Monday, November 03, 2008

My peon-volunteer eye view of 2004 and 2008 campaigns

In 2004 I was a higher level peon volunteer than I am this time around. I don't think commitments are supposed to proceed in that direction, but I feel this campaign has less of a need for my time, and I now have personal commitments.

In '04 I was about the third volunteer lawyer to arrive on the Kerry team in Orlando and spent my two weeks there, mostly helping organize the 130 lawyers who arrived for election day. This time I spent a weekend canvassing door-to-door out of state, did some phone calling yesterday and will probably do some more tomorrow.

One surprising thing is that my canvassing weekend three weeks ago didn't feel like it was with a more resource-rich organization than what I saw in '04. All volunteer-driven, not a lot of money being spent. On the other hand, the scale of the effort then seemed comparable to what I saw in Orlando on the weekend before the election. Maybe the vaunted Obama ground game is about spreading out the organizational effort instead of gold-plating it.

The other thing that's different is that I was aware in '04 of tensions between city-level, Florida-state level, and national-level campaigns, but I'm not hearing about that now. I'm also not as well positioned to hear it in '08, but from the outside at least, it seems like a well-oiled machine.


I just looked back at my posts for November and October 2004. I was much more personally involved and invested then. Interesting in that I like Obama somewhat better than Kerry. Here's one thing from the day after the '04 election:

So I've returned back home. I somehow weigh what I did before I left, despite an exclusive diet of junk food and Coke. I climbed at the gym tonight, and it seemed to go like it did before I left for Orlando. And we have the same president. Except that we will still have him until January 20, 2009. That seems so depressingly far off. I can't stand it, I'm not going to think about it right now.

Even nightmares come to an end.

UDATE, 11/4: Went into the Silicon Valley Obama HQ this morning to do a few more phone calls. At 7:30 a.m., the place was packed and I had to sit on chairs outside to make calls.

Probably the best thing I've done for the campaign though is this September blog post refuting a lying email that went around. My site stats showed over 200 referral links just to that post (a lot for me), and the info was hopefully used elsewhere. I'm not a blogging triumphalist normally, but that counts for something.

Biggest regret is not doing more to fight the homophobic Proposition 8 here in California. Crossing my fingers on that one.

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