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The Gross National Debt

Saturday, October 21, 2006

(Cross-posted at Raising Kaine and Daily Kos)

It's really interesting sometimes when things come together organically.  As many here know, I have a big funk band that performs from as far north as Baltimore, MD to as far south and west as Harrisonbug, VA.  After a full day of work yesterday, I left my office in Silver Spring MD and headed up to Ellicott City MD, to a nightclub just outside of Baltimore and not even remotely close to my home.

I had finally paid the band, packed up gear, and gotten into my car by 2am.  I walked through my front door at 3am.  I'm not 22 any more - that kind of a long day takes its toll.

As I finally went to bed at a little before 4am (it takes me a while to unwind after gigs), I set my alarm for 9 the next morning.  There was work to do with only 17 days remaining before the midterms.  Follow me over the fold, and I'll tell a little bit about the day and how it came together with Molly Ivins' most recent column.

(All photos courtesy of Lowkell - thank you!)

There seemed to be two options today: work literature drops or work the Webb/Moran booth at Clarendon Day, a big event in Arlington VA.  Of course - anyone could have also phone banked, but I opted for Clarendon Day for a few reasons.  One, it's more personal than the literature drop and I had planned participate in a local literature drop tomorrow; two because it's more personal than the phone banking and I do that from home on weekday evenings; and three I wanted to see Ingrid Morroy's (imorroy here on dKos) band The Constituents play at Clarendon Day.  So I dragged unhappily out of bed, scraped the sparkles and makeup off my face, washed the smoke from the nightclub out of my hair, left Mr. RenaRF to utterly fend for himself and headed to Arlington.

The first thing that was cool was that I saw a lot of the people I met at the fundraiser (diary here) on Wednesday night.  While I was a total stranger to them before Wednesday, my attendance and subsequent diary had a lot of them coming up and giving very wonderful feedback about the event, the write-up, and the response from the Daily Kos community (YOU!).  So - y'all made me look good and for that I really thank you.  :-D

Clarendon Day is a big event.  There are many food and beverage vendors, bands, and crafts available.  They shut down the streets for it, and today was a beautiful clear October day with about a 70 degree temperature.  Perfect.

I got to the Webb/Moran tent - VERY big tent with LOTS of people.  When you walked into the tent itself and stood behind the table with all the information for Webb and Moran and more local candidates, you looked directly at the Allen/O'Donohue tent (O'Donohue is challenging Moran in VA-08).  Where we had anywhere from 10-15 volunteers at any given time, Allen's small tent seemed to have about 5.  It's tough being a Republican in blue Arlington, and I tried not to look all self-righteous for ONCE having the advantage as a Democrat.

Exactly halfway between the two tents was a crosswalk that people would use if there were traffic on the street - that was the invisible line as far as I was concerned.  If they stayed on their side and I on mine, peace would prevail.  It was unspoken that we didn't potty-mouth Allen at this event (THAT was hard).

I started out behind the table, handed out stickers and yard signs and answered questions to those who were more inclined to ask them.  I stickered myself up - round Webb stickers on one leg, round Moran stickers on the other, and a full-sized Webb bumper sticker across my butt.  

Shameless?  You bet.

Then I slowly fanned out - first within proximity of the tent respecting the DMZ of the crosswalk, and then deeper into the festival itself (both campaigns were at one extreme end leaving a lot of territory to cover).  I ran into Tom O'Donohue, who was there campaigning for himself.  I used the Webb literature to do a maleodramatic mock show of hiding my face from him as I walked by, and he came over and talked to me.  He was a nice enough guy in person - I have no idea what he stands for nor do I care, and I let him know that in a nice way - and ensured him that I would be voting a straight Democratic ticket on November 7 and working with every spare moment of my life between now and then to get others to do the same (somewhere one of Webb's or Moran's staffers has a picture of this conversation).

The day was pretty much like that - striking out, coming back to the tent, etc.  I saw a few Allen stickers but MUCH fewer than those who wore Webb stickers.  And a general, unscientific observation:  The Allen sticker-wearers all looked like they should be vacationing in the Hamptons.  Very white, quite wealthy-looking, etc.  One Allen supporter had stuck a sticker to their DOG (e.g., Allen supporters torture animials - hah).  When they encroached on the DMZ I and others would pleasantly and verbally move them back.  :-)  Ingrid's band was great as well - a real treat today.

(Note the Webb stickers on the band members - Ingrid also totally pimped Webb while she was up there!!)

So I'm exhausted.  I go back to my car at about 4pm and listen to a voicemail from my very liberal mother wanting to know how the gig went and how the Webb stuff went.  So I called her back - and this is where Molly Ivins enters the picture.

My mom and I were chatting about Webb's chances, Dem's chances, etc.  She is fearful (as am I) that Dems are getting generally complacent with 17 days to go.  She urged me to check out Ivins' column, and I have done so.  It's worth a read and some excerpting.

The whole column, titaled Election Day Still a Long Way Off, can be found here.

Put me in the depressive Dems camp. We always look good going into the last two weeks, until we get hit with that wall of Republican money (though I do think Ohio is beyond political recall at this point for the R's). Of course, both sides always complain about unfair advertising, but I must admit that almost all political advertising strikes me as ludicrous and I don't notice the D's looking simon-pure. A little shading, a little emphasis here and there -- I'm hard to shock on political ads, but I do get more than miffed when they take the truth and just stand it on its head.

Reading that made me think of my own personal sense of anticipation and positive energy in the two weeks prior to the 2004 Presidential election.  We all know how that worked out.

I'm the one who has been writing for two years that the American people are fed up with the war in Iraq and with the Bush administration's lies and incompetence. I'm the one that keeps beating the Washington press corps about the head over how out of touch it is. I'm the one who has been insisting there's a Democratic tide out here, and that the people are so far ahead of the politicians and the media it's painful to watch.

So how come I'm not thrilled? Because I watched this happen two years ago -- same rejection of the Iraq war, same disgust with Bush and Co., same understanding Republicans are for the rich, period, same polls showing D's with the lead going right into Election Day. And the same geographic gerrymander and same wall of money in the last two weeks. I'm not close to calling this election, and I'm sure not into celebrating anything yet.

My emphasis added.

I don't know what it is - but I am also fearful.  I don't now that I would cite the same reasons, but the sense of unease is similar.  Remember - The Democrats have to win where they win by a margin that sufficiently exceeds the ability of the Republicans to cheat.  I believe that is possible in just enough races to shift the balance of power back to the Democrats, but not if we start believing our own poll numbers.  Kerry's poll numbers indicated he was going to win... until he lost.

I'm going to continue to beat this drum.  There are two things critical to regaining power:

1. Money
2. Get out the vote

As Caville and Roemer both said at the Wednesday fundraiser, we have to out-work them.  We have to want it more than they do.  It's going to take more than each one of us, individually, did in 2004.

So I'm not worried about the fear and unease, because it will make me work harder.  Webb's not going to lose this because I (and many many others) were unwilling to give our time.

So what did YOU do today?  Grassroots stories would be great - inspiring and encouraging to others who may need a friendly nudge.

Update [2006-10-21 18:48:26 by RenaRF]: Please check out aimeeinkc's diary for GREAT ideas on how you can do stuff to help Dems take back power.



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