Thursday, June 14, 2007

Don't Get Too Attached to Your Candidates

A couple of things happened yesterday that moved me to write this diary. I had just finished my Candidate Review Series Recap. I went through 6 weeks of research and analysis. I even did some navel gazing. I got a chance to see most of the campaigns in action. And I still couldn't come to a decision.

That puts me in the minority of Dems. It also makes me worry very much about something. So, what am I worried about? Follow me below the fold...

The first thing to occur happened away from the keyboard. At least my keyboard. We have a very active and very well organized volunteer Obama campaign presence here in the Tampa Bay Area of Florida. As someone who has some small experience in campaigning, I took the first opportunity I had to drop in on one of their meetings in my hometown, St. Petersburg.

Most of the meeting was taken up with the group members relating their experience on the campaign walk the Obama campaign conducted this week end. Some of us in the room did not participate. That's because the Obama campaign picked a date that was in direct conflict with the Florida Democratic Party Jefferson Jackson weekend. It was see Nancy Pelosi and 2,000 Democratic activists, or go knock on some doors. Well, I can and have knocked on doors plenty of other times. Nancy Pelosi won.

As the folks who walked told their war stories, it became quickly apparent that this was, indeed, an amateur, volunteer organization. But their enthusiasm was endemic. The conversation then moved on to the Obama campaign's participation in the St. Petersburg Pride Festival at the end of the month. This Festival is the largest GLBT Pride festival in Florida, and is a very big deal in St. Pete. Again, having some small experience in this sort of thing, I offered a few suggestions intended to make the Obama group's participation more effective and more fun.

It was then that the first really interesting thing happened. I was challenged by an acquaintance sitting next me as to whether I had gotten off the fence and picked a candidate. It was obvious she had not read my Candidate Review Recap, because I relayed in it that I had not. She then asked me what I was doing at their meeting, as if I wished their campaign ill.

Here is something I want to repeat from the first of my Candidate Review series:

I am going to support the Democratic nominee. Period.
So before a nominee is chosen, I will do what I can, as I have in the past, to help any of the campaigns that I can. I will not work against any campaign, only for them. That was pretty much my answer to my acquaintance.

The second event happened in cyberspace on DailyKos. I returned home to read this comment from my friend Boofdah on my Review Recap Diary:

If she (Hillary) gets the nom I hate to say this, but we're in a world of hurt. :-/

It's a relief that at least (so far), we have a couple of really great local candidates, like this guy, to get behind and do grassroots work for, in case my preferred Presidential candidate (see my sig) doesn't get the nod. I hate to be a sullen poor sport; but I
honest-to-God can't get excited about volunteering for HRC. :(


We have recently been through this in Florida. In last year's governor's race, we had a fierce primary battle. Adherents to both sides were fervently attached to their chosen candidates. The blogosphere was filled with vituperative comments flying from both sides. At the end of the primary, all too many of the supporters of the loser could not bring themselves to work for their party's nominee.

Did any of this lead to the ultimate defeat of our party's nominee? Probably not. Did it contribute to the loss of our party's nominee. Absolutely.

So, what is the answer to this. One of the great things about Democrats is our passion. No one should wish for that passion to be diminished. I certainly do not.

I'd like to see a passionate discussion. I'd like to see what thoughts are out there about how best to be advocates for our candidates, while at the same time recognizing that any one of our candidates is infinitely preferable to any one from the other side.

After all, isn't the ultimate goal to get one of our candidates into the White House?

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