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Supporting the Nominee

(Thanks to lorih for her reflection on a topic that's been on my mind lately. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

I used to be a psychologist, and one of the things that I would often tell my clients is that the relationship between feelings and actions isn't one way. People who are depressed tend to isolate themselves even to the point of staying in bed all day. However, if they force themselves to get out of the house, even though they don't “feel like it,” they often start to feel a little less depressed. Sometimes the feelings come first, “I felt depressed, so I stayed in bed.” Other times the feelings come second, “I went for a walk, and I now I better.”

I started to work for the Obama campaign even though I didn't like him much. I did this for several reasons. First, because Hillary asked me to. One thing she said in her concession speech was, “Are you doing this just for me?” This isn't about one candidate, it is about improving our country. I want to get as many democrats in office as possible.  Second, I wanted to work with the Obama campaign to try coordinate our efforts to get Becky Greenwald elected. I traded my services for Obama for their services for Becky.  Finally, I didn't want to be a cry baby like I have seen a few William Meyers supporters, and some Hillary supporters be. I find it absolutely silly, that anyone would support a candidate like McCain or Latham just because the democrat that they wanted didn't win. 

None of these reasons had anything to do with me “liking” Barack. I didn't. But you know what? When I started campaigning for him, I started having to come up with some reason besides “he's a democrat” to support him. And I started to find some reasons. One of the big ones that I tell people is that amazing speaking ability that I once disdained as “just words” could be really useful in a diplomatic situation. And think how much cheaper that is than another war. Also, that “elitist thing” that people say about him–maybe he comes across that way because he is so intelligent. And right now what our country needs is an intelligent president. I don't want someone “just like me” in office. I want someone a whole lot smarter than me in office.

After awhile, just like I used to tell my clients, my feelings followed my actions. And now–I have to admit–I like Barack. I like him a lot. He might not have been my first choice, but he is my choice now. I'm not “holding my nose” and voting for him. I'm voting for him because I like him. That isn't to say I regret the choice I made in the primary. I don't. I like and admire Hillary Clinton now more than ever. However, just like she said in her concession speech:

“So I want to say to my supporters, when you hear people saying – or think to yourself – 'if only' or 'what if,' I say, 'please don't go there.' Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward. Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been. We have to work together for what still can be. And that is why I will work my heart out to make sure that Senator Obama is our next President and I hope and pray that all of you will join me in that effort.”

Convention Watch Parties and Weekend of Action

Tonight is Obama's acceptance speech and the Obama campaign in Iowa is organizing tons of convention watch parties around the state. This is a good way to get plugged into the local campaign. You can find a party near you by going to


An excerpt from an email I recieved from Matthew La Rocque, my regional field organizer:

“Following these August 28th convention parties, we’ll be holding a three-day weekend of action, canvassing our communities and local events this Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Here in the Northwest, we’ll be knocking on doors to talk not just about Obama, but also about local Democrats like Tom Harkin, Rob Hubler and Becky Greenwald, and a host of other local candidates….We view this weekend as the ultimate showing of Democratic unity for Democrats, and we hope that you’ll join us on this historic occasion. In order for down-ticket events like this to continue, it’s crucial that folks turn out to prove the robustness of a coordinated campaign.”

I would encourage everyone to come to one of these events.


Canvassing for Obama

Six months ago I would never have believed I would write this, but tonight I went door to door campaigning for Obama. When Hillary dropped out of the race I decided that I would vote for Obama, but there was no way I was campaigning for him. I figured that I'd let all the Obama people do that…after all he was their candidate. I decided that I was going to focus my energy on campaigning for Becky. What changed my mind were two things: first, Obama seems to be slipping a little bit in the polls. I don't think his getting elected is a done deal and I could see some of his supporters acting as if it were. I would hate to have this long, drawn out election ending with another Republican in office. Secondly, Brian from the Obama campaign came to our county central committee meeting and asked for our help. Also and even more personally important to me is that he talked about how important it was for Obama to get Becky Greenwald elected and said that the two campaigns were working together to elect both of them.

The strategy meeting ended up being very small–six of us plus Brian. Three former Hillary supporters and three always Obama supporters. Then the always Obama supporters went home and two of us Hillary supporters went door to door with Brian. Tomorrow I am calling up the local people that I know who supported Obama in the caucus and goading them into coming next time.

I've never gone door-to-door before, though I have done a lot of calling. Canvassing isn't the most fun thing I have ever done, but it isn't the worst either. Most people said that they were undecided. Some weren't even sure if they were going to vote. I had one person say that she believed that Obama was the anti-christ…we marked her as a “no” though I guess she didn't say that she absolutely wouldn't vote for him. One man slammed the door in my face. There were a couple of nice ones though. I have to admit that I am still not particularly passionate about Obama, but sometimes politics isn't about passion as much as it is about hard work. My focus isn't going to be on how much I like Obama or how excited I am about him–because quite honestly I'm not that excited. It is going to be much more about how he shares my values about getting health care for every American, protecting social security and safeguarding the environment.

Anyone else canvassing? I'd love to hear other stories.


Another reason to vote for Obama

Apparently James Dobson is starting to reverse his stance that he just won't vote if McCain gets the Republican nomination.

According to an AP article: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iBvP50s1jq-cqtunx1aVlc54lQqgD921QJOO0

“I never thought I would hear myself saying this,” Dobson said in a radio broadcast to air Monday. “… While I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might….Barack Obama contradicts and threatens everything I believe about the institution of the family and what is best for the nation. His radical positions on life, marriage and national security force me to reevaluate the candidacy of our only other choice, John McCain.”

I am so looking forward to the religious right not having a stranglehold over supreme court nominations.

Electoral map

I'm not sure if Obama is going to be able take the South, but he does seem to be performing unusually well in some traditionally Republican states: Indiana and Montana for example. Bush won both of them by 20 points in 2004, but Obama is leading them in the latest polls (not by much, but still). It will be interesting to see if he continues to lead those states in the fall.


I hope that this diary doesn't get me kicked off of this blog, but I have a confession to make. I am a member of a Political Action Committee. Yes I am an honest to goodness, card caring member of a PAC, and this PAC is even a 527 group. I don't think by any stretch of the imagination anyone could call me “rich” or “big money.” I believe I would have to be classified as lower middle class, which means I have a college education, but I don't earn much. But none the less, a few months ago I decided to join a PAC. It cost me $100 to join this PAC. In addition, I had to agree to donate another $100 to at least two of the candidates who are endorsed by this PAC. Luckily, I have two years to do it–but I'm over half way there already.

Why did I join this faceless organization? Like many others, I became much more involved this election cycle than I ever had before. I voted, I caucused…but I had never actually campaigned for a candidate. I campaigned hard for Hillary, and when she lost Iowa I was crushed, devastated, and despondent. But on her website I read one comment posted by a supporter…that Iowa had never elected a woman senator or representative. Of course I knew that there were fewer women in congress than men, but I didn't know they made up only 16% of the 535 seats and I didn't know that none of them had come from Iowa. The simple dream of a democratic republic is representation, and I didn't feel represented. I wanted to do something more. I wanted to join up with other people who believe the way I do, that all of our citizens will be more fairly represented when there are more women in office. I joined this organization because just like many labor union members know, I recognize that a group of voices can make more of a difference than a single voice. When I found Emily's List, I knew that I had found the group for me. Emily's List doesn't just want to get women into office, it wants to get democratic women into office. 

I am happy with my PAC. I like getting the emails from different women candidates around the country. I like knowing that I am not alone in my belief that there is still a glass ceiling. I like knowing that even though Hillary is not in the race anymore, I can still work to get women elected. Mostly I like that in this country I have a right to join an organization and that together we have the right to campaign and to try to influence elections.

I know of course that that   my financial contribution to this PAC is no where near the contribution that many other people are able to make…but hey, I figure that rich people have the right to spend their money how they want. I also know that many PACs do not support my beliefs and that some are in direct opposition to my PAC. However, I have to acknowledge that if I have the right to organize with others and influence elections, so do they.

Men don't let other Men vote Republican

Now that the primary race has settled down a bit, polls are starting to show that Obama's current early lead is primarily due to women. A recent Gallup polls show that Obama trails McCain by 5 points among men, but leads him by 10 points among women. Other polls show similar trends. Rasmussen says that the two are “essentially tied among men,” but Obama leads by 12 points among women. USA today shows that Obama's lead with women is 14 points, but he is behind 3 points with men. Even Newsweek, which found that Obama leads with both genders shows that his lead is three times as great among women (21 points).

All of the polls can be found here: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/polls/

It is no wonder both candidates are courting women voters, but how can we get Obama's numbers up with men? Are there just more male republicans than male democrats? If so why?

Electoral Maps

I admit it–I'm kind of a math and statistics junkie. One of the fun things to do around election time is to play with electoral maps. I've found three so far. 270 to win http://www.270towin.com/2008_polls/mccain_obama/ , CNN http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/10/electoral.map/index.html , and Real Clear Politics http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/maps/obama_vs_mccain/ .

All of them have Obama ahead, but by different amounts. CNN has the race the closest — 211 blue to 194 red with 133 toss ups. 270 to win says Obama has 253 and McCain has 181 with 104 toss ups. Real Clear Politics says 238 (Democrat) to 163 (Republican) and 137 up for grabs.

They differ on how they categorize individual states too. For example, Minnesota: 270 to win calls it a strong democratic state, Real Clear Politics says leaning democrat, and CNN calls it a toss up. I believe that Minnesota will go democrat this year as it has every year since 1972. Minnesota along with DC was a lone Mondale holdout against Reagan in 1984.

Alaska: CNN calls it a strong republican state, Real Clear Politics says leaning republican, and 270 says toss up. I think there is a possibility that Alaska *might* go blue this year, but not if McCain picks Sarah Palin for his running mate.

New Mexico: 270 says Leaning Democrat, Real Clear Politics says Toss up and CNN says Leaning Republican. I really have no idea on this one.

Iowa: 270 and Real Clear Politics says Iowa is Leaning Democrat. CNN still calls it a toss up. I don't think it is much of a toss up. It will go for Obama.

All three call Missouri and Florida toss up states. I think that Missouri will go Democrat and Florida will go Republican. All three call Georgia Leaning Republican, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Georgia is going to go for Obama this year. With a combination of Bob Barr taking some of the Republican vote and the large African American population there, I think Obama can take that state.

Anybody else find any maps or have any predictions?

Hillary Clinton

Today I received an email from Hillary Clinton. Here are some excerpts from that letter.

“On Saturday, I will extend my congratulations to Senator Obama and my support for his candidacy. This has been a long and hard-fought campaign, but as I have always said, my differences with Senator Obama are small compared to the differences we have with Senator McCain and the Republicans.

I have said throughout the campaign that I would strongly support Senator Obama if he were the Democratic Party's nominee, and I intend to deliver on that promise.”

Then later,

“I will be speaking on Saturday about how together we can rally the party behind Senator Obama. The stakes are too high and the task before us too important to do otherwise.”

I am sad that she is not the nominee—though of course I have known it was coming for quite awhile. However, I am now firmly backing Obama. I do admire him. He has run an exceptional campaign and will be a good president.

What I would like to request from Obama supporters on this blog is that they move on from attacking Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and most especially Clinton supporters. We have to come together to take back our country.


Becky Greenwald

In 1920 the 19 th amendment was passed, giving women in Iowa and everywhere else in the United States the right to vote. Even before it was passed several western states allowed women to vote and in 1916 Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to congress. Since then 249 women have been elected to the House of Representatives—none of them from Iowa. Iowa is only one of two states (the other is Mississippi) that has never elected a woman congress person or governor. Astonishing. 

Several people (all men) have asked me why the gender of a candidate matters. My answer is that it matters because we are electing a representative—someone who is supposed to represent voters—and half of the voters in Iowa are female. Yet all of Iowa's representatives, both of its senators, and its governor are all male.

That said, I could never vote for a candidate just because of her gender, so I looked at all of the democratic candidates for the fourth district and these are the reasons that I believe that Becky Greenwald is the best candidate:

First, Becky Greenwald is the most electable in the general election. Unlike some of the other candidates, she has spent decades building relationships in the district. She's worked in the democratic party for years, helping other democrats to be elected. This has paid off for her in endorsements (Tom and Christie Vilsack, several state senators and representatives, and the Des Moines Register).

Secondly, she is doing well at fund raising. She's raised the most of any of the candidates on Act Blue. Not counting self-funding, she has raised more than any other of the candidates period. Two of the candidates have not even raised enough money to have to file financial reports—which means that they have raised less than $5000 each. It is imperative that the democratic nominee have the money needed to face Tom Lathem in the general election. None of the democratic candidates have much name recognition. Whoever gets the nomination will have to be able to afford to advertise to get his or her name out there.

I will support whomever gets the nomination, but I'm backing Becky because I believe that she best represents my interests and because I know she has the best chance of being elected in November.

Lori Hebel, Emmetsburg, IA