Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Back from New Hampshire

Well I'm back from New Hampshire and I finally got my "always on internet connection" back up. For the political junkie, going to NH for the waning days of a contested primary must be somewhat akin to going to Mecca. I'm glad I finally made the pilgrimmage.

I would vote for ABB, but I have to really believe in a person to risk frostbite just to provide "visibility." In addition to "visibility," I called voters and entered voter data. There was a great deal of positive energy at Clark HQ and some very good people. At times, things seemed a little chaotic on the volunteer end of things, but enthusiasm never wavered and I suspect that had something to do with countering the conventional polling wisdom that Edwards had eclipsed Clark by about 2-3 points the day before. A win at Dixville Notch probably wasn't bad news for undecided NH voters to wake up to, either. And in a close race in a crowded, well-liked field, never underestimate the value of being first on the ballot.

New Hampshire residents are, by-in-large, friendly people. Of course, many of the Republicans are nasty, as they are anywhere. My interactions with volunteers from other campaigns were very positive. While doing visibility, I was only flipped-off and cussed at by Bush-loving, mankind-hating Repugs. Big surprise.

What the campaign officially called "volunteer housing" was referred to by actual volunteers as the "crack house" or the "flop house." As bad as it was, it was superior to the "Y." Again, these were committed folks. There are a ton of bright, inspired young people out there, which was reassuring.

Headquarters was located in what appeared to be an old mill and it was not the easiest place to find. I guess Clark got more space for the money, but less visibility. On the flip-side, parking was not a problem. Even Kucinich was on the main drag (Elm Street), not that it did him any good. Dean even had his volunteer HQ located right next to prime polling place in Manchester. He also had the best "Y" reserved for his troops. These are the advantages to starting early-- not that it did him a lot of good, either.

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