Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
After decades of broken politics in Washington, eight years of failed policies from George Bush, and twenty-one months of a campaign that has taken us from the rocky coast of Maine to the sunshine of California, we are one week away from change in America.
In one week, you can turn the page on policies that have put the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street before the hard work and sacrifice of folks on Main Street.
In one week, you can choose policies that invest in our middle-class, create new jobs, and grow this economy from the bottom-up so that everyone has a chance to succeed; from the CEO to the secretary and the janitor; from the factory owner to the men and women who work on its floor.
In one week, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election; that tries to pit region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat; that asks us to fear at a time when we need hope.
In one week, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Upon arriving at the Hamilton County Board of Elections in Cincinnati to vote early today I happened upon some friends of my mothers - 3 small, elderly Jewish women. They were quite upset as they were being refused admitance to the polling location due to their Obama T-Shirts, hats and buttons. Apparently you cannot wear Obama/McCain gear into polling locations here in Ohio.... They were practically on the verge of tears.
After a minute or two of this a huge man (6'5", 300 lbs easy) wearing a Dale Earnhardt jacket and Bengal's baseball cap left the voting line, came up to us and introduced himself as Mike. He told us he had overheard our conversation and asked if the ladies would like to borrow his jacket to put over their t-shirts so they could go in and vote. The ladies quickly agreed. As long as I live I will never forget the image of these eighty plus year old Jewish ladies walking into the polling location wearing a huge Dale Earnhardt racing jacket that came over their hands and down to their knees!
Mike, patiently waited for each woman to cast thier vote, accepted thier many thanks and then got back in line (I saved him a place while he was helping out the ladies). When Mike got back in line I asked him if he was an Obama supporter. He said that he was not, but that he couldn't stand to see those ladies so upset. I thanked him for being a gentleman in a time of bitter partisanship and wished him well.
After I voted I walked out to the street to find my mother's friends surrouding our new friend Mike - they were laughing and having a great time. I joined them and soon learned that Mike had changed his mind in the polling booth and ended up voting for Obama. When I asked him why he changed his mind at the last minute, he explained that while he was waiting for his jacket he got into a conversation with one of the ladies who had explained how the Jewish community, and she, had worked side by side with the black community during the civil rights movements of the 60's, and that this vote was the culmination of those personal and community efforts so many years ago. That this election for her was more than just a vote...but a chance at history.
Mike looked at me and said, "Obama's going to win and I didn't want to tell my grandchildren some day that I had an opportunity to vote for the first black president, but I missed my chance at history and voted for the other guy."
Monday, October 20, 2008
1 free rolfing session with
Yesterday, on "Meet the Press", Colin Powell alluded to a photo that appeared in the The New Yorker , essentially saying he doesn't want to be associated with a party where some would oppose Obama because they wrongly believe he's a Muslim and that would oppose him for such a reason in the first place:
I'm also troubled by, not what Sen. McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, "He's a Muslim,and he might be associated with terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America.
I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards — Purple Heart, Bronze Star — showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I'm troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Nearly 40% of the folks who RSVP'd for shifts did not show. When I contacted some of the no-shows telling them we missed their involvement, the response was universal and surprising.
Everyone thinks Obama has this in the bag. They've given enough already, they say, he doesn't need our help.
Nothing can be further from the truth.
Early voting has begun all over the country. Millions of people are turning out now to make their voices heard. But unprecedented voter turnout brings with it unprecedented voter suppression. The Republicans are using legal challenges, home foreclosure lists, robo-calls, and voter intimidation to discourage people from voting. Our campaign offices in swing states have been shut down because of bomb-threats and suspicious white powder found in mailed envelopes. Our volunteer canvassers have been physically attacked.
It's going to get worse before it gets better. The McCain/Palin campaign is doing everything possible to delegitimize this election, hoping to stir up another 2000. The only way we can combat this is for Obama not just to win, but to win by an overwhelming majority. The Senator said it best in a conference call with our California volunteers earlier this week,
"Never before and probably never again will you be in a place with this much influence on making of history."
We cannot wake up Nov 5th with a McCain/Palin presidency, or with an Obama/Biden administration hobbled by endless Republican challenges to the very fabric of our democracy. We cannot stumble as we come to the end of this marathon. We've come too far, worked too hard to give up now.
We must finish well. We must finish strong.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
“Never before and probably never again will you be in a place with this much influence on making of history.”
Sen. Obama said he was extremely grateful and enormously impressed by everything we are doing. He had this message for us:
“Thank you. I am extremely proud of all you are doing. You are making a huge difference. You are the best political campaign staff in history of American democracy."
“Never before and probably never again will you be in a place with this much influence on making of history.”
The senior Obama campaign team explained that the contributions of Californians are absolutely essential to their efforts in several battleground states -- those contests cannot be won without us.
Sen. Obama and Plouffe both warned of over-confidence. Noting that the 18 days left in the campaign is a political campaign, Plouffe told Mary Jane and others on the call of another 18-period in the campaign, during which Obama won Iowa, lost New Hampshire, tied in Nevada, and was seeing the first drafts of his political obituaries being drafted.
Sen. Obama urged us all to keep working, even harder, and to recruit more people into this campaign. "We have come too close," he said. "We cannot fall short."
Keep up the good work. Let's kick butt this weekend.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
John McCain’s campaign is pretty much a shambles right now.
If you don’t believe me, just listen to John McCain. His chief goal these days is calming down his crowds, not firing them up.
And that is an honorable thing to do. It may not be a winning thing to do.
But it is honorable.
Sarah Palin, once seen as a huge plus to the ticket, is now increasingly emerging as a liability.
Forget that an independent legislative panel found Friday that she had abused her power and violated ethics laws as governor of Alaska. Forget that with the possibility of Palin being a heartbeat away from the presidency, McCain gives up the argument that his ticket represents experience and a steady hand on the tiller.
The real problem for McCain is that Palin is running a separate — and scary — campaign that does not seem to be under anybody’s con
She storms around the country saying: “Our opponent ... is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”
She also says: “This is not a man who sees America as you see America and as I see America.”
Get the drift? Obama is not only different, not only an alien incapable of loving his country, he is an actual friend of terrorists who would attack America............
........Her attacks certainly appeal to some. Cries of “traitor” and “terrorist” and “off with his head” are heard at Republican rallies when Obama’s name is mentioned.
And Palin is not the only one who is fear-mongering. Karen Tumulty of Time magazine was invited by the McCain campaign to visit its operations in Virginia on Saturday. So Tumulty was there when Virginia Republican Party Chairman Jeffrey M. Frederick “climbed atop a folding chair to give 30 campaign volunteers who were about to go canvassing door to door their talking points — for instance, the connection between Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden.”
“Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon,” Frederick said. “That is scary.”
At Tumulty points out, “It is also not exactly true — though that distorted reference to Obama’s controversial association with William Ayers, a former ’60s radical, was enough to get the volunteers stoked. ‘And he won’t salute the flag,’ one woman added, repeating another myth about Obama. She was quickly topped by a man who called out, ‘We don’t even know where Sen. Obama was really born.’ Actually, we do; it’s Hawaii.”
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Inside the Obama campaign, almost without anyone noticing, an insurgent generation of organizers has built the Progressive movement a brand new and potentially durable people's organization, in a dozen states, rooted at the neighborhood level.
The "New Organizers" have succeeded in building what many netroots-oriented campaigners have been dreaming about for a decade. Other recent attempts have failed because they were either so "top-down" and/or poorly-managed that they choked volunteer leadership and enthusiasm; or because they were so dogmatically fixated on pure peer-to-peer or "bottom-up" organizing that they rejected basic management, accountability and planning. The architects and builders of the Obama field campaign, on the other hand, have undogmatically mixed timeless traditions and discipline of good organizing with new technologies of decentralization and self-organization.
Win or lose, "The New Organizers" have already transformed thousands of communities—and revolutionized the way organizing itself will be understood and practiced for at least the next generation.
Read the rest here. It's amazing.........
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
From Blogger Interrupted:
My camera was rolling for literally seconds before people happily said to me, on camera, that Barack Obama is a terrorist. If I hadn’t spent most of my time at the event inside, waiting for the candidates to show up, I could have gotten dozens of these people on tape.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
To all Californian Kossacks preparing for a canvassing trip to the Silver State:
First off, welcome to Nevada! Don't worry, it's not as exotic as you think; many of us came here from California. Think of Las Vegas as what the Inland Empire would look like if you could build casinos everywhere.
And those folks you'll be meeting over the next days and weeks are a lot like those you'll find in the Inland Empire in another respect -- they're looking straight into an economic abyss. They're scared shitless right now.
It is difficult to overstate the severity of Nevada's economic meltdown.
And that makes this fertile ground for a message built on hope.
To understand why Nevadans are shaken so badly, you must first understand a bit about Nevada's history.
Nevada's economy is powered by two engines -- casinos and construction. (Mining is also prominent, but confined to rural Nevada.)
These industries offered a unique proposition -- jobs that offered relatively attractive wages and benefits, but demanded little in educational background or experience. They were also seen as recession-proof industries, as Nevada had weathered previous downturns with little difficulty.
So Nevada became defined by its boomtowns. Hundreds of thousands flooded the state in search of opportunity, and often found it. Opportunity came on every street corner, it seemed.
That has changed.
Nevada's economy is moving into freefall. On Thursday, a panel of state economists projected that Nevada's unemployment rate (now at 7.1%) would reach 8.6% in 2009 -- and stay at that level into 2010.
These numbers would be sobering enough in a "Rust Belt" state used to economic dips and swings. But Nevada is a state where, just two years ago, unemployment stood at 4.2% -- and that led the nation in job creation.
To use an old cliche, this wasn't supposed to happen here.
When facing such a situation, the natural instinct is to flee -- to seek out opportunity elsewhere. But this state, which proved so attractive and inviting a few years ago, is proving damnably hard to escape for many.
Nowhere did the housing bubble reach such epic proportions as the Las Vegas Valley. And nowhere has it crashed harder or faster than this state -- Las Vegas home prices fell 29.9% year-over-year in July, worst of the 20 cities tracked by the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.
I'll give you an example of how that translates into the world of a typical resident (yours truly).
Five years ago I purchased my first house in the Las Vegas suburbs. Older house... certainly nothing spectacular.
Two years later I was $150,000 richer -- on paper.
Today I'm back where I started.
And that makes me one of the lucky ones.
The guy who bought next door, two years after I did? Seventy thousand in the hole.
The friend who sought a more affordable option in a older neighborhood three years ago? Down $50,000.
The friends who live across town in a newer neighborhood? Down $100,000.
You get the idea. Fleeing isn't an option with a underwater mortgage hanging around your neck.
Now, the situation is quite similar in California. But the Nevadan mindset is quite different from the Californian, with a deep-rooted suspicion and distrust of government in any form. Anti-tax populism runs strongly here.
I once thought that nothing short of economic catastrophe would shake that mindset. But it appears Nevada has finally reached that point.
Today Nevadans are learning that not paying a state income tax is of little use if you don't have an income.
The tide appears to be turning.
Today Rasmussen issued a poll putting Obama up four points in Nevada (51-47). Within that sample, 62% of Nevadans said the economy was in poor shape; 82% expected it to worsen.
Is that poll an outlier? Nope. Of the four Nevada polls released in the last few days, three gave Obama a lead (the exception coming from the notorious ARG).
Pollster's current estimate: Obama by +0.3%.
In Nevada, it really is all about the economy.
We're a state accustomed to riding a hot streak. That's now come to a crashing end -- and we're scared. And we're trapped.
Nevadans want to hear how we're going to get the economy moving again. How will we create jobs? How will we assist the middle class?
We need hope.
As you knock on each door, expect fear and despair.
Ask each Nevadan you meet -- are you better off now than you were four years ago? Eight years ago?
And give them a reason to hope for better days ahead.
Our five electoral votes aren't much... but they're there for the taking.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
"We're going to be able to look back and say that 2008 was the year the tide began to turn against right-wing hate machine..."
This is AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka talking about racism and voting for Obama. It's about unions and why the unions support Obama and why we cannot give up the fight for worker's rights and Obama and why we should fight against racism. This guy is an excellent speaker and when he hits the fever pitch in the last minute and a half I was both reduced to tears and feeling like I should be back out canvassing despite it being close to 10pm at night.