David Smolen is an OffTheBus grassroots correspondent. Each week he contributes a campaign journal documenting his life out on the trail.
I am a 35 year-old divorced librarian. I have been canvassing the largely Republican community of Derry, New Hampshire (one of the homes of Robert Frost) for some time now but never have I had a day like today. The voters today appeared to be more engaged than ever before. They were willing to talk to me to an extent I had not experienced previously. It was truly a wonderful day, listening to the views of the people even if they don't agree with me.
Today, on a day that was as beautiful as I can remember with the sun shining and foliage in full bloom, I hit the "black gold" for a canvasser - I literally convinced someone to vote for my candidate - Barack Hussein Obama (there is nothing wrong with the name Hussein!!! We should embrace it lovingly and view it as a source of strength!!!)
It is probably a reach for me to suggest that I actually convinced someone to vote for BHO. This woman (I am always happier to see a woman open the door than man as they are usually more pleasant) was a Hillary supporter and registered Democrat, so she probably would have voted for BHO in any event, but she was still officially undecided. I think what I did today was put a person who was leaning BHO anyway over the top. My appearance on her doorstep forced her to fully confront her feelings on the issue. I can't help but think she wanted to support BHO all along but it was the appearance of a stranger on her front door, who was 110% behind BHO, that made it safe on some level to come out in favor of BHO. Sometimes it is easier to talk to strangers than people you know.
We started off the conversation in the normal way. I told her I was a local volunteer (it is always better to be local than the snotty mas$holes who come up from Cambridge and Somerville and thinks everyone in New Hampshire is inbred and nothing more than white trash), that I lived right next to the Derry traffic circle (she knows where that is), and I was supporting Sen. Barack Obama (didn't say Hussein) for President. I then asked her if she would be willing to tell me (so many NH folks don't want to say who they are voting for as it is a very private matter to them. Not sure if this is unique to NH but probably not) whom she was supporting for president.
When she said she was undecided I asked her what was the most important issue to her, which is standard-operating-procedure for canvassers. As usual she mentioned the economy but then I said something that changed the tone of the conversation. I said something to the effect of "Sen. Obama fundamentally understands the challenges of the 21st century but can the same thing be said of Sen. McCain?" Then she said something wonderful, "I never really thought about it that way." This was the moment where she became an Obama supporter! Once she thought about things on that level, the choice was obvious. After this moment the flood gates were opened!
She immediately condemned the selection of Sarah Palin. She viewed it as an insult to women and a fundamental insight into the judgment of John McCain. I'm not sure the McCain people realize the extent to which middle of the road voters hate the Palin pick. I have had more than one voter tell me they went with Obama after the Palin selection. After that we started talking about health care, in the meantime her 14 year old son came to door and said, I would vote for Obama if I could. Our discussion of health care completely solidified the deal. I informed her of various aspect of the Obama plan and after that she was practically ready to go canvassing herself (perhaps that is an exaggeration)!
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