Spamming For Sachs

by The New Republic Staff | December 12, 2006

by David Greenberg

The other day I got a very peculiar piece of spam in my email inbox. It came from a group calling itself "Sachs for President," which is seeking to "draft" the distinguished Columbia economist Jeffrey Sachs for president. Yes, of the United States. Apparently a few other bloggers, such as George Mason economist Alex Tabarrok, had received and noted such emails back in August. But somehow the Sachs boomlet had eluded my notice till now. I realize I'm probably doing this group's bidding by publicizing this email. But I should say that the email was extremely off-putting. First, its creator is concealing his or her identity--both in the email and on the website. A page called "Who We Are" includes no proper names. This deception isn't a good way for anyone to start a presidential campaign. One's first thought is that the group must be Prof. Sachs's own creation. Then again, the site refers to him as "Dr. Sachs," and most professors (physicians and psychologists excepted) pointedly eschew the honorific "Dr." in favor of the less pretentious "Prof."--although it's conceivable that this is a deliberate effort to make the website's creator seem like someone unfamiliar with the ways of the academy. It also seems unlikely that a scholar of Sachs's caliber would engage in this kind of a stunt. And the email does state, "The organization maintains no affiliation with Professor Sachs." If these people really do admire Sachs--about whom there is much to admire--perhaps they should stop sending out spam that can only embarrass him and sully his good name.

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