Hope everyone in Sandy’s path is hunkered down & staying safe. Here in the Boston area it’s just rain so far, but just about every school system will be closed tomorrow & Mayor Menino is telling people to ‘stay home if they can’…
Nice little piece by Molly Ball in the Atlantic on “The Ground Game That Could Put Him Over the Top“:
… While Obama’s office in Sterling is one of more than 800 across the country — concentrated, of course, in the swing states — Romney commands less than half that number, about 300 locations. In the swing states, the gap is stark… But the difference isn’t just quantitative, it’s qualitative. I visited Obama and Romney field offices in three swing states — Ohio, Colorado and Virginia — dropping in unannounced at random times to see what I could see. There were some consistent, and telling, differences.
Obama’s office suite in Sterling was in an office park next to a dentist’s office. The front window was plastered with Obama-Biden signs, the door was propped open, and the stink bugs that plague Virginia in the fall crawled over stacks of literature — fliers for Senate candidate Tim Kaine, Obama bumper stickers — piled on a table near the front reception desk. In rooms in front and back, volunteers made calls on cell phones, while in the interior, field staffers hunched over computers. One wall was covered with a sheet of paper where people had scrawled responses to the prompt, “I Support the President Because…”, while another wall held a precinct-by-precinct list of neighborhood team leaders’ email addresses.
Only about a mile down the road was the Republican office, a cavernous, unfinished space on the back side of a strip mall next to a Sleepy’s mattress outlet. On one side of the room, under a Gadsden flag (“Don’t tread on me”) and a poster of Sarah Palin on a horse, two long tables of land-line telephones were arrayed. Most of the signs, literature, and buttons on display were for the local Republican congressman, Frank Wolf. A volunteer in a Wolf for Congress T-shirt was directing traffic, sort of — no one really seemed to be in charge and there were no paid staff present, though there were several elderly volunteers wandering in and out. The man in the T-shirt allowed me to survey the room but not walk around, and was unable to refer me to anyone from the Romney campaign or coordinated party effort…
In a technical sense, the Romney campaign actually does not have a ground game at all. It has handed over that responsibility to the Republican National Committee, which leads a coordinated effort intended to boost candidates from the top of the ticket on down. The RNC says this is an advantage: The presidential campaign and the local campaigns aren’t duplicating efforts, and the RNC was able to start building its ground operation to take on Obama in March, before Romney had secured the GOP nomination.
“The Romney campaign doesn’t do the ground game,” Rick Wiley, the RNC’s political director, told me. “They have essentially ceded that responsibility to the RNC. They understand this is our role.” The disadvantage of this is that the RNC is composed of its state Republican Parties, which vary dramatically in quality. States like Florida and Virginia have strong Republican operations, while those in Iowa and Nevada haven’t recovered from attempted takeovers by Ron Paul partisans, and the Ohio GOP still bears the scars of a protracted leadership fight earlier in the year…
On the “tongue firmly in cheek” front, also at the Atlantic, Connor Simpson explains why Harry Reid just might be the Highlander.
What other news are we overlooking? Anybody want to report in from south of New York City?
The prophet Nostradumbass
Fuck the Giants.
We’re having a beautiful night here. Crisp and cool with a perfect moon. I’ve had my windows and doors open all day!
Taking a brief break from politics to say, Giants win the World Series! What a great performance, so happy for Zito, Scutaro and the rest of those guys…
Gets the hose again; how apropos.
Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason
So my O’s woulda got wiped by the Tiggers if they’d made it past the FTFYs, but if miracles happened and they made it by Detroit, they woulda got wiped by SF? Nah. They’d’ve beat ’em all if Jeter had broke his ankle a day earlier.
Anyway, here in South PA we’ve got a bit of drizzle so far. I see by the storm track that Sandy will be right on top of us Tuesday afternoon. Looks like it’ll be windy, but not all that much rain.
When the Giants come to town. It’s Bye Bye Baby!
Hrm. Somehow this description of the respective offices is very reminiscent of the 2008 election.
Also, the Romney campaign’s ceding of the effort suggests to me that a) they are wholly understaffed and underprepared for the ground game, b) they will be extremely ineffective at their job, c) they have absolutely NO conception of working together as a team with the local group to boost each others’ efforts and d) they really, really, really don’t know what the hell they’re doing.
…they were counting on the voter suppression tactics. Oops.
Thanks for this post, BTW, it cheered me up.
Hope it inspires everyone to contact their local GOTV outfit and put in a day before the election and do something on election night. Might be a high yield election night for door knockers and phoners.
I’d pie you-know-what if I didn’t think it would just have another name 12 hours from now
@gwangung: e) they’re still operating on the assumption that they are owed votes because they’re our betters, and don’t have to work for them.
@The Dangerman: Hm. That, too.
@TooManyJens: Well, Romney probably is. His underlings are clueful enough to KNOW better, but probably love their paychecks too much to SAY differently.
@gwangung: Probably true.
That’s funny. I guess it IS him. I thought it was someone satirically presenting the dumbest conservative counterargument he could come up with.
Oh, baseball was happening wasn’t it?
Key words there: “we baked”
All hail pie filter dude!
@Hoosier75: And yet you’re still here.
Apparently Annonymous has warned Romney and Karl Rove to not try any hanky panky stealing the election results, or Anon. will go after them personally, or something. (Read it on twitter earlier.)
Y’all on the East Coast saty safe and dry and warm, and keep your heads down. You’re in my thoughts, etc.
@gwangung: That and they knew that they could never get the volunteers necessary. There are lots of people who would volunteer for the Obama campaign who would never volunteer for the DNC. Nobody likes Mitt Romney so not enough volunteers available. The RNC on the other hand can pay people to make calls, register voters and GOTV, but passionate volunteers are worth a whole lot more than paid staffers and far less likely to engage in shenanigans to make more money.
It’s pretty telling that the RNC considers itself to be a wholly separate entity from the Romney campaign.
@Hoosier75: Nobody care what Rinse His Penis says about anything.
Did the troll change it’s name again?
In Center City Philadelphia at the moment, not much weather happening – no wind, no rain. The city’s pretty much closed for Monday, though – even the public transit is supposed to shut up shop in a couple of hours.
Do you remember that the Romney and Paul campaigns were the only ones in the R primary who had even bothered to get their candidate’s name on the ballots in all 50 states? They were all much less organized and efficient that Romney.
@lol: They won’t admit it, but all they are trying to do now is save the House. Willard is a non mutha f*ckin factor at this point.
That, and it’s Romney’s general “I want to RULE, not actually, y’know, do shit. That’s what Congress, the Party, and all these other people are for. I’m just here to rubber stamp their work, take the credit and enjoy the perks.”
Well, that’s … novel.
Keep in mind that both campaigns have raised about the same amount of money, about $1,000,000,000. Obama was smarter on TV buys and he’s smarter on the ground.
I hope that the Republicans continue thinking that there’s nothing they can learn from a black man in 2016 too.
Just an anecdote from today; here in Southern NV, we got our 3rd in-person OFA visit, this one aimed at my new-voting daughter. We asked the volunteer why they’d come back so often, & she said that they had so many people knocking on doors that there was no way to avoid repeat visits (which was good to hear, I guess).
We’ve gotten 1-2 phone calls a week as well. The volunteers are always friendly & very knowledgeable. I’m heading over to phone call myself later in the week. It really seems impossible that this organized of a ground game won’t make a huge difference.
I’m glad to hear the storm hasn’t hit Boston too hard. My little sister’s in school out there, and though she’s technically an adult, she’s still the baby of the family, y’know?
Hope all you BJers stay safe tonight!
Ok, with this little pickme up I can now go to sleep. Its 1:00 am here and I’m too wired and anxious and have been watching leverage, season 4, on my computer while Mr. Aimai sleeps the sleep of the just. I’ve become panicked with the thought that Sandy is going to ruin election day and that …I can’t even bring myself to contemplate a sceinario where Romney wins. I mean I just. can’t.go.there. But thanks to your anecodtes and etc… I’m going to try to knock myself on the head and pass out.
@TexasMango: Hm. I think Obama out volunteered Walnuts as well; and I’ll bet that the Democratic nominee in 2016 will out-volunteer whovever the Republican nominee is as well….
@Nutella: Damn. Good point. Romney actually IS the most organized of the Republicans.
Guess that plays into my prediction for 2016 to TexasMango….
Well, Obama is just smarter. Period.
One of the few politicians I feel is both book smarter and street smarter than I am. I have RARELY thought or said, “How could you miss that?”
I’m in Maryland, outside the DC area, and I’m making ice with ice cubes (as much as I can at least). I got rolls, UHT milk and toilet paper (that’s the joke here). I have boxes of Enbrel (for my RA, sure click pens) and pet insulin for my kitty so I’m hoping the ice I have will keep the meds cold enough not to spoil. I have crackers and peanut butter and I’m lucky to have a gas stove. My prayers are with everyone that will be affected by this storm. I don’t know about the other states but Maryland early voting is closed, at least for Monday.
@aimai: Heh. I bet you didn’t get to the Leverage Season 4 finale.
On the other hand, Nate Ford would actually get along well with Obama….
(Speaking of which….doing a first reading of the first act of a play I’m writing:
And it’s an unabashed LEVERAGE ripoff….)
Don’t let them fool you. Their Obama is dumb shtick plays to the base, but they know he has built an amazing campaign organization. Hell, the wingnuts have desperately tried to incorporate some of Obama’s technological tools into their campaign this cycle, but it hasn’t worked as well because it’s essentially a trial run for them. The RNC is about where Obama was in ’07, when he was just getting his campaign infrastructure off the ground.
@Hill Dweller: Personally, I thought they’d be a lot further long. It’s a lot easier when someone’s shown you how to do it.
Perhaps it’s their a) long reliance on evangelical churches for the ground game, and b) their authoritarian mindset that’s hampering them.
I had tried to go to sleep early, but… So I turned on the TV and fired up the computer. Waiting for something to happen is straining my patience.
Higgs Boson's Mate
Good luck and godspeed to everyone in the path of Sandy. Rode out a few of those things down on the Gulf coast and there’s no such thing as being too prepared.
Just raining here in NoVA right now, but everyone has gone batshit crazy. Schools closed, fed gov’t closed, Metro shut down…..even got an e-mail from the Tim Kaine campaign earlier urging everyone to TAKE DOWN THEIR YARD SIGNS lest the winds morph them into flying projectiles of death.
I’m seeing some invisible comments on here. Did a certain friend of the site managed to get hisself banned?
I guess it turns community organizing skills come in handy in times like these.
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing re: signs we have, thanks for reminding me.
Seems to be the case, clicking on the link sends me to the page top.
I have talked to Republicans who were proud of their lack of volunteers, because “Republicans all have jobs and are too busy to do stuff for free.”
Hey whatever gives them hope.
@MikeJ: Oh? So they must think of voting as a job, and they have to pay people to vote….
(Ghah. That’s just a stupid sentiment…We’re talking collective, mass behavior here. You’re an impractical dreamer if you think you can do it without volunteers..)
@MikeJ: Oh, dear Lord. Talk about betraying your contempt for anyone not like you.
@MikeJ: Oh yeah, that’s a tried and true part of the wingnut catechism. They don’t do demonstrations because they have jobs, they don’t answer phone polls because they have jobs, etc. It’s a big thing to them. Kind of like how every time they DO have a demonstration or rally, they’ll brag about how they didn’t leave a speck of garbage behind, regardless of whether there are big heaps of garbage everywhere. These are their organizing fables of the cardinal virtues of their community.
Or at least he’s smarter if the goal is to win the Presidency. Mitt has done a much better job at providing grift to his cronies. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find some of that money filtering back to his personal account by devious routes. It’s all a matter of priorities.
Remember the Republican attitude toward competence and it’s easier to understand. You can bet that they’re contracting their development out to the best connected firm, not the most capable.
@Roger Moore: D’oh!
(ETA: This reminds me of David Weber and his increasingly long winded series. I used to think his villains were all cartoonish caricatures, until I realized they fit the current Republican party to a “T”.)
Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason
Bread, milk, and toilet paper. The Maryland snowstorm trinity!
It’s just the usual “heads you lose tails I win claptrap.” If they can rally masses of people, it proves they’re popular and loved. If they can’t, it proves their people have jobs and those who outrally them don’t and suck.
@Chris: Hm. That doesn’t impress a person like me, who has a 40+hr/week job, and still manages to organize a mess of people on a volunteer basis.
In fact, that sort of argument makes me think, “Geez. What a loser.”
@Roger Moore: And the lowest bidder. It’s always about the lowest bidder.
@Yutsano: To bring it back to @aimai: ‘s comment, Nate Ford would find it MUCH more comfortable to be working in the Republican side of things.
“Let’s go steal us an election.”
@Roger Moore: If you recall, the Romney campaign gave out bonuses to top management right after the Republican Convention. Their attitudes definitely come from the world of finance, not pay-for-performance.
NE Ohio is cold and wet and cold and wet and has been alldamnday and it will be cold and wet forever.
This business about Anonymous warning Karl Rove is mighty interesting…
It’s in character. Anonymous is apolitical but given to self-aggrandizement, and its abilities are not about delivering a ground game, its abilities are in hacking and social engineering. The Republicans are really easy meat for Anonymous- and look at the potential rewards, and how things are phrased.
They never said ‘authorities’ were United States authorities- or even governmental authorities of any sort. Anonymous may consider public exposure the highest authority.
More relevantly, in doing this Anonymous is taking a dominant position over not only the republicans, but also the entire mainstream media- a media it despises and probably envies. I think Anonymous on the whole views the MSM as another Anonymous, but a corrupt one- a worthy, equally decentralized adversary. It is not really taking direct orders from ‘Karl Rove’ (a useful shorthand for right wing authoritarianism), but its behavior is emergent.
Anonymous is given to romantic causes, punishment of severe douchebaggery, the humiliation of the powerful or would-be powerful, and dramatic pronouncements. They are good at harassment through electronic means and breaking up systems.
Right now, the Romney machine depends entirely on manipulation of electronic voting and their control of a compliant but treacherous media to bring in a win (or to claim they had one when they did not).
This threatens the manipulation of votes in a direct way, but more importantly than that, it is a nearly irresistible shiny object the media could seize on. I say, this IS Anonymous issuing this warning, it is a breaking story of great significance, and it needs to blow up.
Because who knows electronic hacking and cheating better than Anonymous? To catch a thief…
How ironic that Mitt’s own arrogant laziness might be the thing that costs him his dearest ambition.
Just talked to an old friend who lives in Red Bank NJ about five miles from the ocean…no rain yet to speak of, but the trees are bent over continuously at about a 15-20 degree angle and he’s starting to hear the hurricane sound (they were there during Irene). Said it’s going to be a little sporty tonight, and that a lot of rich folks with expensive beach homes are going to REALLY take a hit, along with a lot of oceanfront businesses, unfortunately. Didn’t anticipate any real problems where they are, and I sincerely hope he’s right since they’re on kind of a peninsula between the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers…
I’m going to repeat my whiny plea for Ohio helpers:
You don’t have to check with OFA. There are OFA field offices in every county. You may just go to the area you choose. I would suggest that some people come to the NW rural counties, specifically, Henry and Defiance counties, because there are fewer active Democrats in GOP counties, and everyone is tired.
We had a lovely couple come out from Massachusetts to my (rural, GOP) county, they worked a weekend and went home. They actually canvassed my house Saturday (looking for my son who wasn’t home, but he early-voted Friday, which I told them).
Obama won’t carry GOP counties, he didn’t in ’08, but the idea here is to get Democrats out to blunt Romney’s edge in rural counties.
@danielx: My aunt’s not far from there, in Atlantic Highlands. She’s up in the hills, so more likely to sustain wind/tree damage.
My mom went down to get my grandmother from Spring Lake a few days ago, and offered to take Aunt back to the Poconos, but she’s committed to sitting it out.
ETA: Also, too, this is a very amusing weather bulletin, capped by a less amusing picture of Governor Mook. I mean Christie. Governor Christie.
This plus turning public employees into thugs, defunding Planned Parenthood, and ramping up ALEC. I’d even bet they came up with all this stuff in that meeting they had during the Obama inauguration.
So where are all these people who give Romney such an edge in some polls? Did they just “self organize”?
I am completely confused. I have been working canvassing for O in North VA — while some whites will not talk, I don’t see the energy for Romney in yard signs or other overt efforts. That said, these people are engergized enough to make this razor thin race? Romney has proven himself completely without any core integrity of any kind — saying almost anything to anybody — and yet he is challenging Obama — really? We will have to see how this all comes out. I really am not getting it…
Paul in KY
I suggest that if anyone has an Obama/Biden yard sign out that they participate in Halloween (handing out candy).
We want the bah-humbuggers to be sporting the Rmoney signs.
If you ride with Obama, you get the candy!
@R-Jud: I’d reverse that – an unamusing bulletin from NWS and a very amusing picture of Governor Mook. He really doesn’t have a neck, does he?
Higgs Boson's Mate
When comparing how the two campaigns have spent their money I concluded that Romney’s weak ground game is a direct result of his business career. He made money by acquiring enterprises, bleeding them dry for himself and his associates, and then dumping the remains. Like any scorpion, he can’t help but sting the frog.
@Higgs Boson’s Mate: Probably. He’s been running for President since 2006; he’s had plenty of time to get an organization together.
Not to be a worry wart, but as I understand it, a large part of Republican GOTV is run outside of the official party organs. In other words, they’ve outsourced to Ralph Reed and the evangelical wing to get church members out. This is sometimes why the numbers seem off from what the official ground game activities would suggest.
And just as an aside. Ralph Reed – could anyone have invented a more despicable person?
They hate Romney, but they hate Obama more. Hate is a powerful motivator. Hate will get them to the polls and vote for a worthless thug.
That would be an ironic denouement. Personally, I think that, in addition to his sense of arrogant entitlement, he assumed he and his corporate cronies could simply buy the election.
There’s a very big gap between registered voters and likely voters. Several pollsters, for whatever reason, seem to think the electorate is going to more resemble 2010 than 2008. Cell phones are also making a big difference this year.
Thanks for posting the article Anne Laurie. I read it yesterday when one of the commentors linked to it (JPL?). It does paint a rather stark difference between the two campaigns, no? One plea here, don’t forget your local races. We are working to try to get a super majority in both the Assembly and the Senate in California, which would make the Republican Party completely irrelevant. We only need a couple seats in each house. That’s worth working and fighting for as well.
Sorry — still doesn’t add up. There are not enough evangelicals to make the polls this tight. Ralph Reed has made the most difference in low turnout Congressional elections where small volumes can swing things radically. If you are to believe these polls, there is a huge groundswell of non religious Romney supporters just aching to vote. Also, that there are so many people who hate Obama, that it is enough to truly overwhelm any success he has had as President -? Sorry — this is just not making sense right now…
From your keyboard to FSM’s ears!
I live in a college town in N.C., a bubble of blue in an ocean of red, and every election I am gobsmacked by the way the GOP generally pulls it off here. This year we are doing massive GOTV in the blue areas trying to get ALL of our folks to the polls. We have no illusions we’ll convince the people outside of Durham/Chapel Hill, Charlotte, and Asheville to vote for the blah guy, but if we can get everyone in the populated (and, oddly, educated) areas to the polls, the Democrats win.
Believe me, I am not a false optimist. In fact, I am fairly cynical and do believe some fairly weird stuff may be going on behind the scenes… I can’t name it or define it — but I am very suspicious…
I finished my Saturday morning shift at OFA office around 2 p.m. and there were at least 10 volunteers working the afternoon shift at the site in New Kensington, PA. These volunteers were working even though there was a Rally with Bruce Springsteen in Pittsburgh Saturday. I passed the local “republican victory center” on my way home and it was closed up, lights off, and parking lot empty on Saturday afternoon around 2:15 p.m.
None of my neighbors displaying Thurston Howell/Munster, I mean Romney/Ryan signs seem to be volunteering at all which is a good sign. Romney’s support seems very lukewarm here in spite of the proliferation of signs.
“Sarah Palin on a horse”
Paul in KY
@gumbo957: Hitler was pretty bad, IMO.
Didn’t this GOP office get the memo that Sarah Palin is now persona non grata?
Guess not. Pretty revealing that Palin is still a shining star to the people manning this office.
Anyone else in DC? I signed up to phone bank (it’s in the Dupont area) starting at 5. I’m in AdMo, so not too far, but if there are hellacious gusts of wind and rain, I dunno.
I’m in Alexandria and its blowing and raining much more strongly than before…
Crossing our fingers that we keep our electricity — unlike during the Derecho in the summer when we were in the dark in 100 degree weather for three days!
@DrewJohn: Honestly I would stay home. I’m from Texas and just moved to Baltimore. I can tell you Hurricanes ain’t no joke. It’s just gonna get worse tonight, and now the storm is moving *really* fast — faster than predicted. This means more high winds further inland. Stay home & safe.
Wasn’t that the Season 3 Finale?