Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wyoming abuzz with Obama activity

Dropped by Wyoming's Obama office on Saturday afternoon. It's strategically located on Second Street in downtown Casper, close to the the city's many downtown movie theaters and a short jaunt to Metro Coffee Company -- that caffeine will come in handy during the action-packed final weeks of the campaign.

Obama HQ was jammed with all kinds of people -- volunteers and visitors alike. Casper author and historian Tom Rea was there, on his way to Johnson County to research his next book. His wife, Barb Rea, was selling Obama stickers and yard signs and T-shirts from behind the counter. The place features one-stop shopping for Obama supporters, the only place like it in the state. Some travelers from Lander said as much. They were passing through, knew about the Oabma office and dropped in. Several women from Casper were there, deciding between the white Obama bumper stickers and the blue ones. They went blue. I have the white one because it stands out better against the hunter green of my minivan.

Barb tells me that sales of Obama goods keep the doors open. And, from my experience during one hour on Saturday, there's a steady stream of people through those doors. Barb wonders if there's a way to keep the doors open even after Obama is elected president. Could be a place where progressive minds gather on an ongoing basis. The Casper Progressive Club. The L Word (not that one -- the other one). Raising "L." Maybe we could have a nationwide chain of these clubs that would help ensure a long-term Liberal majority. Elks Clubs, but without the antlers.

I understand Barb's reasoning. We've spent all year building up the Democratic Party base in Wyoming. A lot of effort has gone into it, and a wellspring of camaraderie has built up in this historic quest. We have the feeling that we are entering a new era and and we have played a small part in the process, starting in January when Obama's field organizers dropped into the state for the Democratic caucuses. After Nov. 4, there will be tons more work,. The fulfillment of the Dem platform to universal health care, a living wage, a sensible foreign policy, and an energy policy that concentrates on conservation and renewables. What will be doing at the grassroots to help Obama succeed?

Don't we already have grassroots organizations for Dems in Wyoming in our county parties? Well, some are more active than others. In Cheyenne, we even have a county party and one called Laramie County Democratic Grassroots Coalition. Good groups (I belong to both) but can they maintain the momentum in the state during the pitched political battles of the next four years?

Also at Obama HQ on Saturday was Zack Schneider. He's a local middle-school teacher. If you read USA Today, you might recognize his name from last week's article about the state's oil patch (see my Oct. 17 posts). Zach was one of two Obama supporters interviewed for the article. As is the case with most teachers, Zach talked about education. He wants to see more arts and cultural programs for middle-school students, noting that the elementary and high school kids get most of the attention. He has a great point.

I ran into writer and retired UW prof Vicki Lindner and her artist husband Richard. They once lived in Casper, and then Dubios. They just bought a condo in Denver's Capitol Hill. Vicki will use the second bedroom for a writing room. Richard has leased studio space nearby. They're Obama supporters but probably won't be able to register at this late date. Colorado could use a few more Democrats for Obama to clinch the state's crucial electoral votes. A vote for Obama in Wyoming counts toward the popular vote totals but there's very little chance our non-crucial three electoral votes will go Democratic.

If you're in Casper during the next few weeks, go down to Obama HQ. Buy more stuff and visit these fine volunteers. You can also spend an hour calling battleground states for Sen. Obama. When I was there yesterday, calls were being made to Montana. On other days, it's Missouri or Colorado.

But you don't need to be in Casper to make those calls. I'm making some Monday on my cell phone. Wonder which state I'll be targeting? Go here to sign up for calls of your own:

1 comment:

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