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GOTV in Rural PA

My wife & I did our GOTV stuff in Northern PA.We’d volunteered for canvassing, but when we got there at about 8:15 AM they were short on phone bankers and so we worked the telephones. We put in about five hours & made between us about 1500 calls. We were working off the Tier 1 list of people considered likely Obama voters — or I guess at least not entirely unlikely Obama voters, this being rural northern PA & all.

This is not exactly a blue part of the state. Loads of McCain signs, one hand-painted "NObama sign," one "Bitter Gun-Owner who VOTES" sign, one "Sarah!" sign. Only a few Obama signs, but, frankly, more than I would have expected. It struck us that there were no anti-McCain or anti-Palin signs, no "NObama" equivalents. Mostly we talked into people’s answering machines, asking for their vote, telling them where their polling place is, and to call us back if they needed a ride. There were of course some surly folks who answered. Only a very few of these were McCain voters, though; the annoyed people were mostly irked since they had been called already several times by the campaign & other organizations & were fed up. But there was a much larger number of people excited to tell us that they had either already voted Obama or were planning to later in the day. What was cool was that the Obama voters pretty much without exception said "WE just voted!" or "WE’RE going to vote this afternoon!" Couples were voting, families, bunches of friends.

Phone banking is not what I would call fun; I hate telephones in general and try to never have anything to do with them, but these enthusiastic Obama folks, young & old, made it a good time.As did of course the other volunteers. We had college students, retirees, lawyers, a farmer, a mechanic, moms, dads, us (Commie Perfessers). Some people, like us, came down from NY, but mostly it was Pennsylvanians from the area. A very good vibe, real nice folks. Of course we were all also elitists, godless thugs, pinkos, infidels, appeasers, and sexual deviants, but nice folks too!It’s not easy from phonebanking to get a real sense of the wider picture on the ground, but several of the people I talked to said "wow! Long lines!" It’s tough to tell what that means, precisely — a long line in a rural precinct is not necessarily what a "long line" might be in, say, Philly. But the lines seem to have been a lot longer than usual.

The other thing was that there didn’t seem to be any sign AT ALL of a McCain operation in the area. Lots of cars with Obama or otherwise DFH bumperstickers, mostly to-ing and fro-ing on GOTV stuff. Not a single McCain sticker anywhere. I’m still keeping an eye on the county results, but it seems pretty clear that Our Team neutralized the GOP rural vote, and we crushed ’em in the cities.On our way back we stopped to look at some landmarks. My wife’s family was from this area, migrating the 20 miles or so north to NY a couple of generations ago. We came home. Felt like home, too.On a personal note, my astonishingly awesome wife worked her ass off for a county lege race here in NY, and it looks like we got a good guy elected against a real right bastard. Small potatoes? Maybe. But sweet nonetheless. We’re changing this nation top down and bottom up, and WE’RE DOING IT WITH LOVE, BABY.

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A community college professor from upstate NY. My wife & I have 347 children, all of them rotten.