PHOENIX, Ariz. -- I live here, in John McCain's roundhouse, in the Maverick's back yard, the home state of the Rupublican Party's presumptive nominee. I signed up at the McCain's website a month or so ago to see how the campaign was gearing up for the general election. I filled out an online form to be contacted for local happenings. I sent an email letting them know that I'd like to know what's happening.
I received a grand total of zero emails in response.
Last Tuesday, Bush and McCain hosted a local fundraiser on the same day that Michelle Obama hosted a local fundraiser. The McCain campaign rented a reception room about a block away from the reception room rented by the Obama campaign. Although the Obama fundraiser was sold out, McCain had to move his to a more "intimate setting" -- with the president of the United States in tow.
I decided that I must be missing something. This is John McCain's home state of thirty years. He must have events happening here, a troupe of highly motivated supporters and organizers throughout the state making battle plans. I thought maybe there was just a problem with the McCain Arizona webteam, a few inept techies failing to send emails to local supporters. Maybe they're relying on old-fashioned phone trees or word of mouth.
So, I went to the McCain website and clicked on State Contact Information. Surprise, surprise. There is no contact information for any office in Arizona. Again, I thought, their webteam must be inept -- I mean, they failed to put any Arizona contact information on the page.
So, I called headquarters, which, by the way, is located in Virginia (a pretty good indicator that McCain is more at home in DC than Arizona).
I pushed #3 for "Interested in Volunteering" and was patched through to a guy named John (not the John, I hoped, but wondering at that point whether in fact his campaign was that pitiful.
I said: "John, what's happening in Arizona?" and John informed me that the McCain campaign does not have state operations up and running yet in Arizona, but they are working on it.
Incredulously, I retorted, "You mean to tell me that there is nothing happening in John McCain's home state?" He sheepishly responded, "Not yet."
I called the Obama headquarters to see what they would say about getting involved in Arizona. After all, they don't have an office here either, and maybe they would give the same answer. Again, I pressed the number for "Interested in Volunteering" (this option is number one for Obama but three for McCain) and was connected to a lady who asked if I had web access and then told me how to go to the Obama website, register, look up events, join local groups, invite my friends, and even post an event of my own. She actually went to the website herself and listed off local groups I might be interested in joining and events I might be interested in attending. This was Tuesday night, election night.
On the Obama side, there was this watch party and that watch party and this voter registration drive and this book club party for Dreams of My Father and 22 other events within 250 miles of my house. Today is Thursday and at 10:30 a.m. there are 25 events scheduled in the same radius.
I thought, this can't be right. John McCain cannot possibly have organized nothing in his home state while Barack Obama has a plethora of events organized by ordinary citizens right here in the Maverick's backyard?
So, I called John McCain's headquarters again, just to confirm. This time I wanted to talk to someone other than John. To my disbelief a woman named Hillary answered the phone. I paused. Hillary, I'm not kidding. I told her that that was ironic, her name and her working with John to elect a Republican president. Clearly piqued, she remarked, "I get that a lot."
I told Hillary that I had just spoken with John (again, not the John) who told me nothing is happening in McCain's home state of Arizona. She confirmed that, indeed, nothing is happening in Arizona with the McCain campaign but that efforts are currently underway to setup a campaign office somewhere in McCain's home state.
She told me to call back in a week or two.
Meantime, I'll keep reporting on the dozens of Obama events.