With just three days left in the presidential election, it’s now up to the ground game. Which of these two candidates can mobilize its troops and get out the maximum percentage of its voters? While Obama will in all likelihood head into election day with an advantage in the polls, it is the answer to this question which will undoubtedly decide who the next President of the United States will be.
Which, believe it or not, has me thinking an awful lot about the Republican National Convention. You remember that, don’t you? That weeklong infomercial on hate? Yes, while President Bush referred to the “angry left,” the story of this election has been all about the angry right.
Only, in a strange twist to the now familiar story, the left was not the only target of Republican ire during that week. No, now there was a new image to burn in verbal effigy; the community organizer. You would almost think that community organizers had personally mugged each and every Republican given the antagonistic tone of the Republican convention, with some of the more memorable moments of the week turning out to be not attacks on liberals, but instead community organizers.
Rudy Giuliani was vicious in his address:
Speaking Wednesday at the Republican National Convention, former New York Governor George Pataki sneered, “[Barack Obama] was a community organizer. What in God’s name is a community organizer? I don’t even know if that’s a job.”
Then former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani delivered his own snickering hit job. “He worked as a community organizer. What? Maybe this is the first problem on the résumé,” mocked Giuliani.” Then he said, “This is not a personal attack. It’s a statement of fact. Barack Obama has never led anything. Nothing. Nada.”
But it was Sarah Palin who brought the house down. In her sarcastic description of being a small town mayor, Palin admitted it’s “sorta like a community organizer – except with real, actual responsibilities.”
Two months have gone by, though, and now if anything is going to push McCain across the finish line, it would be exactly the kind of get-out-the-vote efforts and community organizing his party was mocking at the beginning of September.
I guess what goes around comes around, though, as the ground game efforts for the McCain campaign are bleak. Fewer field offices than Obama. Those that are open are understaffed and demoralized and now the McCain campaign is telling out of state volunteers and community organizers that if they want to help, they’re going to have to do it on their own dime.
Compare that to one of the Obama field offices in my district. I live in the Virginia 2nd district; a heavily Republican district with as far as I can tell no McCain field offices at all. This morning was just like every morning; the phone banks were at capacity (in fact I had to run to the cell phone store to try and get some of their cell phones repaired so they could put more people on the phones), each room was filled to capacity with people putting together canvassing packets and yard signs, and all the canvassing teams were already dispatched and the left over volunteers were patching together makeshift canvassing teams.
I’m guessing that what the McCain campaign really wished it had right now was an army of community organizers they could count on to get out the vote, and had they known that such efforts could have given them a better chance at a come from behind miracle victory on Tuesday, I’m sure they would have taken a much kinder tone towards community organizers.
Now they’re just relegated to wishing they would have kept their mouths shut on the subject.