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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Canvassing for Lamont


Matt Stoller

CT Sen: I came, I saw, I canvassed
by goldberry [Subscribe]
Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 07:41:32 AM PDT

Hi Everyone from the lovely state of Connecticut. I came here yesterday at the urging of Ttargis and Jane Hamsher. As part of my 2 things to do from YearlyKos, I decided to actively support Democratic candidates with good causes. I had time this weekend and CT is only a short drive so here I am.

There's a break in the activities this morning as the Lamont campaign has a major meeting to gird their loins for the last 36 hours. Volunteers have been asked to sit on their hands for a few hours so I have time to update you on what has been going on. Yesterday, I did canvassing and attended an informal party at a local bar in New Haven. The Kiss Float was there, as was the willowy Jane Hamsher. There was also a reporter from the Boston Globe. I'll get to that towards the end.

I arrived at the Lamont HQ in Meriden to find that Gina Cooper of YearlKos fame had already beat me to it. We talked as I the volunteers assembled yard signs. Gina hints that next year's YearlyKos is going to be better than ever. No details but lots of ####### in her eyes.

After a short orientation, we were separated into groups and went canvassing. I was in a party of four with buzzer, portia from Atrios, and a very enthusiastic Irish-American senior who goes by the name Rambleng. My, oh, my, is he an asset to the Lamont campaign. He is charming, has his patter down and is persistent. He registered 6 people in our first canvas. I was in awe.

Our map was a diverse, working class section of Middletown. A lot of people weren't home but we accosted people on the street and got a favorable reactions from everyone. Unlike the LieberYouth, we didn't wear Lamont T-shirts. We just looked like average (but unreasonably cheerful) Joes who were out to turn people on to Ned.

Of the registered Democrats that we contacted, the response was overwhelmingly for Ned. More than a couple of voters asked if Lieberman was a Republican. I got the feeling Republicans aren't liked much anymore. One guy had a Kanye West moment and said with disgust, "Bush doesn't care about us." I didn't bring up Bush, he did. He was very much pro-Ned. It looks like the chickens are coming home to roost. Maybe the primary isn't just about the war. Maybe it's not just about Connecticut's frustration with Lieberman. Maybe the primary is a referendum on Bush. The average Joes out there are very much aware of what and who is responsible for the wreck the Republicans are making of the country and they are going to start holding them, and their enablers, responsible.

After a brief break, I went out again with Millinary Man from FDL. This time, we canvassed a housing project with primarily hispanic voters. This groups had more undecideds. That could be due to the fact that we saw evidence that the LierYouth had already canvassed the are. There were Lieberman doorhangars in several places. I was tempted to remove them but Millinary Man said it would be bad karma and our guy didn't need that kind of help. He was right, of course. We still found a lot of pro-Ned or leaning-Ned voters. Only one voter was definitively pro-Lieberman. The lady had a disabled daughter. I am guessing that Lieberman may have done some good work at one time on the behalf of the disabled. Even though the lady said she was pro-Joe, she took our literature and said she would pass it on to her husband.

One man we reached said she was originally undecided but really didn't like the shenanigans that the Lieberman crew had pulled at Ted's, a local steamed hamburger joint. That seemed to strike him as dirty tricks unbecoming of a Democrat. He was leaning pro-Ned because of it.

After the canvass, we checked back in at HQ and made plans to catch up with the Kiss Float at Sullivan's in New Haven. The Lamont people and bloggers set up camp outside the bar and across the street from the Kiss Float. Jane came. She looks a bit thinner and paler than she did in Vegas. Get some rest, Jane. We need you.

The bloggers just can't help themselves. There were several at an outside table with their mac laptops open, typing away madly. Of course, I took a picture so I could post it eventually. And a volunteer who I will call B. took a picture of me taking a picture of the bloggers blogging away. B. made an important point that when you are in the moment, enjoy the moment, don't blog about it. You can talk about it later.

Anyway, at some point during the party, the sidewalk started getting crowded and noisy and we were having a good time when some gits waving Lieberman signs started weaving in and out of our crowd. To be honest, they weren't really problematic. There were only a handful and I got the impression that they didn't know what the heck they were doing. No organization or game plan. Just a bunch of kids waving signs. They drove past us as they were leaving and one of our crew said, "How much did they pay you to do that?" They creamed, "NOTHING!".

So not only were they silly and ineffective, they were stupid.

I was just about to leave when I got collared my Michael Grynbaum of the Boston Globe. He was doing a story on the influence of bloggersin the CT Senate primary and was comparing/contrasting local vs. national blogs. I took the bait and gave a short interview (Forgive me Kos).

I think the press is looking for a new meme to explain the blogging phenomenon. They haven't quite got it yet. Michael referred to DailyKos as the "Blog of Record", which I found amusing. I explained that I thought the blogs were not an echo chamber but could expand a sphere of influence. We don't have the kind of power that many politicians and news media people are afraid of (but who knows what will happen in the future?). We can shape opinion to a certain extant. We can express a different point of view than the tradiditonal media. But more than that is that blogs serve as nucleation sites where people can meet, talk, refine their messages, organize and get active. Did the blogs cause Connecticut voters to tun on Lieberman? No, the frustration was already out there. The blogs just gave that frustration a voice.

Another thing that kind of piqued my curiosity was his line of questioning about the size of the readership. I got the feeling that he thought some of us are trying to gain readership for our own personal fame and glory. I have to admit to a certian amount of vanity when one of my diaries gets recommended but that is hardly why I come here to read and write. If I were to take a guess, I would say this line of questioning reflects a certain amount of insecurity among reporters. Are we blogging because we think we are journalists? Ummm, no. We just have certain opinions and experiences that we like to share with one another. Michael, your gig is safe from bloggers, unless you don't do your homework and we end up having to do your research. We need the traditional media. We just want you guys to do a better job reporting the truth, whether it is favorable or not to Democrats. Op/Ed columnists, on the other hand, should be considering second careers. The richness and diversity in the blogoshere in that area far exceeds that in the traditional media.

Anyway, Michael, if you misquote me, I'll send some Kossacks around to give you a wedgie.

I threw in the standard disclaimer about not representing the entire membership at DKos. For anything that reflects badly on DKos, mea culpa.

So, Kossacks, I am going to wrap this up. I have to check out of the hotel. I'm afraid I don't have time to edit so please don't be too harsh. Today, I expect to do a bit more canvassing and then head back home in the late afternoon. I'll be watching the polls closely on Tuesday like many of you from the comfort of my own home.

One last thing: I met Ned yesterday as I was about to go canvassing for the first time. The man is a professional tanner. He looked relaxed, cheerful and impeccably dressed in urban casual clothing. His demeanor is kind of modest. It is absolutely charming. He talked to us briefly and it became clear that even though he had a lot to do, he hadn't quite mastered the knack of exiting like a politician. There was an awkward moment of silence and then he said, "Well, thanks for all your help. I have to go now." or something like that. He's genuine. He's a quick study. He is going to kill on Tuesday.

posted by Steve @ 2:20:00 PM

2:20:00 PM

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