Sunday, October 12, 2008

Greetings from Pennsylvania

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

When the McShame Train abandoned Michigan, everyone said “yea!” let’s see where else the campaign gives up. Not me, I knew they were coming here.

I live in PA by choice. I’ve lived in 7 other states and 1 foreign country. When I came here over 20 years ago, I was told that what made Pennsylvania different was that 7 of 8 of the people who were born here, died here. I thought, maybe there is something special here.

The CW is that McCain is making a stand here because he believes he can pick up the Clinton voters throughout the state. Politico says:

For McCain, it means courting the politically competitive but historically Republican suburbs ringing Philadelphia, as well as the industrial and rural parts of the state that carried Hillary Clinton to a 9-point victory over Obama in the Democratic primary in April. The McCain campaign believes it can sway voters in those areas by emphasizing a socially conservative message and branding Obama an elitist liberal with shady past associates.
On the front page of this morning's Philadelphia Inquirer, there was a long article about how although Obama has a large lead, many state GOP leaders believe that won’t hold on November 4th, once people actually enter the voting booths.

Now I know that the McShame Train arrived. They hold rallies, they tie up traffic, Spunky dropped a puck, there are lawn signs, but most of all, I know this because I get at least one robocall from the McShame campaign every day, one day I received three. They’ve got to have the same lists that we do, where voters are listed by party affiliation, age, and whether they’re a “Super Voter” – they are obviously calling the Democratic women over, um, I’m going with “40”, in hopes that they are Clinton voters and will move over.

While I never believe in complacency, nor ceasing election work until the final vote is counted, I am heartened by the voter registration numbers. These are from last Monday, and therefore don’t include the final arrivals at the County offices on Monday, nor the mail in registrations that they are supposed to count if they were postmarked by October 6th.

Courtesy of Al Giordano. (Hat tip to Oreo)

I am also encouraged by the voters with whom I speak on a daily basis. Up to the nomination of Spunky, I dealt with a lot of angry PUMAs, committed to voting for McCain. Now, about half of them that I speak to on a regular basis are going to vote Obama, and the rest have decided to write in Hillary Clinton’s name. The reasoning of the latter group, who were pretty committed to “punishing” the Democratic Party, is that Spunky is no Hillary, and while they could have voted for a John-Mittens ticket, they just can’t vote for her.

Yes, I still speak with blatant racists, and base Republicans, and people who honestly love Spunky. (Honest: “She’s just like me, and PTA is harder than it looks.”) But I’ve been talking to these Philly-suburbs “soccer moms” since 2000. In the overall these women have shifted from an embrace of conservatism in terms of fiscal responsibility and national security to the idea that supporting Bush didn’t work, and McCain will be four more years of the same. Not only have they had enough, but they are older now: old enough that their sons and daughters are draft age. And yes, that resonates with them.

The McShame Train is here with the same negative ads playing in other places. I don’t know how much they’re spending statewide, but I know that they’re all over the news shows here in the Philly market.

When I am not working campaigns, I have time to walk Olivia in Valley Forge Park, just over the hill from where I now type. We walk in through the back, off the beaten track, past Lafayette’s house. We hike up to the inner line defenses. As we walk, I think of the people who fought for THIS LAND, what they risked just in publishing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I think deep thoughts, Olivia chases deer.

I realize the McShame Train won’t give up. Sad for them, neither will I. And I’ve got friends, and they’ve got friends…at this weekend’s canvass, we had people from Delaware, Maryland, and DC. They attack, we defend.

Perhaps this is why people stay here their whole lives.