Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tomorrow's election: doesn't look good

Well, we hope for the best in today's election. My wife and I did some phone bank work last night for Martha Coakley, and it wasn't any fun at all. I've done lots of political grunt work including phoning, but the response this time was depressing. Unlike calling for Obama, when even the occasional McCain supporter was relatively polite (but firm), most people last night were testy. The new telemarketing system the campaigns are using make the calls quickly and relentlessly, and most immediately went to the answering machine. The calls that did get a human response made it clear why most folks had their machines on: everyone had already been called numerous times -- robo-calls mostly, though also lots of volunteers like me with cheerful faux-naive messages: "Just calling to find out if you're planning to vote tomorrow." A lot of calls were from out of state.

After answering machine pickups, the most common result was either an immediate hang-up or a hang-up after I had said about 10 words of my spiel. The number of people with whom I actually spoke were pretty much evenly divided between Brown and Coakley supporters. Hardly anyone was in the mood to discuss or argue issues, which we were instructed not to do anyway.

Of course Brown and the Republicans are beneath contempt, for reasons which I have made explicit in the blog many times. Voters supporting them seem aggressively defensive and totally illogical. The most common line of unreason is: "Yes, I supported Obama and the Democrats last election, but I expected them to help us. They turned out to be just tax and spend; I hate Obama-care -- it's too expensive; and I don't like Martha Coakley."

Well fine. The Democrats haven't solved many problems but I want to yell at the complainers: "So you'll elect a member of the party that created the problems? You want the Democrats to create jobs, pay unemployment benefits, and lower healthcare costs? How? By cutting taxes and continuing deregulation? By ignoring problems in our healthcare system? And what programs and legislation does the Party of The Rich offer you?"

I have decided not to make any more calls today. Anyone who doesn't know about today's election or can't decide things at this point probably shouldn't vote anyway -- they might pencil in Rush Limbaugh or Attila the Hun.

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