It’s an old Socialist trick. Take mightily from the masses in complex ways they don’t understand and give back a pittance in something tangible and you will gain their trust even as you are depriving them of their prosperity. Eva Peron was a master, or should we say mistress of the technique. She would hand out actual peso notes at times when she mingled with the public. Eva and her husband devastated their once prosperous nation yet the people referred to her affectionately as Evita when she reined and today she is honored with her image on the currency. Fidel Castro, as I remember it, gave a rice cooker to every household. Apparently today’s pittance du jour is a telephone.
Republicans don’t get totally off the hook this time. While the Democrats are spending our tax money buying votes with free telephones, Republicans in Florida were playing ACORN with voter registrations. The RNC in Florida hired an outside firm to canvas neighborhoods and register voters. It must have been piece work because they registered some dead people and perhaps a dog or two. At least the Republicans had the decency not to do it with some of the Democrats money and they promptly fired the firm and ended the program.