are seriously underfunded yet others (perhaps a stone's throw away) have hugh wealth with facilities and programs reflecting this.
3.16.2006 6:07pm
Silicon Valley Jim:
Illinois (many Chicagoans pronounce the "s" at the end)

I lived within twenty miles of the corner of State and Madison for more than twenty years and never once heard anybody pronounce the "s" in Illinois. Perhaps things have changed since I left.

San Jose, IL, pronounced by its inhabitants "San Joe's"

Interestingly enough, some radio announcers here pronounce "San Jose" as if they were auditioning for parts in a Cheech and Chong routine. They appear to be serious about this.
3.16.2006 7:24pm
Marcus1 (mail) (www):
>Yeah, I usually vote Democratic at the state and local level, but (in the last decade at least) Republican at the national level.<

Like in Alaska, a lot of people will vote Democrat at the local level but never on the national level, since ANWR trumps all.

Not to open a can of worms, but I bet Democrats would fight a figorous WOT as well; they're simply forced to oppose the president. I was thinking the other day how this all would have run down if it had been a Democratic president all along, who had screwed things up this badly. I wonder if the Republican isolationist forces wouldn't now hold a lot more sway. I suspect the Republicans would have been much less supportive of a Democratic president.

It seems to me the Dems were the inevitable victims of being the opposition party at a time when America was attacked. Nor has Bush given them much to go along with...
3.16.2006 8:01pm
James Lindgren (mail):

I think the Chicago and DC general bans on guns are unconstitutional. That's not the reasonable regulation of guns.

Silicon Valley Jim,

Off and on, I have lived in Illinois for over 40 years, and I also have never heard Illinois pronounced with an "S" at the end, except by people who do NOT live in Illinois or except as a conscious joke.
3.16.2006 8:19pm
btorrez (mail):
Hey guys I was just kidding about the "s". Everyone knows that the only people who pronounce the "s" live south of I-80!!!!
3.16.2006 8:28pm

The FOID card violation felony is state wide. I was misled by a local police chief to believe it was a felony on the first offense. It is the second offense that moves it from misdemeanor to felony. I don't really see this as "reasonable", just slightly less unreasonable.

I don't need to apply to the state of Illinois to practice speech, religion, assembly, or press. But to legally own any firearm, I need a fee-based photo ID - which, coincidentally, is not accepted by any state agency as a valid photo ID.

I think you've just demonstrated what most people mean when they say "reasonable gun control". They mean that they are unaware of the existing laws, and the consequences, intended and unintended, of those laws, and mostly uninterested since they believe they are not in the affected group.
3.16.2006 11:33pm
James Lindgren (mail):

I did not comment on the FOID issue you raised one way or the other because (as you correctly surmised) I do not know the reach of the law.

It is just human nature to be more concerned about the constitutional limitations on our own behavior than on someone else's. I, for example, am disturbed that I must submit to a government sponsored system of censorship and get the permission of a censorship board before I can do research or publish (the "institutional review board" system).
3.17.2006 12:13am
S.A. Miller (mail) (www):
Ah... the "do not call" list.

The politicians exempted themselves. GOTV calls are not prohibited on the "Do Not Call" list
3.17.2006 3:54am
The River Temoc (mail):
The politicians exempted themselves. GOTV calls are not prohibited on the "Do Not Call" list.

This brings up an interesting point, though. Just how effective are robo-calls? For that matter, just how effective is phone-banking in general for campaigns?

They spend an awful lot of resources on it, but frankly, my instinct is that they're not getting very much bang for the buck. I'd certainly be prepared to be proven wrong, though.

Has anyone conducted real research on this question, or perhaps research from business academia on the effectiveness of telemarketing that would shed light on the question?
3.17.2006 5:27am
This was possibly the most boring post in the history of the VC. Why did you feel the need to share this morsel of tripe with us?
3.17.2006 7:25am
Brian Day (mail):

Because he can. And besides, some people actually find the post not boring.
3.17.2006 12:39pm
James Lindgren (mail):
The post speaks to the incompetence of hiring political advertising people who can't even pronounce the candidate's name.
3.17.2006 3:12pm
Was Illinois pronounced "il-uh-NIO-IS" or "il-uh-NIO-IZ"? (And of course you know that "DA bears" has 3 syllables, right?)

Guy stands on the L platform when a train comes in. The conductor gets off, and the guy asks, "Hey, duz dis train go to da loop?" Conductor replies, "No, buddy, it goes 'beep beep'."

(Hereby showing my age, which is before the conductors were all replaced by recorded announcements...)

cathy :-)
3.17.2006 3:21pm
gawaine (mail):
I know the DNC list doesn't apply to these calls - but aren't they still prohibited from using an autodialer without prior permission, or using any form of automated call without providing Caller Id information or a way to be removed from the list? (Actually bringing it back to a question for the lawyers)
3.17.2006 3:41pm