Monday, October 11, 2010

After the election, Democrats will make great pets

You learn lots of things while walking Cheyenne neighborhoods for your favorite Democratic Party candidates.

I did that on Saturday as I dropped off door hangers for Senate District 5 candidate Lori Millin and flyers for District Court Clerk candidate Wendy Soto.

About those door hangers… A steady northwest wind blew on Saturday. Cooled things off, and also made it difficult to hang a door hanger so it wouldn’t blow away. Forget all of the west- and –north-facing homes – about half of my assigned territory. It’s so easy to smack the top of the hanger against the door knob and watch it magically attach. There’s a technique that I’ve learned over the years. Grab the lower end of the hanger and BAP it on the tiny part of the knob. It’s all in the wrist. This also works on screen door knobs and fancier knobs that have the latch you work with your thumb.

But the wind calls for different methods. First, you can’t get a good wind-up as the wind snatches the hanger in mid-motion. If you then use old-fashioned manual attachment techniques, the raging wind will snag the hanger from its perch and send it to Nebraska. This leaves lots of wind litter. It’s also a waste of precious campaign dollars, especially this year when Democrats are holding bake sales and maxing out credit cards to get cash. It’s also unseemly to see Dems running down the street after skittering door hangers and flyers. I can just see those Republicans now, sitting on their verandas, sipping mint juleps, lighting cigars with 20-dollar bills, watching us run. “Those Democrats are so entertaining,” they might say. “After the election, they will make great pets."

Speaking of Republicans, I didn’t see a single Repub candidate out on the hustings. I kept my eyes and ears open as I slipped campaign material through screen doors or rolled it up to slip between door knob and door jamb. I saw no Repub material, either. A curious overnight with only a few weeks left to go. The Repubs must feel confident. Wyoming is a one-party state, after all, and never more so than this year when its Repub Gov candidate leads the Dem candidate by a huge 30-point margin.

Still, we persevere. On one street, I ran into the Democrats' Laramie County Clerk candidate Tim Thorson and his wife Elizabeth. Tim was placing another yard sign. Tim has been very aggressive in the sign department. He also has four billboards placed around the county. A hard-working Dem politician.

And not the only one. I also spotted Dem House District 8 candidate Ken McCauley knocking on townhouse doors along Lawrence Ave. He leaves flyers in doors when he gets no answer. When he does get an answer, he asks for a few minutes to talk about the issues. According to Ken, people get a bit cantankerous when they discover his party affiliation. They often change their mind after discovering Ken is a U.S. Air Force combat veteran and has solid ideas for the district. One 90-something voter (also a military veteran) spouted the Fox News repertoire of Death Panels and cutting big gubment and those damn commies and socialists. Ken said, “I’m a combat veteran and have been fighting socialists all my life.” The man changed his tune and shook Ken’s hand.

Now, a socialist commie pinko peacenik such as me might take umbrage at this. Let me take a short-time out for some umbrage.

Ah, that’s better.

How do you fight this sort of Tea Party crap, where people get into your face and spew a barrage of nonsense?

Shoot back. Humor’s good, too, but it’s often wasted on the brainwashed. Ken is a combat veteran and a Democrat and a smart guy with great ideas. Should he not make use of all of his credentials? I’ve voted for Democrats with impressive military combat credentials? Remember John Kerry? JFK? George McGovern? They were the best candidates for the job. JFK was elected, while Republicans Swift-boated Kerry and did something similar to McGovern back in 1972. Although the Dems basically sunk themselves during both of those elections. And who can forget Al Gore’s 2000 popular-vote victory over George W. Bush? The guy who served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam in a non-combat role vs. the Texas Air National Guard pilot who skipped maneuvers stateside?

I’ve also voted for many candidates who never served in the military. In fact, if I had voted the straight Wyoming Republican Party slate for U.S. House and U.S. Senate in 2008, I would have voted for three candidates who never served in the military. All three, however, support both of our ongoing wars and the continuing bloated defense budget.

And so it goes.

I encountered one gentleman who asked me point-blank if Lori Millin voted for Obama. I said that I supposed so as she was a Democrat. He then asked if she supported charter schools. I said that she supported education although I didn’t know about her position on charter schools. He then said that that was the problem with us doorhanging people, we didn’t know what our candidates stood for. He was a Republican and active in politics. I asked if he wanted me to retrieve the door hanger if he didn’t want to read it. He said he would read it. I asked if he voted the straight party line and he said he didn’t. I said that I was a Democrat and I didn’t support the straight party line which is very difficult to do in Wyoming anyway.

He then added that he had called Mike Massie’s office multiple times and hadn’t received a response. Mike is the Democratic Party candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction. I said that that was very odd as Mike was big on returning calls and he’d spent lots of time talking about education all across the state. The man said, “I’d like to talk to him."

We left it at that. The best conversation I’ve had with a Republican in a long time. I got in my car and found Lori in an adjacent neighborhood. I told her about my talk and she got in her car and went over to talk to the man. She spoke to the man and his wife. They were big supporters of charter schools. Lori supports them as long as the rules are followed. Republicans insist on charter-school support from local school districts but don’t want to be bound by rules of the district or the Wyoming Department of Education. She sees that as a problem. Her kids attend Laramie County schools.

I also see this as a problem.

What I like is that Lori went to the man’s house to talk to him about his concerns. That’s not easy. It takes courage. You don’t have to be in the military to appreciate courage.

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