"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Never fear, Cap'n Toast is here

As the Texas primary looms closer on March 4th, I've been getting increasingly urgent messages from my good buddy Barack Obama. He's been very pleased to tell me how well things are going, and how he's been kicking Hilary's ass. (Actually, I believe the exact phrase he used was "we're on a roll" but I knew what he really meant.) More excitingly, Obama's campaign recently wrote to offer me the chance to become a Precinct Captain here in my little corner of East Texas. According to the email:
Signing up as an Obama Precinct Captain means making a personal commitment to the campaign. But along with that commitment comes the opportunity to be a big part of our strategy in Texas. Here's what Obama Precinct Captains need to do:

* Identify Obama supporters in your community and recruit more -- campaign staff will provide you with a packet of resources to help

* Support Barack in your precinct on March 4th, 2008 and help mobilize neighborhood supporters to join you

You don't need any previous experience to sign up. You just need to support Barack and be ready to turn your energy and enthusiasm into action. It requires some responsibility, but don't worry -- we'll be here with all the materials, training, and support you'll need every step of the way.
I have to admit this seriously appeals to me, as back in my college days I used to be somewhat of a political activist. In 1968 I helped organize local protests against the Vietnam War, mobilized buses to take people to rallies in Washington, and even cut off my long hair to go "Clean for Gene" McCarthy. Yes, I was all the picture of fresh-faced, bright-eyed, clean-cut college student respectability as I canvassed door-to-door trying to get people to vote for him and answer any questions they had about his positions on the issues (at least as best as I understood them at the time). It was a real feeling of empowerment to recruit and mobilize and all that good stuff, and I felt like I was having an ever-so-small yet perceptible impact. McCarthy eventually failed to win the nod (Hubert Humphrey was nominated following the death of Robert Kennedy), but at least I was out there working for something I believed in. After all the talk of "change" this year, you may note that it was being used as a campaign theme 40 years ago.

The main problem for me now, however, is the physical exertion required for all that recruiting and mobilizing; it's not so easy tromping door-to-door when you're sucking on an oxygen canula. However, I can speak on the telephone without difficulty, so I've decided to contact the Obama team and offer to help in that regard. I suspect they'll be more than happy to have me make phone calls on their behalf for an hour or two each day.

You may find it surprising (at least, it certainly is to me) that after months of indecision I have come down firmly on the side of the Obama camp. I'm sure she's a fine person, but there's always been something about Hilary that has made me hesitate from the very beginning -- I can't tell you with any certainty exactly what that "something" is. Perhaps it's her "professional politician" aura that comes from years of association with a political dynasty (i.e., Kennedys, Clintons, Bushes, etc.), which makes me wonder if she'll say almost anything to get elected, or if she's in the race more for personal glory than for wanting to improve the state of the nation. Or maybe she just plain scares me. I get the distinct feeling that if I were to ever cross her, I would be extremely likely to have my balls cut off. That sort of strength might be a good thing when it comes to dealing with the dangers of the world a president has to face, but after suffering through eight years of one mini-dictator I'm not sure I'm ready for another one, even if she might be way more competent and benign than Shrubya.

Nope; I think the simple answer is that I've caught Obama Fever. I don't really know what kind of president he'll make, or if he'll get cooperation from Congress once the post-election honeymoon period is over, but I have a growing sense of optimism that things will be better, and sometimes you just gotta go with your gut.

As you surely know by now, Texas and Ohio have a major importance to the Democrats this time around which hasn't been seen in very many years; most primary balloting has established a clear front-runner by the time they get to us. If Obama continues his momentum and extends his winning streak here, you might as well stick a fork in Hilary's campaign: she'll be done. She can go back to serving her constituents in New York, write a book, and maybe take another shot at it in 2012. There's no doubt the Lone Star is a must-win for her, and if she is able to pull it out of the fire -- particularly in the unlikely event that she decisively pummels Obama by double digits -- it will give her new life and it's on to Mississippi a week later, then Pennsylvania in April. But personally, I believe that Obama is unstoppable at this point.

But can he win the general election in November? A McCain-Obama matchup is going to be interesting, to say the least, and McCain is already taking direct aim at him as his presumptive opponent, stressing how his own combat and P-O-W experience makes him uniquely qualified for the role of commander-in-chief. "Where is the audacity of hope when it comes to backing the success of our troops all the way to victory in Iraq?" McCain said in a statement today after yesterday's Democratic debate in Cleveland, during which Obama pledged to end the war by 2009. "What we heard last night was the timidity of despair."

That kind of tough talk may appeal to those on the right, but Obama fired right back: "John McCain may like to say that he wants to follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell, but so far all he's done is follow George Bush into a misguided war in Iraq that has cost us thousands of lives and billions of dollars." Right on, as we used to say.

So we're getting ready for a good old-fashioned Texas slugfest down here next week. Early voting began Feb. 19th; I've already cast my ballot for Barack, and I'll be on the phone harassing, er, canvassing, potential voters between now and March 4th. Cap'n Toast reporting for duty -- let's rock.


  • At 3/01/2008 06:34:00 PM, Blogger Sphincter said…

    I hope you at least get to wear a cool captain's hat--like the one Cap'n Crunch wears. It seems the least the campaign could provide you for your efforts.


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