So I inadvertently started a flamewar on Daily Kos and MyDD today by posting a diary about the Clinton campaign being missing in action from July 4 parades in the Des Moines suburbs. The Clintonistas were outraged that (to their mind) my headline implied that the Clinton campaign did not take part in any parades, when we all know that Bill and Hillary marched in the Clear Lake parade.
My point was that there was no Clinton campaign presence at the Windsor Heights parade I attended, and according to others I talked to, Clinton's campaign didn't have a vehicle in the Urbandale or West Des Moines parades either.
That surprised me, because Obama, Edwards and Richardson were well represented with campaign workers and/or volunteers. (The organizer of the Windsor Heights parade told me later that Biden's campaign was also in the parade, but I didn't notice them.)
The Edwards people were able to get quite a few supporter cards signed during these parades. We were watching for people who waved or cheered as the Edwards truck rolled by, and three or four people ran up to those spectators and asked them if they would sign up as Edwards supporters. I didn't catch the number for the WDM parade, but I think they got about 65 cards signed during the Urbandale parade and another 15 to 20 in Windsor Heights.
The team also handed out a lot of Edwards stickers in WDM and Urbandale, but had run out early in the Windsor Heights parade.
Obama and Richardson people were handing out tons of stickers in Windsor Heights. My husband, who was with the kids on the side, was pretty sure he saw an Obama staffer with a clipboard as well, who was probably getting supporter cards signed. He wasn't sure whether anyone with the Richardson group was handing out cards. But yesterday evening at the big Windsor Heights celebration in Colby Park, I saw lots of people still sporting their Obama and Richardson stickers.
The point of my diary was that this was a missed opportunity for the Clinton campaign. Thousands of people watch these parades. I've got to believe there were Clinton supporters and leaners who would have signed up if there had been staffers out there spotting them and asking them. I know staff was probably preoccupied with the Clintons' Iowa tour, but the fact that Obama was in Iowa didn't prevent his campaign from having a strong presence in all of the parades.
A woman I know well in my neighborhood is a Clinton leaner (she says she needs more info about the other candidates before making up her mind). She's a general election voter who rarely votes in primaries. Despite many contacts from me last cycle, she and her husband did not attend our precinct caucus. So she is unlikely to turn up on a list of Ds to target in my precinct. I saw her along the parade route with her kids. If there had been a Clinton presence, I bet she would have taken a sticker or possibly signed up. They could have then targeted her closer to caucus time for GOTV efforts. But how will they find her now?
With Teresa Vilmain running the show and the Vilsacks on board, and plenty of money, I am surprised that the Clinton campaign didn't make sure they had a strong presence in all of the Des Moines-area parades.
What do you think, and which campaigns did you see in your towns?
Incidentally, the only Republican campaign in the Windsor Heights parade was Brownback's; they were also in Urbandale and West Des Moines. I assume that some of the other Republican candidates were in those larger suburban parades.