Volunteering for a campaign can be really exciting. It can build your resume. You can even gain clout within your community. I absolutely think it is a great way for young people to get involved in politics. Unfortunately, some folks can only do phone banking or mailing for their particular candidate instead of serious nose-to-the-ground canvassing for the candidate. I started doing some phone banking for Chris Dodd for President just so I could put a few more references on a resume, and it has been a not-so-fun experience. I did this as well back in 2004 for the Kerry-Edwards campaign on election night here in Iowa. People are really tired of the constants ads and calls that they already get here and it is only August. Imagine how much dialing and stamps will be licked during the winter months as the caucuses draw closer.
The thing that it has done for me personally is that it has made me realize that a white guy from the Northeast is not likely to win the Democratic nomination. The people who do actually know Senator Dodd seem to like him, but he really doesn’t stand out in their minds. Even the letter that I wrote in support of his national health care plan at the Des Moines Cityview hasn’t inspired any word-of-mouth about the exciting candidacy of Chris Dodd. Politics can tend to get nasty when you become active enough in it and people begin to know your views. One gentleman once questioned my sexuality because I told him I supported the assault weapons ban. Another lady made me feel like I was part of the Third Reich when she told me that I was supporting policies that Nazis embrace by calling for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
Even though I have been doing phone banking for Chris Dodd, I still have not made up my mind on which candidate I am going to caucus for. John Edwards is coming to our local middle school on August 17, and I will be listening closely. The Edwards people have been slow to reach out to people in the Southeastern part of Iowa and this needs to change. I was disappointed by some of Edwards’ latest answers during debates. He seems to be rejecting the policies of compromise and reason in order to have greater appeal to party activists. I must be about the only one that doesn’t like new approach because when I talk on the phone with potential caucus goers they seem to love the firebrand style.
Quite frankly I find Mike Gravel’s candidacy quite disturbing on several fronts. Gravel appears to be an advocate of a sales tax which would deeply hurt construction businesses in this country because of all the materials they would have to buy and they would potentially be crushed by the advanced sales tax of 23 percent, which is what a sales tax is. Another fact that upset me was when Senator Gravel said he was the only one with any morals standing on the stage. It was as if everyone else was a dictator who would rule with an iron fist. Luckily, he has no apparatus here in Iowa and seems to be placing whatever semblance of a campaign that he has within New Hampshire. Early in the year Gravel received the endorsement of Doris “Granny D” Haddock — the 2004 Democratic nominee for US Senate in New Hampshire — according to his website. One thing can be said for sure, it has been a compelling journey here in Iowa.