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November 11th, 2008
12:35 PM ET

How a Republican learned to love Obama and win Pennsylvania

Blake Cabot
Technology Entrepreneur

I’m a fiscal conservative, and have been a Republican all my life. Although the social values issues pushed by Republicans over the past two decades have never appealed to me, I believe in international trade and less government, as long as it’s not accompanied by a ballooning deficit. And I expect competence.

But there has been no accountability in the Bush Administration: After Abu Ghraib and the disasters of Iraq, Bush didn’t fire Rumsfeld or any other senior member of his staff. So John Kerry had my vote in 2004, though I wasn’t happy about it. And adding $5 trillion to the debt - as Bush has done - is not fiscally conservative.

McCain’s idea of lowering taxes for everyone across the board – when we’re already adding hundreds of billions of dollars of debt – pushed me over the edge. And then to have Republicans call Obama a socialist, while they were nationalizing a huge part of the national economy – well, that has nothing to do with the Republican Party that I grew up in.

By contrast, Obama’s take on issues made a lot of sense to me, and he was inspiring as a public speaker – especially his speech in Iowa about how this whole country needed drastic changes.

So I decided this was the election of my generation and signed up to go work for Obama in mid-summer. On September 13th, I headed to Camp Obama in Brooklyn. The camp felt very much like business school training, focusing on motivation, management techniques, and specific tasks to be done in the field. Ten days later I was on my way to Lebanon, Pennsylvania as a deputy field organizer.

Lebanon is a largely Republican county in the middle of the state. Once a German Dutch settlement, the area had gone from union Democrat to socially conservative Reagan Republican, and remained overwhelmingly white.

I stayed at the home of local volunteers who housed me for over six weeks. I would come back often exhausted late in the evening, but there was Don, waiting up for me, to make sure I was home safe and fill me in on what had been happening. Toward the end of the campaign, as the nights became longer and more grueling, I found myself getting back at 4 or 5 a.m. There was Don, more than once, waking up and giving me a hug. My host couple couldn’t have been more wonderful.

My first task in Lebanon was to organize the various lists of potential voters that came from VoteBuilder, the online DNC database, and handed out to various volunteers and team leaders. At Camp Obama, they had said that no one was going to win this election through data entry. That, however, was exactly what I found myself doing.

My other focus initially was on registering people to vote.

Accompanied by another volunteer with some obvious drug dependency issues, I went out on a registration drive, going from door to door in a poorer part of town. Next to a Chinese restaurant on North 9th Street, we visited a seedy bar, and then a tract house that a man in the bar claimed was a crack house. There were three friendly African-Americans men in front, one of them well informed about politics. So I registered them to vote. As the district leader later commented, “Welcome to retail politics.”

On that same trip, I went to a rundown old age home, looking to persuade voters to register or vote for Obama. I met the head nurse and asked whether she was registered to vote. She said that she couldn’t because she was on parole. I responded that the law had changed two years ago and only felons serving time could not vote. Though she registered a dozen of the residents at the home, she would not register herself. I felt that she felt so defeated by the system that she wouldn’t ever vote.

Some local college teachers allowed us to register students in their classes. In that spirit, I approached the football team at Lebanon Valley College, arriving after practice to find all these rather large, sweating guys. Their coach told them to take a knee and discussed the importance of this election. They dutifully filled out their registration forms on top of their football helmets. That was the good story about canvassing at the college. I found registering the liberal arts students at LVC less rewarding. Very few seemed to have the basic ability to fill out the form. The word “municipality” stumped quite a number.

Most of the voters that we registered came from four volunteers standing in front of the local Wal-Mart. Often people would say that “they don’t vote” or that “politicians were all crooks”. One significant Christian denomination in the area, the Mennonites, don’t vote, but instead pray for their candidate. As they were unlikely Obama supporters, I was not disappointed.

One day at Wal-Mart, I asked a blond woman in her mid-30s whether she was registered to vote, and it came out that she believed Barack Obama was the Anti-Christ. I said, “First off, I might understand your not voting in general, but you have to vote against the Anti-Christ!” Coming from Texas and a Baptist high school, I knew how the end of the times worked. After registering her, I added that the whore of Babylon had not declared the Anti-Christ god in the temple of Israel. In fact, the Bible prophesies in Revelation 17:3 and in Thessalonians 2:4 to that the Anti-Christ will appear after the destroyed Temple of Israel was rebuilt and the whore identified him as God.

“No temple, no Anti-Christ.” I found myself saying this often in Lebanon. The woman at wal-Mart understood immediately and said, “You know, you’re right. Anyhow the Anti-Christ is supposed to be Mediterranean.”

The election shifted in our favor after the first debate on September 26th. Obama had kept his cool and looked Presidential during the debate, and his ideas were more in sync with the times. McCain’s unfettered market and tax cuts looked out of step when we were nationalizing elements of a collapsed financial system and we already had a deficit of $400 billion.

The financial crisis, McCain’s stunt of flying to Washington, D.C. and “suspend” his campaign, and Obama’s debate performances tilted the board in our favor from then onward.

Doors that had been slammed in our face were now quietly opening. Even local Republican councilmen were quietly telling us that they now supported Obama.

After the deadline for registering voters passed on October 6th, we shifted to persuading undecided voters to vote for Obama. Undecided in Lebanon largely meant “low information” voters. Sometimes they wouldn’t know what a Democrat or Republican was and would often choose Republican because they were vaguely aware that George W. Bush was a Republican. The only argument that caught their attention was the middle class tax cuts. Obama’s policies on health care and foreign policy were rarely of interest. One man came into the Obama HQ in Lebanon and said that the Democrat was too vague. I pointed out that his plans were quite detailed and I could give him a copy. He answered that he didn’t have the time to read. As was so often the case, he didn’t have time to inform himself but blamed the candidate for not informing him anyway.

Throughout this period, we also worked to recruit volunteers. Our bait was the Obama/Biden lawn sign. People would come in for the signs and I would guilt them into volunteering with such arguments as “it’s cheaper than moving to Canada.” About half the time I would get them to do something. Over the election, we had 900 volunteers at some time or other, of which 800 were local. The number of registered voters in Lebanon County went up from 76,187 to 82,440 with 89% of the increase among Democrats. I believe that we registered more Republicans than the local Republicans did.

A Latino boy about 10 years old named Kevin came for stickers on his skateboard. I talked Kevin into putting stickers with polling place addresses on flyers we hung on the front door to get out the vote. Kevin took charge. He started counting all of the literature and slapping on stickers. As I recruited more help, Kevin would train and organize them. At one point, the room was filled with the half dozen volunteers that Kevin was managing. The next day Kevin came back to resume stickering. We asked if he wanted to come to Governor Rendel’s speech at the college. After talking to his mother and a brief visit to her to prove that we were responsible adults, Kevin met the governor, had his picture taken with him and was interviewed by the local newspaper. Kevin handled himself marvelously.

A middle age man with severe back problems, Jim, came in for a sign and I talked him into making phone calls from his home. After several rounds of phone lists, Jim asked me to pick up the completed lists at his apartment on the night before the election. Jim was so grateful for my modest help that he gave me three cayenne peppers from his own garden.

The volunteers changed the final couple of days: people came from out of town, even from other countries. There was a good-looking British couple in their early 20s who were driving from New York to Washington, taking a campaign tour. They wanted to have a powwow about policy, but I didn’t have time for that. I just put a clipboard for canvassers in their hands and said, “Go find out.” And they did.

With an inability to propose an economic plan effectively and Palin’s star on the wane, the Republicans focused on defaming Barack Obama.

And as we neared the end of the campaign, the rhetoric started ratcheting up in a nasty way. All the talk about “small town” “real America” meant something specific to the white and homogenous Christian communities in Lebanon, which others around the country may have missed. The alternative, it was clearly implied, was the multi-ethnic, metropolitan America and, as this logic went, unpatriotic, ultimately ‘non-American’ America.

Making precisely this point, someone parked their car right outside the campaign headquarters with slogans painted all over to the effect that Obama was a liar. On the rear window he wrote “No Obama: Non American!”

It became clear that inflammatory words would take 3 to 4 days to go from the candidates’ mouths to voters’ mouths in Lebanon, via talk radio. A four-page flyer was put in Republican mailboxes describing how Obama was a terrorist. Another flyer was put on the windshields of cars outside of church explaining why Barack was a Muslim.

There is no question that these tactics were used to stoke the racism of lower middle class whites.

And they gave license for a minority of racists in Lebanon to do some ugly things. When Sarah Palin made her comment about “real America,” for example, racist comments increased dramatically.

A woman in her 80s from Annville came in and told the story that she was sitting on her porch and had an Obama sign in the front yard. An SUV drove by and a teenage boy in the back seat yelled out, “Nigger lover!” This woman asked a friend to drive her to the grocery store where the van had pulled in, and waited for the boy, and his mother and father as it turned out, to come out of the store. She said, “Now tell me to my face what you said driving past my house.”
But the family just walked right past her. She was hardly the only one to go through this sort of thing.

The Harrisburg’s Patriot News reported that at a John McCain rally, “a white female loudly demoralized a high school student group from SciTech, specifically the African-American students, by making several derogatory comments and suppositions about welfare. [The] students simply walked away, and in the process had to guide (away) one of the SciTech chaperones so that she could not confront the ignorant women shouting obscenities toward the 14-18-year-old students.” And get this: “Several adults and community leaders were in earshot, but no one with the exception of the chaperones defended the students' honor.”

And the police were no help. McCain supporters stole endless signs (something admittedly we have heard in other areas working for the other side). We asked people to call the police, because it was a violation of private property, if nothing else. According to one volunteer, the police asked her what kind of a sign it was, and when she said, “Obama,” they told her, “We can’t do anything about that.”

Experience on the campaign front showed there was a direct connection between the race-baiting tactics of the McCain campaign and an old lady being called a “nigger lover.” Irresponsible political speech like that leads to the worst in people. The 2000 John McCain never would have sunk so low. Republicans need to abandon those divisive tactics, and rediscover what they used to stand for.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Blake Cabot • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Farzad

    Nice piece Blake! ... how about for a change you write a piece and give us your opinion in regard to Obama's Iran policy ... perhaps you've changed your opinion about Iranians too!

    February 13, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  2. Patricia

    I have been a life long Democrat. My parents were life long Rebublicans.
    The Social Conservative side of the party would have sent both of my parnets to the left side of the isle.
    McCain and Palinn kept pandering the the social conservatives and forgot the fiscal conservatives.
    The Rebublicans need to take the Hate out of their partiy.

    November 17, 2008 at 5:39 am |
  3. J.V.Hodgson

    It is clear tha Mr Cabot's comments were clearly shared by a majority of voting Americans.
    On the other hand expecting a miracle in the first 100 days as has been suggested is not going to happen. It took 8 long years to get into this mess and fixing it or any other policy of long duration usually takes longer to fix or undo.
    Warming the international diplomatic front may be easier to achieve and then a possibility exists for actual diplomatic results.
    The Economy, there is too much talk of the crisis and not enough about concrete solutions, the G20 was in effect hot air and wind about doling out money ( presently not available) which economically no nation can afford at present anyway, and even if they do it will take months to decide just how to dole it out, to whom, and how much and many, many, months after, before the results feed thru.
    Economically, if you are going to do something meaningful and get quick results It has to be a few silly simple ideas in concept initially and expanded in detail later. Getting rid of of uncontolled financial greed is where to start.
    1)Banks. Ban foreclosures for 6 months and force them to renegotiate all Sub prime loans as the priority in that 6 month period and cap the interest differential of bank to mortgagee and the margin lenders to banks in many cases hedge funds who caused the bubble in property prices. Any costs of this ( not legal fees or comissions) to be loans at Fed rates of X % to each major bank and Fannie May and Feddie Mac, no repayment plus interest, until the banks recover.
    2) Cap leveraged borrowing of hedge funds to X multiple and give them X period to comply, that will put billions back in banks to lend commercially elsewhere, and solve liquidity ratio needs.
    3)Ban short selling and go back to basic economics if you do not own ( i.e have paid for it in full) it you cannot sell it. Increase the Margin needed with Brokers and no offsets of buy and sell positions. You have to allow some time for unwinding here.
    4)Three stimulus packages out of the $700 bn one to low income taxpayers only and noone earning more than $250 k in the last tax year say $150bn and two give the auto industry the $25bn already approved plus another $ 50 bn as a loan at Fed rate plus 2 % on condition they buy back corporate bonds in the market, and tax incentives on capital expenditure on fuel efficient cars and for now restrict that to battery hybrids, that work. Three, energy infrastructure, Gas, electricity and other technologically viable now alternative energy solutions like making the electricity grid more efficient.
    Others like clean coal, nuclear and drill baby drill can follow with sensible discussion of the necessary detailed needs involved, and get rid of individual tax rebates to Alaskans becuase they happen to have oil and gas reserves.
    That is the worst kind of Pork or earmark I have seen, and on 1-4 above ban lobbying and earmark or pork vote buying attachments.
    QED vote to solve the crisis, not particular business or political local self interest. Of course the vested interests will scream, but they said nothing while making what in effect were wooden dollars, it will hit the rich and main street as well but it will share the burden of past excess where it belongs, accross the board as it should be.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    November 17, 2008 at 1:11 am |
  4. Eric B from Metro Houston

    Very interesting story. Sad in certain ways but interesting nonetheless. Our election of Obama as our next president shows how far this country has come, yet your story and some of the responses I read not only here but in other news sites show how far we still have to go. I live in Texas, the reddest of red states and there are STILL people here that claim Obama won only because of "black racisim" meaning a bunch of African-Americans voted for him ONLY because he was black. Forget all about the facts that blacks normally vote Democratic anyway, never mind when you have two white candidates and one garners the most black vote it's NOT racism, who cares when you have two white candidates that when more whites vote for one than the other it's not racism. People of that ilk don't want to hear facts.
    I like John McCain, still do, and I was really dismayed by the path he and Palin took to try to garner votes, using fear tactics that always bring out the hate in lower educated groups. And as long as you have the right wing radio talk hosts to fan the fire of fear, division and hate it is not going to end anytime soon.

    Even if one did NOT vote for Obama or does NOT like what he stands for or plans to do, we as a nation need to unite behind him and bring our country back. All these Republicans and right wingers that are rooting for him to fail so they can say "I told you so" don't seem to care that if he fails, we as a country fail also. They want to push their agenda even if it means keeping us down or not moving forward. In fact I think their BIGGEST fear is that he WILL has success and then they will have nothing left to stand on.

    November 16, 2008 at 10:24 pm |
  5. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    P.S. In many respects the Republican party has been a victim of Ronald Reagan's successes. What the Party has failed to realize is that those successes were largely do to the fact that the programs which fostered them were tailored to a specific period in our history and that they are not universal. What worked in the 1980's are not necessarily the best solutions for this new century. The Republican Party needs some better ideas than 'Cut Taxes' and 'Grow the Military'. I seriously doubt if Ronald Reagan were alive today that he would even endorse these policies based on the world we now live in.

    It should also be remembered that Ronald Reagan was an FDR Democrat before he became a Republican. Maybe just maybe if G W Bush and his fellow right wing Republicans had a little bit of the Left in their backgrounds they might understand that true successful leadership is not all about GREED and POWER and championing only those who possess POWER and promote GREED but that it has a SOCIALLY HUMANE truly Main Stream American element to it as well.

    November 16, 2008 at 10:42 am |
  6. Larry L.

    Blake,

    Good job !! I am a life long Republican and feel that the McCain's platform was not well defined,but I still am waiting for specifics from our new President.The word CHANGE,and YES WE CAN apparently excited a lot of people,but time will tell if Obama's changes ,if he can get anything done,will be GOOD changes.If we are attacked by terrorist,like 9/11,how will Obama respond,i don't think he even knows.If he does believe in SPREADING THE WEALTH AROUND,he will further destroy our economy for a long time to come.
    Reading many of the post here scare me a lot,many of these wonderful people who are sharing their thoughts are miss informed,are just as radical as anybody,repeat slogans over and over,
    and they are totally IDEALISTIC,I'm afraid Obama's just like them.If he and Congress pursue their far LEFT agenda–we will be in bigger trouble then we are now.

    November 16, 2008 at 9:06 am |
  7. Yasmin Iye Mamman

    Hey, congratulations. You worked hard. The world needs more people like you. I am a Nigerian and each time i heard the media go " Obama needs to win the battleground state of pensylvania to become president" i'd become weak but reassure myself that since Obama was the one who won his party's nomination, then he could still win the presidency. But....without your help! we in Africa hope to learn from all of this. I want all the racists in the world to FORGET about the past. Racism is out of usage now. lets start something new. How about believing that God almighty is the greatest masterminder of all times and that He ordained Obama President of the USA right from before Obama's parents even met. That's just it. Please don't stop being the way you are. Hope you will come to Africa soon. Its so serene in most places and life is approached much simpler too Tell Obama my 21 month old son screams his OBAMA! anytime he sees Obama pictures,.

    Thank you.

    Yasmin (Nigeria)

    November 16, 2008 at 2:24 am |
  8. Mindy Chatsworth, Ca.

    I must congratule the writer of this article. It is inspiring to read something like this and renews my faith in humanity.

    The Republicans did play the race card, the anti-patriot, unAmerican, socialist, communist cards. It galled me that someone like Sarah Palin could stand up at rallies and dare to question the patriotism of a truly good and decent man like Barack Obama. Who is this woman to pass judgement on someone who is superior to her in every way possible? She ignited some ugly responses in her crowds and made no attempt to stop it or disavow it. Shame on her!

    For once, the voters turned their backs on smear tactics, slash and burn attacks, race-baiting and appeals to the very worst instincts. I am so proud that a brilliant man who had a message of hope and unity was able to triumph over divisive, mean-spirited demagoguery.

    There is hope for us yet.

    November 16, 2008 at 2:22 am |
  9. Nancy from Oregon

    Someone said that the Obama campaign and subsequent win was a revolution without bloodshed.....your work in Pennsylvania is proof.

    November 15, 2008 at 9:37 pm |
  10. liz

    Hello,,
    I watch your show nightly ,,
    I have a comment about AIG...
    I sent away for info about their ,product,, 3 years ago..
    Ever since then , I have recieved countless mailing, Have called them to stop sending this info to me.. Stil it comes,,, No wonder these people are in over their head,, just postage , would run anyone into a defficit..

    November 15, 2008 at 7:11 pm |
  11. YES YOU CAN !

    Barack Obama, say about him what you wanna
    Can u believe it,work for what you want, yes you can acheive it.
    Smart you can tell, what a lucky lady, the next first lady,no other than his lovely wife Mrs.Michelle.
    He is black and he is white, he will be wrong and he will be right.
    Yes he can be the white knight, even though, he alone cant make everything right.
    Tall and slender, smile as bright as day,no he is not a pretender.
    History in the making, no one saw it coming, yes but this is a welcoming change.
    Change we can believe in, oh what a feeling, a feeling of hope, no not just words, yes we can on this land where we stand.stand for our freedom which is a must, can somebody say "in God we trust". Put your trust in you, and God willing, you can make it too. Yes we can on this land where we stand.Yes we can each every man. Yes you can work in your community, organize it,care about it,realize it.Realize your dream don't hesitate he didn't wait, yes you can with a little faith. Raise your glass to this victory, how far we have come this time in our history. Celebrate this man, yes we can, yes we can. Fired up, ready to go, and so in the history books he will go.yes we can.

    November 15, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  12. Jeff, Cambridge, Ontario

    That was a very good piece and really outlines the strategy of a winning campaign as well as pointing out the deficits of the republican attempt. I think most people have finally come to the realization of just how hoodwinked they have been for the past eight years. Mind you it took a complete collapse of the American way of life, a huge hit to the standard of living of the average American and a grass roots educational campaign to convince 52% of your population. Do you think spending some money on educating the other 48% might be a good idea. I am really tired of being told what to be afraid of and what should be done by people who have constantly been talking to God. I am 45 years old and I have never had such of conversation. I have heard of a disease where people hear voices and I really don't think those kind of people should be running our lives.

    Good luck Mr. Obama your inheriting one huge mess.

    P.S.
    Protectionism is not a four letter word. When people in India and China will do the work we do here in North America for pennies on the dollar, with no regard or limitations for environmental issues or safety or human dignity, it is not an even playing field. Eventually as you are seeing now it will drive down the standard of living of North Americans as it pulls 2 billion out of poverty there. And at a huge cost to our environment. I believe in free trade but only on an even playing field. The industrialists of the globalization movement are scaring people into believing unbridled free trade is the way to go. Well it is for them, but for the average white republican in middle america... don't be fooled again. Haven't we learned anything from the unbridled capitalism of the past 8 years. It doesn't work...Human greed always takes over. We need capitalism and free trade with strong oversight and an even playing field.

    November 15, 2008 at 5:51 pm |
  13. Daniel Kimia

    I am an American-Iranian Jewish man who has been blessed to have the opportunity to raise my family in a democratic Country which I live in and I am proud of (USA). I believe despite the hard challenges ahead for our country and the new administration, all other countries will come to realize once again the values that we stand for and we will gain back the respect and trust which has been blemished in the past two decades.
    I fully support the newly elected President and hope that he will lead the country to a direction which will bring peace and prosperity for all. I Love New York.

    November 15, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  14. maikelken

    Great information.Very informative .Thanks.!Love and relationships as they say are very complicated. There are a lot of unavoidable circumstances that revolves around a relationship and sometimes you have to part ways with the one you truly love temporarily or permanently. Of course if you truly love the person you do not want a permanent separation and you want to win your love back.

    November 13, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  15. Terry Kappel - Woodstock, IL

    "Yes We Did!"

    The Obama campaign did a wonderful job of giving people, who were already inspired and motivated, an outlet to direct their energies, and to be apart of a historic opportunity for change. I signed up for a solicitation from the campaign web site, to help with the get out the vote effort in Milwaukee, WI. I'm from the northwest suburbs, on disability, and I have no car, and very little money. The campaign coordinator for the National milwaukee campaign hooked me up with a ride up there, from another person going to Milwaukee, a home where I could sleep on a couch for the last four days of the campaign, and offered to arrange a ride home for me. (I decided to stay overnight and enjoy the celebration at the Milwaukee hyatt regency.)

    It was a wonderful experience. The GOTV effort for the out of towners was focussed on neighborhoods that were expected to be strong for Obama, and we returned repeatedly to each house the last four days. And, two to three times on election day. I was told that there were 1,000 out of town volunteers for the Get Out The Vote, and we picked up an additional 360+ from the people we were contacting during our canvassing. It got to the point Monday they told us to stop asking for volunteers. A good problem to have.

    It was a great experience to be a part of the effort. And, I'm eagerly awaiting word via the Obama web site, a solicitation to suggest volunteer opportunities where we all can take advantage of the opportunity to make changes that we earned with the victory we all were a part of on election night.

    November 12, 2008 at 11:58 pm |
  16. Joy, Fort Gordon, Georgia

    The Republican party needs to abandon the dirty disgusting tactics that have become the basis for their campaigns, but some rebutable leaders of the party also need to come out publicly a tell thier supporters to stand behind president elect Obama and turn away from the fear mongering rhetoric and ideas that they are continuing to accept. My grandmother called me the other day telling me that she was stuck in the Doctors office next to a woman in her nineties who was convinced that Obama was the antichrist and that these were the end of days, she had to explain to the women that Obama was not the antichrist. I went shopping at Walmart yesterday and at the checkout stand were a couple of magazines with Obama on the cover of more than two of the magazines the face of Obama had been drawn all over in pen, I quickly informed the CSM that someone was defacing the magazines. I was informed in a mom's group that I belong to that one of the moms of one of the members of the group was asked at her work by her boss last week to stop wearing her Obama shirt to work because it offended one of the employees, I mean Hello he is the president elect have some respect for the office, GEEZ.

    November 11, 2008 at 7:51 pm |
  17. Annie Kate

    What a wonderful account of your experience with the campaign. I wondered what activities the volunteers did and you answered that question in spades. I was surprised that there was an actual training course you went through – Obama organized his campaign with an attention to detail that hopefully we will benefit from when he is inaugurated.

    Thank you for sharing. I agree with you about the GOP defaming Obama and playing the card of divisiveness; I was so disappointed in McCain. I had thought he was above all that – unfortunately it turns out he wasn't. I'm glad Obama stayed mostly positive.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    November 11, 2008 at 7:03 pm |
  18. jt

    ACORN is just too agressive !!

    November 11, 2008 at 6:37 pm |
  19. the real thing

    i too agree. i am a granny from north carolina .i had tried my best to send toots a get well message before she passed away.i saw in obama all of us .his respectful manners love of family trickle down to a a love of country.his ideas made much sense his campaign did not force his faith but i believe he used example be kind to each other.accept responsibilities ,do unto others as you would want done unto you..i do not understand how the republican got so mean spirited .reverand wright and that other man were not running for president i cared less about .even the media Fox who was supposed to be so fair tried to hard to put fear quiet a few .my hopes are we can get the media and politicians to stop the lying and trying to scare with a meanness.i believe education and more like you and others who open their minds to quiet a special family like the obamas .i also thank and appreciate the good things the Bushes and Mccains have done .yes they made mistakes .now is the time to look ahead pray for our leaders and hold them to their word and find a media person we can trust.and for this old granny i wish we could get rid of that F word.by the way i was sick but i sat in my wheelchair answering questions pastors and others had put fear in the young rnc who were unsure remind them of the true issues.as for palin shes a sweet girl but not educated i felt enough in religion or vp and certainly not p she apears to be a fair mom and believes deeply her problem her jesus had a hate for the sinner and excluded the gentile perhaps thats why she failed .this is not meant to be ugly but she sure messed up my dumb blond jokes.on the serious side a few more years of education and time she will be ok.tell her to watch michel obama she is a lady with class smarts with a big heart.. thank you old white once republican granny

    November 11, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
  20. Stacy

    Blake, thank you for all your hard work. Finally the American people rejected the hate and fear that Republicans have been peddling for years.

    November 11, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  21. Anna

    Very good article. I do get very worried about this nation especially when you hear stories such as these. Our mailman wears a cap that says "Jesus Lives", yet when he speaks of President-Elect Obama, he's full of hatred and convinced by lies. You can't tell him anything. He doesn't want to hear the truth.

    I think the thing that worries me the most is the PASSION of their hatred towards our President-Elect. It is very VERY disturbing. And many of them call themselves Christian. To them I say read Matthew 22:37-40. To others I say pray for them.

    November 11, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
  22. jim

    Anybody can win a election promising 95% of taxpayers a tax break. It is an old trick that Hezbollah does in Lebanon to have support from the poor. Anybody that makes a campaign promise like that will win a election. Only thing is Barack Hussein Obama will not implement it.

    November 11, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  23. Alex

    I too am a conservative Republican who has been increasingly disgusted with what the Republican Party has turned out since George W. Bush was elected to office. In fact, in 2000 I voted for John McCain simply because McCain struck me as being a far brighter and more articulate individual. So this year, I expected John McCain to be a breath of fresh air for the Republicans even though I believed no Republican could possibly win given the incredibly horrible job Bush and the majority of Republicans in office had done. I started out supporting McCain but boy did that change in a hurry. It became readily apparent he had lost his way and no longer represented the values or ideals of the Republican Party of the past. McCain said he would run a clean campaign and had said he'd veto every bill that had "Pork Barrel Spending" attached to it. So what does he do, starts trashing his opponent and pull some sort of a grand standing number in "suspending his campaign" to go to Washington to help clean up the economic crisis. What else does he do, he signs and pushes for a bailout package filled with "Pork Barrel" spending. Talk about going south on his word......well that convinced me there was no way he'd get my vote. Don't say what you are going to do and then immediately turn around and do the opposite. He became a shining example of whats wrong with Washington these days.
    As for Barack Obama, based on what I was hearing, he was far too liberal for my liking. I will admit, however, some of his programs were far superior to McCain's and would actually costs the tax payers less money. But, I do not believe in much of the Democratic Party's philiosphy and I couldn't bring myself to vote for him either. But I did leave the door open to give the man a fair shake and withhold judgement on him and his abilities until he had time to address many of the issues facing our great nation. I will also say I am proud of America for not letting the "race thing" get in the way of voting for a man who displays a great deal of potential. One thing is sure, Barack Obama cannot possibly be anywhere near as distructive to the interest of our country as George W. Bush has been for the past 8 years. And I agree that no matter what President Obama does, the Republicans need to rediscover and regroup and again find those values of honesty, integrity and forthrightness that once made this party great.

    November 11, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  24. Judith Thomson

    First, what a wonderful, rich piece of writing. Congratulations! Second, this has been the first, visceral depiction of the campaign that Iv'e read – bringing home all the cliche's, all the poignancy of your truely moral stand. Thank you for doing this for all of us who stayed home, and just wrote checks.

    November 11, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  25. Dulcie

    Thank you for an incredible story. My 72 year old father voted Democrat for the very first time in his life. While, yes, he believes in smaller, more efficient government, we haven't gotten that. He's also an Atheist and is deeply saddened and offended by what he feels is an attack on science (Stem cell research, teaching Intelligent Design in public schools, etc.).

    I'm right along with him and am also non-christian and offended by the social agenda pursued by the Republican party.

    Thanks so much for putting your considerable talents to work for the Obama campaign!

    November 11, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  26. Melissa, Los Angeles

    What an eye opening post. It's amazing to read about others living in areas where there is that much apathy towards voting and just current events in general. It's also interesting to hear about their views since it's coming from limited reading and research rather all opinion based on what others around them say.

    November 11, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  27. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    Wow.... is this AMERICA? Terrible. Scary. There are many stories about the vile acts of McCain supporters. McCain brought out the worst in people. The 'veiled hate crimes' committed all over the South, and Southeast were terrifying. I couldn't help but notice that the states that voted for McCain, were all former-slave-owning states. And the usually gun-states of Idaho, Utah (ugh) and Wyoming. You don't want to be a person of color breaking down in a tiny Idaho town. Trust me.

    That's why when CNN has Palin on their web site everyday, I am deeply offended! Palin incited hate, fear and division! Palin, herself, incited the racists in those rallies, and thus, I have NO respect for the woman, she should be ashamed of herself! The hate that the Republicans incited, the fear and lies they spewed ARE THE REASON WHY they LOST. Their party is the party of lies, hate, fear and division.

    BUT........ the majority of people whom voted for Obama were a blend of white, black, Latino, young, old, rich and poor, middle-class.

    And thank GOD ALMIGHTY HOPE WON!

    November 11, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  28. fac

    The media has kept race into this election! I'm so sick of hearing that this is what the people is having a problem with! Just like the media was on this kick about PRESIDENT ELECT having a problem winning PA and VIRGINIA with suburban white women, just to name a few states.
    The people proved you wrong and came out in massive numbers. LET IT GO, why don't cha!
    We the people have spoken and we have moved on. You all are still stuck in the 60's! As they say it must be how you were taught from your parents!
    ALL of CNN anchors at one time or another had something bad to say about OBAMA now they all want to jump on the band wagon. I'm sick of all you!
    You were wrong on the POLL numbers for the last year.
    And you continue to be an instigator now with race in this election...FIND SOMETHING POSITIVE TO REPORT! There's a new man in town!

    November 11, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  29. Steve Lancaster, PA

    This is the story of how Obama won the presidency, pure and simple. Common sense won out over scare tactics, racial sterotypes & conservative social views. We hit bottom, and America finally picked a president based on who was best for the job. We will be the better for it.

    November 11, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  30. Dorothy C.

    What an interesting account! Thank goodness for people such as the writer of this article, going out and battling ignorance, racism, and hatred. Let us hope the Obama presidency will open the eyes of people and bring tolerance and understanding. Those who walked the streets and registered voters are to be truly commended and thanked.

    November 11, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  31. Lesley

    This is truly eye-opening. I had no idea it was this bad. The Republicans deserved to lose big time and they did. No wonder their party is in shambles. If this is what they have become, they have no place in American politics and no place in America as far as I'm concerned. The 50's are over, people! When I heard Palin giving speeches that promote this sort of attitude and behavior, I felt that she was a bad influence on our society and I am hopeful that she will not run again for national office and spew her hatred to the country. McCain has become a puppet of the party and I'm sure is in disgrace at this moment. He has only himself to blame. He could have run a different campaign and saved the party but he chose not to. It's unfortunate that he is ending his career this way. Palin was right about one thing – God chose the right person for the job of president.

    November 11, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  32. Jackie in Dallas

    Amen! I did some low-key campaigning here in Texas because, quite frankly, I was concerned for my physical safety. And even without serious campaigning here, Obama still got 48% of the vote. A little emphasis on the lack of response after Katrina and Rita, and the slow response after Ike could have turned enough borderline counties blue.

    When McCain did his concession speech (and gratefully spared us from having to listen to Palin), I heard echos of the McCain from 2000. If he had had that tone through the campaign, and picked a less polarizing VP, we could have been looking at a very different outcome.

    November 11, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  33. Rahni, Connecticut

    It just sad how some people acted during the campaign. I really like the old lady who confronted the teenage and his mother . She was brave!

    November 11, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  34. bonniely

    so glad there is people like you we need obama he wants change and we want change so together we will get change.and take our country back to where it should be and needs to be.first time voter at age 50 and glad i did.

    November 11, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  35. Lilibeth

    I love your article. Thanks for sharing. I will forward to my Republican friends.

    November 11, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  36. Adriana

    great article. love the writing. new fan.

    November 11, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  37. ivette santiago

    Ignorance, that's the word for the kinds of words those people had, shouting obscenities at minors. At least we can all breath a sigh of relief, knowing that we elected a good, decent person that used no negativity on his campaign. God bless America and God bless Obama. I am from Reading, PA.

    November 11, 2008 at 1:43 pm |
  38. Marika

    I'm disgusted with the ignorance the plagues 'middle-america'. It's to the point where I'm embarrased to be white! I'll never understand why so many whites as 'issues' with melanin, mother-natures 'sunscreen'. Thank goodness that I live in an area that accepts, enjoys and celebrates different cultures. I temporarily moved away from Toronto to an area that was similar to 'middle-america'. I was shocked at the attitudes from many rural's. I packed my bags to come back to Toronto where pretty much everyone is 'cool' with eachother. My Home Sweet Mosaic Home!

    November 11, 2008 at 1:40 pm |
  39. Joanne, Syracuse, NY

    The Republican "playbook" was appauling: race, religion, integrity...all questioned, all attacked viciously. This was the foundation for the landslide win of Obama. Many say, including Sarah Palin, that the "R" next to the name lost the election; however, I too, remember when the Republican Party stood for business, jobs, commerce, less Federal intervension and "state's rights" were strongly supported. Now, the Republican Party is known for hitting below the belt and fear tactics....very sad.

    November 11, 2008 at 1:37 pm |
  40. CA, Portsmouth, NH

    Living in NH, I listen to political campaigns for approximately two years out of four. The 2008 election was the worst for fear tactics, smear campaigns, and outright lying about issues and the candidates. Obama's campaign was not immune to abuse, but the McCain campaign blew my socks off with the intensity of racism, facism, fear, and outright hate.
    My mother cringes whenever I said "Republicans eat their young." Looking back on the past two years, all I say now is "I rest my case."

    November 11, 2008 at 1:35 pm |
  41. Suchi, Minneapolis, MN

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

    November 11, 2008 at 1:31 pm |
  42. Gisselle - Houston, Texas

    Thank you so much for posting this, it was about time someone spoke about the McCain/Palin dirty race tactics during the campaign season. I was so disgusted by it that I had to turn off my TV set every time either of the GOP's candidates came a few inches from a microphone.

    Thank you so much for this, it is refreshing to know that folks like yourself were able to see right through those hate mongering tactics.

    Have a beautiful Veteran's Day!

    November 11, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  43. Lisa

    Masel Tov!! Beautiful piece. Thanks for sharing. It's nice to know that there are too Americans that are truly level headed. Great write up!

    November 11, 2008 at 12:44 pm |

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