Forgery is a crime. Fountain pens can be used to sign other people’s names. Outlawing the use of fountain pens is not a sensible response to the forgery problem.
Making harassing telephone calls ought to be a crime. Deceiving voters about the source of campaign communications, for example with “false flag” materials that purport to come from your opponent, also ought to be a crime. Robo-calls can be used to harass and deceive. But outlawing robo-calling is not a sensible response to the problem of harassing false-flag calls.
What appears to have been a nationally coordinated and somewhat successful multimillion-dollar Republican effort to harass voters with robo-calls that seemingly came from Democratic Congressional candidates in swing districts ought to be thoroughly investigated, and the perpetrators jailed if some law can be stretched to cover their truly disgusting activity. For good measure, “false-flag” and harassing campaign telephone calls ought to be explicitly made federal crimes. Barack Obama has proposed such a law. But robo-calling itself, while undoubtedly annoying, is also highly useful as a way of conveying political information and encouraging people to vote.
“Robo-call” was the blog shorthand (and the journalistic shorthand for the tiny number of newspapers that bothered to cover it at all) for this fall’s display of tele-thuggery. It would be a mistake to embody that shorthand in legislation.