Friday, January 16, 2004

Break out the popcorn, it's a steel cage match!

There are lots of good hijinks in the Donk presidential nomination race, but I'll skip the "who did what to whom" for some of the sidelights like Ads go negative as caucuses close in
Candidates vying in Monday's Iowa caucuses and groups affiliated with Howard Dean and Richard Gephardt had spent more than $8.7 million in Iowa through Friday, according to a report Wednesday by the Wisconsin Advertising Project, which tracks campaign ad spending. Democrats have spent nearly three times in Des Moines what both parties' candidates spent in 2000. By the time the race moves to New Hampshire next week, the project expects spending in Iowa to top $10 million, or $100 per likely caucus voter. About 100,000 Democrats are expected to attend caucuses.
A crony of mine in Des Moines says you cannot watch TV at any hour of the day or night without seeing the campaign ads. The spoilsport wanted the $100 in cash instead.

And if they aren't on your TV set, they're ringing your doorbell! Outside Campaigners Flood Iowa, Sharing Their Candidates' Styles:
They are everywhere in Iowa these days, the frontline ground troops of the presidential campaigns, and they all have the same goal: To get as many people as possible to come out and vote next week. But the inside-outside approaches of the two biggest armies — Richard A. Gephardt's and Howard Dean's — are as different as the candidates they work for.
I'm so excited!
The Dean forces are coming here in carpools, charter buses or commercial flights, traveling on their own nickel and bunking in motels or winterized Y.M.C.A. camps around the state. By no means are all of them young. Jack Heacock, a retired Methodist minister from Bristol, Va., drove 775 miles with his wife, Eleanor, to campaign last weekend in Davenport, on the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa. Why?

"We believe it's time to take this country back," Mr. Heacock said, echoing Dr. Dean's slogan at a rally with former Vice President Al Gore. The Heacocks wore their orange hats proudly, but they stayed at a Holiday Inn. "We didn't know about the camps," Mrs. Heacock said.

Dan Link, 31, a graduate student in American history at New York University, is coming this weekend with several friends to help contact gay Iowans in a special effort dubbed the Rainbow Storm. He, too, is "well beyond the level of sleeping on sleeping bags," but has been impressed with the Dean campaign's organization. Within 24 hours after he signed up to volunteer on the Dean Web site, Mr. Link said, "someone from the campaign called on the phone to verify that I was coming, and whether I'd need transportation or housing." He added, "They seemed totally organized and professional."
"Honey, who's at the door?"
"It's a retired minister, his wife, and some ancient gay student saying it's time to take the country back! They're also singing something about staying at the YMCA."
"Dang, where's the shotgun?"
He (Gephardt), too, is relying on out-of-state help, but mostly in the form of top-flight union organizers with long experience in past campaigns in Iowa and around the country, including the political directors of the United Steelworkers of America and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, who organize their troops in satiny windbreakers at a "shape-up" each morning, as if they were assigning work on a job site.
"Honey, now who's at the door?"
"It's some union dudes in shiny jackets!"
"Dang, I hope I have enough birdshot!"

And you aren't even safe out in the country - Rural areas of Iowa draw Edwards in delegate search:
In the complicated Iowa caucus counting system, more people don't necessarily mean more delegates.

That is one reason North Carolina Sen. John Edwards stopped in at the public library here to talk to Kossuth County Democrats on Wednesday, his second day of campaigning in small western and northern Iowa towns.

The Edwards campaign has been in Sioux City and Des Moines in the past two days, but it also trekked to Algona, Denison, Perry, Spencer and Storm Lake.

"Because of the way the caucus system is set up, sometimes you get more bang for your buck in a rural area," said Roxanne Conlin, Edwards' campaign chairwoman in Iowa. "The number of people it takes to get a delegate is less."
Leave it to the trial lawyer to figure that one out.