Friday, August 29, 2008

No Downtime

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Last night, Barack Obama made a speech that changed history forever. He was the first African-American to accept the nomination of a major party to lead our country. I've already read all the morning papers (I often disagree with their slant, but they are the ones we use to explain what really happened) and the pundits are already talking about the implications of the speech on the General Election.

I know from reading yesterday's DCW poll results that about 65% of you watched from home. I watched from an event. I had watched the rest of the convention from home, happily ensconced on my sofa with my TV, my laptop, and my dog. From the moment the gavel came down on the first day, it was close to perfection the vast majority of the time.

Last night, we had a catering hall, an incredible spread of food, a cash bar, and a huge group of cheering people. It was so very different in tone. And a moment about the food - if you've ever worked campaigns, you know you always need more money. So in an effort to keep money for the things you really need (cell phones, postage, printing costs, etc.) you ask people to bring "a snack to share" to events. Often, over the years, what you end up with is a veggie tray and 50 bags of potato chips. It is a testament to the enthusiasm of the volunteers (and yes, one of the reasons we hold events is not only to share them, but to encourage people to donate time) that last night, instead, it looked like the event had actually been catered. Fancy cheeses and dips, hot foods, and pastries. Despite the fact that the bartender had been hired, when we went to tip him, he asked that the $50 stay with the campaign. Even the small things about this campaign are transformational.

When Invesco roared, so did we: up on our feet, clapping and cheering. And after, we all said "and now it begins": the real work, the campaign, the race to the finish.

For my part, I'm running two voter registration drives this weekend. Others of my group are running canvasses and phone banks. I hope that you, too, will use this weekend to get out, take your enthusiam, and help solidify the people we need to put Obama over the top November 4th.

We are now also on to the Republican conventions: yup, two of them. I have an interview scheduled with a Ron Paul person tomorrow, to help us all understand what they are standing up for, what made them splinter from the Republican Party, and what to watch for at the Rally for the Republic. For while we're running OUR race, understanding the other side provides powerful knowledge.

Today, McCain will announce his veep choice. Ambinder says one source told him Romeny is in Dayton, another source said it wasn't true. Pawlenty is still home, but it's a quick hop from MSP to Dayton. I'm really hoping it's Lieberman, but I'm an optimist. A surprise pick of a woman? I heard Kay Baily Hutchison on MSNBC say she doesn't want it. Plus there is that 1996 indictment. Sarah Palin? Under investigation. Carly Fiorino? The Compaq-HP SEC problem. Meg Whitford? e-bay. I know that everyone says that Condi Rice isn't under consideration, but on a personal note, to every racist that I have canvassed, polled, and chatted with this year I sooooo want them to have to have that sort of choice.

No matter who McCain picks, it's anti-climactic. Because last night the world changed forever, and in certain ways McCain is running the past against the future. I'll give John one thing, the ad he ran yesterday was brilliant.

The first remarkable thing the McCain campaign has done. It's unlikely they will be able to stay on that plane.

So as we move forwards, I ask you this. You, dear reader, who hangs on the polls, and has opinions to share, I ask you to please stand up. What Senator Obama said last night is true: this isn't about him, it's about us. Our willingness to stand up for change, to work for it, to own it, to participate in it.

At least once a day, I say "Elections are won one voter at a time." And the rest of the paragraph is "Give me one hour a week from now to November, and you'll get me two voters. And if they give an hour a week....." you know the rest.

For while the nomination is historic, and the campaign is historic, we can only imagine what it would mean to truly implement the recovery of our country. Sure, you're tired, you're busy, you have other things to do. Do this anyway. The outcome of the election, and the fate of the world, depends on what we each do as individuals.