Less drama, same decorating errors

We opened the Obama office last night so I thought some of you who donate but don’t live in swing states might like to see where (part) of your money goes:

It goes to purchasing that delightful red fringe you see over the Obama/Biden sign in the photo. Have you noticed that the longer a group of people decorate something the worse it looks? I have noticed that. After the spangly fringe went up they started with the Christmas lights and I stopped taking pictures.

We rented a storefront on the town square last time. This time out the square is fully occupied, so we went west of town and we’re in a small strip between a convenience store and a pawnshop.

The ’08 volunteers are trickling back in, although the two hardest-working people this time are two women who didn’t volunteer in 2008. One is a single mother who was too busy to volunteer in ’08 (her son is older now than he was in ‘08, although still very cute) and the other is a recent retiree. They are both “team leaders”, two of four (total) in this county.

I missed election day last time with the ’08 volunteers (and I will miss it again this year) because I do the voter protection lawyer stuff on election day, where I go from polling place to polling place all day and end at the Board of Elections. The voter protection part of the campaign in Ohio is deliberately set apart from the GOTV part, and I was so isolated I was actually on the phone with the voter protection people who are 60 miles away (in the closest city) when they told me Fox had just called Ohio for Obama. Okay, then! I think we’re done! Anyway, it was fun to hear all the stories from the ’08 volunteers because the GOTV people here apparently knew that Ohio was in the bag hours ahead of me.

I’ve been working really closely with the OFA organizer this past week getting the office set up and I’ve noticed it’s a lot less stressful this year. In ’08 we actually had a lot of drama and blow-ups, despite what I was reading in political media about “no drama Obama.” The OFA “method” was new here and about half of our local people didn’t care for the ’08 organizer (the half that disliked him included me) and the whole thing seemed like an impossible amount of work. It got so bad they reassigned our organizer to the next county over and sent us two in his place

This time out we have an extremely calm organizer and he seems to be just plodding through the various “goals” as far as voter contact. It’s my understanding that they hope to be down to contacting about 1,000 “sporadic” voters in the last 4 days prior to election day for GOTV, and that is achievable here, in a low population rural county where the D/R split is 40/60. I imagine GOTV is much more difficult in Dem-leaning counties with urban centers.






48 replies
  1. 1
    Cassidy says:

    After the spangly fringe went up they started with the Christmas lights and I stopped taking pictures.

    Definitely a top 5 line.

  2. 2

    Yay Kay! Like you I’m doing the lawyers as voter protection staff gig again this year. It will be interesting to see whether it’s a different vibe at a different location. I was assigned to a hugely democratic leaning polling place and we had many attempts to steer to provisional ballots. Most were preventable and prevented. And the vp folks were very communicative, though our phones would not get a signal inside the location, so we had to go outside to check texts and get/make calls.

  3. 3
    c u n d gulag says:

    When I lived in NC in 2008, I helped the Obama campaign in my off hours from work.
    It was a toss-up state – AND WE WON!!!

    Now, I live in NY (sadly, unemployed) a safe Democratic state – so, instead of volunteering for the Obama campaign, I’m starting to help Sean Patrick Maloney defeat that odious Teabagging twit Nan Hayworth(less).

  4. 4
    c u n d gulag says:

    When I lived in NC in 2008, I helped the Obama campaign in my off hours from work.
    It was a toss-up state – AND WE WON!

    Now, I live in NY (sadly, unemployed) a safe Democratic state – so, instead of volunteering for the Obama campaign, I’m starting to help Sean Patrick Maloney defeat that odious Teabagging twit Nan Hayworth(less).

  5. 5
    Violet says:

    After the spangly fringe went up they started with the Christmas lights and I stopped taking pictures.

    Hilarious. Thanks for the updates, Kay. Love hearing about what’s happening in Ohio. I live in a red state and my entire voting life have felt like my vote is irrelevant in Presidential elections. It’s fascinating to see what happens in a swing state.

  6. 6
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    We rented a storefront on the town square last time. This time out the square is fully occupied, so we went west of town and we’re in a small strip between a convenience store and a pawnshop.

    It’s little things like that that show an economy not dead. People notice that stuff.

  7. 7
    chopper says:

    her son is older now than he was in ‘08

    U DON’T SAY?

  8. 8
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Kay,

    Kudos for your hard work! Hopefully, Ohio will remain in the Obama column since the polls look good now.

  9. 9
    Kay says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    We don’t have any Democratic lawyers, so I have to do voter protection. It’s a little lonely here, the voter protection job. They gave me a helper from out of town who was a former prosecutor and he was dour and uncommunicative.

    I would actually prefer GOTV, because it reminds me of delivering mail. Same typa thing :)

  10. 10
    Kay says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    I really like the guy who rented to us last time so I was glad he had an occupant with a two year lease when I went back to him this time.

  11. 11
    kd bart says:

    I was led to believe by Fox News that it went toward Free Crack Fridays.

  12. 12
    Valdivia says:

    Thank you Kay. I was thinking about you yesterday when i read a WaPo article saying that the outside conservative groups that will do GOTV are super sophisticated and will do better than the Obama machine. Worth your time to read it. To me it seemed like spin and a way of excusing Romney from not having a ground game of his own. Also lots of fluff with zero data.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....story.html

  13. 13
    Mark S. says:

    I love the smell of fop sweat in the morning:

    Two new national polls are out this morning. Both show 7 point spreads for President Obama, though one of the two, the Reason poll, concluded on the 17th.

    An old seasoned pro like Willard can turn this around, though.

  14. 14
    ellie says:

    I did GOTV in Toledo in ’08 and it was non-stop for weeks before election day. On election day, I was out knocking on doors all day by myself (the person who I was paired up with flaked out on me an hour after we started) in this ridiculously large area. It was very rewarding though. It was about 80 degrees and sunny on election day in ’08 and I felt like I was part of something historic.

  15. 15
    Kay says:

    @Valdivia:

    Thanks. I think it’s true that they had a really good organization in 2004, but this is a little suspect:

    In Ohio, the evangelical group behind a successful anti-same-sex-marriage amendment that helped mobilize conservative voters in 2004 says it has a network of 10,000 churches and a database of millions of rural voters who will be targeted with in-person visits and voter guides.

    It’s really difficult to reach people after 8 years have gone by, but on the other hand it makes sense that they would try to replicate Obama ’08, so I’m sure they’re trying. The 2012 version of Obama 08 is better, as far as voter contact. They’re better at it, which is why we have less angst and frantic uselessness. I would go scope out the GOP HQ for you-all but they will spot me immediately :)

    I WAS thinking about going to see Romney in Toledo next week. Not going in, but waiting on line listening to people. I’m curious about the whole Romney bus thing, and I think we were misled on how much money he has. I’m a little pissed about the money. Are they just reprinting emails they get from Karl Rove? Why are all these questions about the (alleged) Romney money advantage just coming to light?

  16. 16
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    Springfield poll worker:”Stopping all americans from voting is for the protection of all Americans!” Also: Homer expects the leader of the free world to go commando.

  17. 17
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Violet:

    I live in a red state and my entire voting life have felt like my vote is irrelevant in Presidential elections.

    While electoral votes decide the election, popular votes will help Obama govern. Your vote is not lost. It helps build up a mandate from the people.

  18. 18
    Mark S. says:

    @TheMightyTrowel:

    I haven’t watched the Simpsons in years but that was pretty damn funny.

  19. 19
    Kay says:

    @Valdivia:

    It’s also “millions that they will be contacting” and it’s September 20th. Early voting starts in Ohio on October 2nd. When are they going to contact “millions” of voters? Next week?

  20. 20
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @ellie: #14

    I felt like I was part of something historic.

    You were. And we did it. [proud grin]

  21. 21
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    Kay @ Top:

    Have you noticed that the longer a group of people decorate something the worse it looks? I have noticed that. After the spangly fringe went up they started with the Christmas lights and I stopped taking pictures.

    Unless it’s the holiday season, Christmas lights are always a faux pas — everyone knows that you should use paper lanterns the rest of the year, to give it that respite from an Asian land war feel.

    Some people think paper lanterns set a festive Caribbean tone, but that’s only because they haven’t seen enough Vietnam War movies.

    .

  22. 22
    Randy P says:

    @Mark S.: Did you mean flop sweat? Cause fop sweat works rather well for Willard.

  23. 23
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    ellie:

    It was about 80 degrees and sunny on election day in ‘08 and I felt like I was part of something historic.

    By historic, do you mean the election or the 80 degrees in November global warming signifier?

    .

  24. 24
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Kay: #15

    A network of 10,000 churches in Ohio seems a bit much.

    It’s hard to find out how many churches there are in Ohio but this estimate by a group of Southern Baptists in 2011 puts the number at about 20,000 for the whole state.

    http://www.scbo.org/content/ch.....rches-ohio

  25. 25
    johnny driftless zone says:

    This time out the square is fully occupied

    There ya go! Proof right there the wingnuts are wrong that we’re not better off now than we were 4 years ago. : )

  26. 26
    Kay says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Right, and they’re talking about Catholic and evangelical churches, or that was the anti-same sex marriage coalition who dragged Bush over the finish line in ’04, anyway.

    I don’t believe it because I can’t quantify or prove it, but religious Republicans here LOVED Bush, with something close to hero worship. I don’t think they love Governor Romney. They loathe Obama, sure, but hate is different than love. They were absolutely nuts over Bush. They thought he was fighting The Great War of the Religions, verus Muslims.

  27. 27
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Only a bit OT:

    Apparently, Paul Ryan is supposed to talk to an AARP summit in New Orleans today.

    That makes me happy just thinking about it.

  28. 28
    Violet says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Oh, it doesn’t stop me from voting. I’m a very dependable voter. But living in a solidly red or blue state is just very different in terms of the election experience than for those living in a swing state. We get no campaign commercials. Back in the dark ages before the internet, late night comedians would joke about specific campaign commercials and I had never seen any of them, nor would I have any way to see them. It was like an anthropology exercise: “If Letterman is joking about this, then it must mean the commercial said that.”

    I remember one year I visited a swing state in October and was shocked at the campaign commercials on the TV. It was overwhelming how many they had. In my state…zero, except for a few local elections.

  29. 29
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Never trust a Southern Baptist with numbers – I should know, I were one.

  30. 30
    Kay says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    I have to work, and I’m glad, because the asshole is pushing the death panel lie. “Rationing”. They got nothing, so they’re going to claim Nancy Pelosi and Obama set out to kill old people. I cannot listen to that again.

  31. 31
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @Mark S.: I watched it 3 times over. It made me snort.

    “He has six wives! All named Ann!”

  32. 32
    Zagloba says:

    @Randy P: Did you mean flop sweat? Cause fop sweat works rather well for Willard.

    I dunno, I think you need a bowtie to qualify for “fop”.

  33. 33
    Violet says:

    From the article Valdivia linked.

    Wisconsin Family Action, another social conservative organization in the state, is sending voter guides and DVDs to its network of 3,000 churches, said Julaine Appling, the group’s president.
    __
    “Here in Wisconsin, we’ve become pretty well-schooled in ground games,” she said.

    I’d guess this is true after the Walker recall fight. Both sides probably bulked up their lists and got an early reminder of how to GOTV.

  34. 34
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Kay: Yes they are, did you see this Ann Kornblut piece about both sides do it, Obama is worse than Romney because he does fund raising dinners with JayZ and Beyonce for $50,000 a plate and not $40,000 gasp with more people than were at the Romney dinner

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....story.html

  35. 35
    MikeJ says:

    New Fox News poll has Obama up 3 in NC and Ladbrokes has shortened the odds on Obama yet again. He’s down to 1/4 now. A £10 bet wins you £2.50.

  36. 36
    MomSense says:

    @Kay
    I was GOTV team leader in our Maine office in ’08 and I was told that I would get a call by a certain time if they needed us to start calling Ohio. The call never came! So I knew too and I was in another state!

    BTW, my Mom is from Akron and has been spending a lot of time there. She now lives in Maine and came home from a visit with all sorts of campaign swag and a jealousy inducing story about visiting with Martin Sheen and Sen. Sherrod Brown. She is an awesome phone banker though so she definitely earned it. Even though we will miss her here, she is going back to Ohio to make sure it is beautiful blue!

  37. 37
    Anya says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: That’s funny. Is this a new episode or they just made that election clip?

  38. 38
    Violet says:

    @Kay: I’d love it if you went and hung out at a Romney event, just to listen to people and maybe even take a few discreet photos of folks waiting to get in. Would love to hear what people are saying. A couple of conversation starters, like:
    “I sure wish Paul Ryan was here too.”
    “That 47% comment isn’t helping him in my area.”
    “I wonder if Santorum would be doing better in the polls?”
    might deliver some fascinating insights.

  39. 39
    GregB says:

    Today the combined Obama campaign is holding 6 events including Joe and Dr. Jill, Michelle and President Obama.

    The Romney/Ryan Rolling Clusterfuck Tour has 2.

    The Democratic base is getting more and more enthused and the GOP is getting more and more despondent.

  40. 40
    JPL says:

    @Linda Featheringill: TPM has a portion of his prepared speech. Remove all breakable items before reading it though.

  41. 41
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Violet: I guess with all that talk of the popular vote and “mandates” your vote isn’t irrelevant at all… unless your local officials are cold making up vote tallies, Wisconsin Republican style.

  42. 42
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Oops the article I linked to is not written by Kornblut, my bad.

  43. 43
    slag says:

    Thanks for this update, Kay. I ran into some Obama GOTVers yesterday at the community center and they did a decent job registering folks. They didn’t beat the bushes as I would have, but they did a decent job. And seeing them and reading about your experiences serves as yet another reminder that I need to get me and mine out there working.

    Everything feels so late this year, though. In 2008, we were out registering people en masse before the fourth of July…and here it is early September! I hope this more relaxed state of affairs is, as you imply, a sign of better organization and not of Democratic ennui.

  44. 44
    Origuy says:

    After the spangly fringe went up they started with the Christmas lights and I stopped taking pictures.

    Ya think some people miss the days of decorating the gym for the dance?

  45. 45
    👽 Martin says:

    Have you noticed that the longer a group of people decorate something the worse it looks?

    More universally true than gravity.

  46. 46
    Valdivia says:

    @Kay:

    sorry I only reply now, I got totally waylaid! This was my issue with the piece: they are starting this now? That’s not sophisticated that is way way late.

    I hope you go scope out Romney next week, he has turned out to be a terrible manager, but maybe that is not a bug but a feature with the Republicans these days.

  47. 47
    julie says:

    @slag: we started calling our people in the Spring and have been registering voters since early summer. you should join us.

  48. 48

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