Ohio Countdown 2004

2004 Presidential battleground analyzed by a grizzled campaign veteran and Ohio's Top Targeted Undecided Perfectly Predictive Swing Voter - His Mom.


How To Lose Ohio For Kerry - Way No. 847

Ohio Democrats have found many new and exciting ways to lose statewide elections in the past decade. Here's my personal favorite.

Election day, 2000, about 2 p.m. Despite the Gore campaign having written the state off 10 days out, everyone knew it was close and getting closer. I was dragging a group of seven volunteers into the most important Democratic congressional district in Ohio, Stephanie Tubbs Jones’ 11th Congressional District, to help knock on doors and get out votes in the heavily African American east side of Cleveland.

Parking our cars, we marched to the front door of the lead campaign office on Euclid Avenue, prepared to do whatever anyone asked us to do…but quite unprepared for the sight which greeted us.

The office was completely empty. No tables, no chairs, no phones. No boxes of literature, not a single doorhanger, sign, button, leaflet…nothing. Some guy was carrying a computer out the back door to a U Haul truck.

I walked back outside, checked the address on the front door…this was the place, alright. “Wait here a second,” I told my befuddled friends.

I charged right back in. “What the hell is going on here,” I said to the guy with the computer.

“Ask her,” he said, pointing at the campaign staffer in the corner, Betty Pinkney, the Congresswoman’s handpicked coordinator, who was standing next to a bank of charging mobile phones that were not in use, directing the movers.

“Betty,” I shouted, charging toward her, “I’ve got seven people here ready to go to work.”

She looked at me like I was some kind of insane person. I continued in futility. “What do you want them to do?”

“You’re too late,” she said insistently.

“Too late?”

“We’re movin’ out.”

I paused and squnited. “What?”

“Lease is up…we’re moving out.”

“You must be joking,” I said. This was a new low.

“Nope,” Betty replied. “We’re done here.”

“It’s two o’clock!” I shouted. “The polls are open for another five hours!”

“You see that U Haul truck?” Betty finished. “This office is closed.”

And that was that.

Ohio is a tough state to win for Democrats. For John Kerry in 2004, a lot of things need to go right, a lot of breaks need to break his way, and a lot of activity needs to be executed with total perfection.

If the main campaign office in the most heavily Democratic congressional district in Ohio makes its top priority on election day packing up the damn U Haul truck, that means that very little has gone right, a lot of activity was poorly executed, and that George W. Bush will be President of the United States for another four years. It’s that simple.

Democrats in Ohio have not been known to learn from such mistakes, but rather, repeat them regularly. Early signs in 2004 don't look good.

If I were John Kerry, I’d plan to make a call to that office in Cleveland this November 2, about 2 pm…just to be sure.


At 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember that campaign well. I worked at the Kucinich-Gore (yes, Kucinich-Gore - financed almost entirely by Dennis) coordinated campaign headquarters on the west side. Dennis paid to have a bank of phones installed so volunteers could make phone calls for Gore; had picture postcards of Al Gore and him printed and mailed out to all his constituents (these were cards of Kucinich endorsing Gore); called in the union people and had them put up yard signs for him, Gore, and other candidates. I do believe Gore did very well in Dennis' district.

Stephanie Tubbs Jones' District: We had to send volunteers and materials to Jones' district, as they had no real volunteer base, no one to man phone banks (don't know if they even had a phone bank) no yard signs and no one to put up yard signs if they had any. It was as if there were no campaign happening. My guess was that Stephanie was out trying to find some more colorful clothes so she would be more visibe when the TV cameras went on in Washington.

When I found out about the position she was given in the Kerry campaign, I was dumbstruck. Does such a self-serving individual have the capacity to actually take time away from preening and focus on helping someone else succeed? For the sake of Ohio and this election-of-a-lifetime, I certainly hope and pray so.


Post a Comment

<< Home

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from freestats.com