Earlier this month I got a note from a friend in state government telling me how Barack Obama’s people, while the senator was on campaign swing through Battle Creek, insisted that all uniformed police stay out of any camera shots. I followed up on the report with other sources, who confirmed it. Naturally, I wondered what Obama and his handlers were thinking and forwarded what I had heard to the senator’s campaign people, thinking if there’s some logic they ought to see how it is being received on the ground, and correct the impression if they can. Let me be clear here, I’m almost 65 and have voted Democrat most of my life, and was reluctantly leaning toward the same this time around, even though my personal respect for Senator McCain far exceeds anything for Senator Obama.
This response to my note came back on Sept 10: “Dear Friend. Thank you for contacting Senator Barack Obama and Obama for America. Barack is gratified by the overwhelming response to his candidacy, and we appreciate hearing from you. Please note, though, that we are now replying only to emails sent through our webform. You may resend your message through the webform here: http://m.barackobama.com/page/content/contact/.”
So I resubmitted on the new webform (a new word, I think), and on September 14 got the following response:“Joe – There’s so much as stake in this election – fixing our economy, solving the energy crisis, dealing with climate change, and restoring America’s position in the world.You and I know that. But John McCain is trying to distract voters from the real issues. And he’s willing to take the low road by making cheap personal attacks and lying outright about Barack and his record. It’s up to each of us to talk to voters across the country and make sure they know what this election is really about – especially in a battleground state like yours.” The note then offers me a tool I can use to call and talk to other voters, and the note is signed by Jon Carson, National Field Director, Obama for America. No answer to my question, however. I just want to know, does Obama not want cops in his photo ops, at his speeches, etc? And if true, why? And if not true, how did the misunderstanding occur, or is this some sort of GOP political baloney?
More forms, none of them clear, I filled them out and sent them on again, as instructed (best I could make out).
The next day, September 16, I get another email, this one from David Plouffe, Campaign Manager, Obama for America. David’s note is as follows: joe [NOTE: I don’t warrant even an upper case J in my name….] Even Karl Rove had to admit yesterday that the McCain’s lies and negative attacks have gone” too far.” John McCain is running the most negative and dishonest campaign in modern presidential history. He has demonstrated that he rather lose his integrity than lose this election….This year we can’t let that happen. Our goal is to bring 50,000 new donors into our movement by Friday at midnight.” At this point I replied to Mr. Plouffe as follows: “To Whom It May Concern: This sort of bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo takes the bill. I’m voting for McCain. I see no responsiveness in the Obama campaign and no responsive organization in your website, which makes me wonder how the hell you expect to manage a country? I send an email question; you answer. What could be more simple? Please take my name off all lists. Sincerely, Joseph Heywood.”
September 17, David Plouffe sent another note to me. “Joe – Want a look inside our strategy to win the battleground states? I recorded a video on my laptop yesterday to brief you on the plan – including details that haven’t been shared publicly before. Our fight in the battleground states is going to be tougher than a lot of you may think. Take Florida, where George Bush won by just 381,000 votes in 2004. The campaign we’re running there is going to cost more than $39 million.That [What that is he referring to?] can only come from supporters like you – unlike John McCain we don’t take money from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs. To reach our goal we need 50,000 new donors by Friday at midnight.”
The next day, September 18 I get a note from Barack himself (allegedly).
“Joe – The economy hit a new low this week, and in every part of the country, people like you are feeling it. The recent financial disasters – from the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the historic drop in the stock market – are not just a string of bad luck. They are the result of years of bad decisions made in favor of big corporate special interests instead of America’s working families. More than 600,000 Americans have lost their jobs since January. Home foreclosures are skyrocketing, and home values are plunging. Gas prices are at an all-time high, and we’re still spending $10 billion every month on a war in Iraq that should never have been waged. John McCain’s campaign is doing everything it can to focus attention on false personal attacks and distractions – but there’s too much at stake for that kind of politics. I need your help to get the conversation back on track.”
I responded, by asking again about the alleged no-uniformed-cops-in-photos issue.
The next day, September 19, an email comes from Elizabeth Wilkins, Field Director, Michigan Campaign for Change. “Dear joe – This past week has proven what workers and families in Michigan have already known for a long time – the economic policies of the past eight years have devastated the American economy and caused hardship for far too many. The only way Michiganders can guarantee we break from those policies and bring real change is to take this election into their own hands. This Campaign for Change need you to join your Neighborhood Team and talk to your friends, family, and neighbors about Barack and his message of change. Watch this video about our campaign in Michigan and join your Neighborhood Team.”
I didn’t answer. What was the point? I note the interesting statement that Republican policies have caused hardship for far too many. Are we to infer from this that there’s an acceptable level of hardships, and if so what’s the number? Dammit, what about cops in the photos?
September 20, I got an email from Joe Biden, a politician I really like, even when he sometimes puts his foot in his mouth. “joe – Our team has built a tool called Neighbor to Neighbor that lets you tap into the power of this grassroots movement right from your home. You can reach out to potential supporters by knocking on doors or making phone calls at any time that’s convenient for you. Take this election into your own hands righ now by signing up and talking to voters in your battleground state about Barack and our campaign for change.”
Yo, Senator Joe. How about answering my simple question? And taking me off the damn website list, as previously requested. Please?
Sept. 21, Jon Carson is throwing more unsolicited electrons at me. “Joe [hey the j has been upgraded!] Think of all the people you know – your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors. What if every on of them voted on Election Day? That’s a lot of votes. But odds are many of them aren’t registered – or aren’t sure if they are. Now there’s an easy way to learn our status and get registered. Our new one-step voter registration site, VoteForChange.com lets you do it all: check your registration status, register to vote, request an absentee ballot, and find your early voting site or polling location.”
I’m registered, okay? I already have my absentee ballot, okay? What about the cops? And why am I still getting stuff from you people?
Two days later I get a note from Michelle Obama. “Joe – This Friday, we’ll reach another milestone in the campaign – the first debate of the general election, on Sept 26th at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time.
Millions of Americans will tune in to watch Barack debate John McCain about foreign policy and our role in the world. I recorded a brief message about hosting a Debate Watch Party. Please take a moment to watch the videoand sign up to attend or host a Debate Watch Party in your community.”
Boy oh boy. A debate isn’t a milestone. It’s an event, only one among many. It’s not even the ONLY debate. What’s with all the rhetoric here? Michelle: what about the cops, and did you folks not get the message I’m voting for McCain because of the insipid website communications that keep flowing from you folks? Huh? Take me off your lists.
Four days later it’s Jon Carson with yet another electronic message. “Dear Joe, Barack is moving ahead with plans for Friday’s debate. The election is less than 40 days away, and the American people deserve to hear directly from the candidates about how they intend to lead our country. You’re invited to join a Debate Watch Program in your community and discuss the issues that are most important to you and your family, friends, and neighbors. Find a Debate Watch Party in your area and RSVP today.”
Righto, Jonny boy. Uh, my question about the cops?
On debate day, the note was from Joe Biden announcing McCain has decided to debate and because I live in a key battleground state, could I volunteer to sign up to volunteer on one of the four crucial days leading up to Election Day? Face-to-face contact with voters is the single most effective way to deliver the votes we need to win,” Joe pointed out. I did not counter that a political battleground is a limp-wristed term with no currency. People who have been in real battles, people like John McCain, know the difference.
Whatever, Senator Joe.
Then, on Saturday, Barack sends me this message: “Joe – I just finished my first debate with John McCain….Let’s be clear John McCain is offering nothing but more of the same failed Bush policies at home and abroad that he has supported more than 90 percent of the time in the senate.”
My response: “Barack, I watched the debate. What I saw was McCain rattling you and getting under you skin and causing you to mumble and interrupt with yeah-but, yeah-but, yeah-but. Dude, if John McCain can rattle you so easily, how the hell will you deal with foreign leaders who are truly evil and hate your guts simply because you’re American? Pathetic showing, Senator. And your website is worthless.
And the cop question? How about that? It’s still not answered and of course I’m still on their lists.
Barack sent a second email on the same day. “Joe – The last day to register to vote in Michigan is Monday, October 6th. Are you registered. Are your friends and family? If you forward only one email to your friends family and neighbors today – make it this one.”
At this point I had archived all the messages, so I opened each one and sent the following message: “Dear Senator Obama. I am not voting for you. Please remove my name from all of your lists and check into your website. If your people can’t run a website, how he hell will they run a country? I won’t even ask again about the uniformed cops and photo ops.”
What I got back was the following response: Dear Friend. Thank you for contacting Senator Barack Obama and Obama for America. Barack is gratified by the overwhelming response to his candidacy, and we appreciate hearing from you. Please note, though, that we are now replying only to emails sent through our webform. You may resend your message through the webform here: http://m.barackobama.com/page/content/contact/”
Sigh. I will continue to archive incoming fodder, but I know now there is no hope. Like many folks, I am very concerned about Sarah Palin and her right wing views and her qualifications for leadership, but at this point if she can “shake” and “sit” I’ll vote Republican. What a pathetic election at such a critical time in our nation’s history. Having posted this, we will see if the electronic attacks start – automated programs that see perceived negative messages and try to flood my site to render it inoperable. The sad part is that I am still a Democrat and a liberal, but a candidate that can’t find a way to answer questions now will be hopelessly out of touch once he’s in the White House.
P.S. I hesitate to add this, but this morning at 11:21 AM I got another email, this time from my “old pal” David Plouffe. “Joe — Election day isn’t ahead of us — it’s already here. Early voting has begun in eight states — including the key battleground of Ohio, where voting begins today and it will be starting in a dozen more over the next two weeks. Tonight is also the most important reporting deadline of the campaign. The resources we have on hand heading into October will decide the sie of our voter registration and Get Out The Vote operations. The need for your support is more urgent than it will ever be. If you haven’t made a donation yet, now is the time to donate. If you donate $30 or more, you’ll recieve a limited edition Election T-Shirt before Friday, October 17th….Thanks, David.”
Dear Dave, Old Pal. I don’t live in Ohio and couldn’t care less about what goes on there. I have not made a donation to Barack and won’t. Take me off your damn lists and by the way, for $30 I could design and produce a fantastic T-shirt all on my own. You people are blowing so much hot air my computer housing may need repainting. You sound like Seymour the carnivorous plant from Little Shop of Horrors: Feed me, feed me, FEED me! What about Obama and photographs with uniformed cops? Huh?