Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sunday Nov 4 Any day but Sunday

From a local news station:

FOOTBALL CITY - In a political season where campaigns disagree on almost everything, here's one area where state politicians have found common ground: suspend campaigning whenever a [our football team] game is on.

In the hotly contested U.S. Senate race, campaign volunteers took a 3-hour timeout Sunday while [our team] played [another team].

The campaigns say they know better than to upset voters with a phone call or a knock on the door during a key moment in the game.

Republican Senate candidate [Dude 1] says it would "be dumb" to antagonize a voter by interrupting the game. And his Democratic opponent, [Dude 2], says everyone knows you don't disturb a [our team] fan while the game is on.

The presidential campaigns also stopped campaigning for those three hours.

Sunday Nov 4 We are weary and we are cranky

I shudder to think what the mood around here will be if Primo loses. We are both tense and snappish and crabby already and that's with the possibility that he will win. If we have the certainty that he has lost, after all we have gone through, we will be sad indeed. And no, it will not help that we knew all that going in.

Primo ran into another county party guy who was doing doors for the PD presidential candidate. The guy had a flyer promoting the PD candidates for president and senator and also for congressman - only they had the wrong congressional candidate listed. Idiots. The person they listed is not in this district. Is it that hard to check your material before you start canvassing?

Primo was annoyed - and rightfully so, I think, that once again, this piece of campaign material made no mention of him and his race.

"I get emails all the time asking me to donate to the party to support their entire slate of candidates, but then they don't do anything for me," he grumbled. "They would be happy to take my money, but they don't want to give me any support. I'm so fed up with them right now. If I had this to do over, I would run as an independent. Maybe I'll tell them what I think about them after the election."

I would love to see that.

One of the reasons Primo has been cranky is because he spent a lot of time volunteering on other campaigns instead of working on his own (I did tell him I thought that was a bad idea, but you never get to say "I told you so" when it really matters, or at least, you shouldn't) and now some of those people are not helping him and we are having a hard time finding volunteers. Lots of people say they'll help, but when you ask them for a specific time, they are not so interested.

So we were all worried that we would be the only ones working at the phone bank tomorrow night from 4 to 8, but then I baked a cake for our neighbors who have already helped and asked them if they would do more after I handed the cake to them. They said yes. Then I called two other people who have already helped a ton and begged them. They said yes.

The older lady who said she would help a few weeks ago, though, said she didn't think she could make it because she was so busy working on the PD presidential campaign, which made Primo fume. "How much difference does it make for someone in our district - suburban, well-educated professionals - to get a phone call telling them about the PD presidential candidate? Do they really think people don't know who's running for president?" [If they don't know by know, they are too stupid to vote is my opinion.] "The phone calls don't make a difference for him, but they would for me because I don't have millions of dollars in campaign contributions to fund ads!"

Oh he was annoyed.

So was I.

And then we feel guilty about being annoyed because these people are volunteers.

Sunday Nov 4 Primo is too skinny

I can see Primo's ribs. Good thing the election is Tuesday. Any longer, and he would waste away to nothing.

Primo saw a post on facebook this morning that bothered him. Someone had shot an elephant on a hunt in Africa and posted the photo.

"I'm going to post something!" he fumed. "This is indefensible! Wait! I'm going to unfriend her!"

I held my breath. The elephant guy is a mutual sort-of friend. I hate conflict, even with someone I have not seen for over 25 years and probably will never see again.

Although I, too, think it is stupid to hunt elephants. I don't mind hunting, but I do mind hunting that is done just for the sake of killing. Hunting deer you are going to eat is fine. Hunting a wild animal just to prove that you and your fancy gun are superior? That's dumb.

He stomped upstairs, loaded for bear. (Ha.)

He is cranky. It is the almost-election-day blues.

Half an hour later, he came back downstairs.

"I checked. African elephants are not endangered. Legal hunters pay tens of thousands of dollars to do these hunts. I still think it's stupid, but I guess it's OK."

"You know," I said, "that's one of the big differences between you and MaryJane and one of the things that bothers me the most about her. Before you spouted off on facebook, you checked the facts. MaryJane doesn't bother to do that. She just blurts out whatever is on her mind, whether it's factually correct or not. I will slit my wrists if she wins and you lose."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Saturday Nov 3 Late nights

Primo: Are we going to [wxyz]?

Me: No. That offer has already expired. I'm too sleepy.

Primo: But you said!

Me: Sure. At nine.

Primo: If I set the clocks back now, then will you be interested?

Saturday Nov 3 Stupid PD Party

Me: A woman whose brother has been in the state house for the past 11 years asked if you were getting any support from the party.

Primo: Nope.

Me: That's what I told her. I told her you were becoming a little bit disenchanted with the party.

Primo: There are a lot of us. Oh! I stopped by the local PD office over on Oak Street this afternoon.

Me: And?

Primo: They have campaign materials for [the PD presidential candidate] and [the PD senate candidate] and a script. I looked at the script: It said, "Don't forget to vote for the other Polka Dots on the ballot, blank and blank." They didn't say anything about me.

Me: Wait. Whose names did they have?

Primo: Nobody's! They hadn't put anyone else's name in there! And I'm the other Polka Dot on the ballot!

Me: Jerks.

Saturday Nov 3 The lesser of two evils

Primo: I met another voter who knows Mark [his opponent].

Me: And?

Primo: She liked me and liked my message, but she was already voting for Mark. I said, "I would have a chance if you didn't know Mark, wouldn't I?" She said yes.

Me: It's a nice position for a voter to be in to have to choose between two people she likes.

Primo: I know that with Romney and Obama, you think they are both top of the line candidates.

Me: Oh definitely.

Saturday Nov 3 Exhaustion

Primo: I don't think I'm going to take a shower on Wednesday. Or Thursday.

Me: Sounds good to me.

Primo: Do you realize that since August 24, I have taken a shower every single day?

Me: Wow. That's the most continuous showered days since we met!

Saturday Nov 3 Sometimes phone banking isn't all horrible

I hate calling people to ask them to vote for Primo. I calculated at the session we had on Thursday, we paid $2.60 for each voter contact, "contact" being defined as a conversation with the voter. A conversation does not mean the person will vote for Primo. Let's say less than half of the conversations yield a vote for him. That's over $5 a vote. I don't know if that's a good number or a bad number in campaign terms, but I do know that every $5 we spend on reaching voters is $5 I can't spend on a pedicure.

But. One of us must have left a message for this voter the other day, because he tracked Primo down and sent him an email. Poor guy. I think he's lonely. I get so sad when I see people who have lost their loved ones. But what a nice thing for him to do to write to Primo. I'll bet he wouldn't have gotten pissy with Primo for knocking on his door.

Hello Primo,

I missed the phone call to my home on November 1st. I moved to [our town] in the summer of 2009 following the death of my wife from metastatic breast cancer. My daughter, son-in-law, and two grandkids live here, which was my primary motivation for moving from [where I lived before]. I will be voting for you in the November 6th election. I am a retired public school educator, widower, Vietnam-era military veteran, and consider myself an independent. I will be voting for you on Tuesday. I wish I had more time to help with the campaigns of people that I support, but I have primary care responsibilities for my 97 year-old mother who lives [an hour from here].

No need to call again . . .

My best wishes for success on Tuesday and beyond,

T. Voter

Saturday Nov 3 Stolen yard sign

Someone took the "Primo for State House" sign from our yard. But if it was a malicious attempt to hide Primo's name from public view, it didn't work. Because our next-door neighbor and our two-doors-down neighbors also have the sign. Primo and I can't figure out what's going on. We shrugged and put up another one.

Saturday Nov 3 More doors

Four hours on doors today. My back is killing me. I can't believe Primo does this at least five hours every day. No wonder he is losing weight, is exhausted, and is cranky all the time.

A lot of people weren't home. One woman was out raking leaves. I asked if I could leave the flyer in her door. I didn't say anything else to her - tell her who I was campaigning for, nothing.

She looked at me flatly and said, "No." Then she returned to her raking.


An old man -89, according to the walk sheet (I cannot believe they have all this personal information about people and make it available to whomever wants it. That really, really bothers me) answered the door in his underwear. He warned me, though. I averted my eyes.

When I gave him the flyer, he said, "I've heard of him! I'm voting for him. He's an honest man. I can tell."

"He is!" I said.

"I was a sheriff's deputy for 35 years," he said. "I can tell."

Then he told me that he and his wife went to Switzerland five times after he retired - "She was Swiss and I'm German!" - but that she was dead.

I am really impressed at all the older people who still live on their own. I want to be like that when I get old.

Primo just got home. He said one guy was angry that Primo was knocking on doors. "That's worse than a robocall!" the man fumed.

Which I totally do not understand. A robocall is annoying. But don't you want to meet the people who are running to make the laws? Don't you want to meet the people you might be hiring to represent you? What a jerk.

Saturday Nov 3 Until death do us part

Primo: You're trying to kill me by cooking in uncoated aluminum!

Me: Nope. You're no good to me dead until you start work again and have your life insurance.

Saturday Nov 3 Fooling around, almost

Remember the guy who was hitting on Christina at the karaoke fundraiser?

I guess it's a good thing he didn't ask for her phone number, although I couldn't figure out why he wasn't because he was sure acting interested.

He's married.

Saturday Nov 3 Housework

I can't remember if I've written about this yet, but I have suggested to Primo that after Tuesday and before he starts work again after Thanksgiving, he should be in charge of all housecleaning and yard work and meal prep.

He's had a pretty good deal: I have done all that work up until now, first because he was working and I was not and now because I am working but he is working even more on the campaign.

But on Wednesday, he can rake the yard. He can clean the bathroom. He can wash the kitchen floor. He can wash the clothes. He can make supper.

It's only fair.

Saturday Nov 3 In the home stretch and fighting again

Primo and I had a big fight last night. We are both so on edge and ready for this to be over. I really am surprised that there are not more campaign-related murders.

We were fighting because Primo wanted me to do more doors and drop lit this weekend, even though last weekend, he had told me that was my last weekend to do doors because this weekend, there would be volunteers and he would just want me to stay at home and give material to people as they arrived.

We were also fighting because Primo had done nothing to secure volunteers.

He said that that's not what the candidate is supposed to do - that's something Samantha, the fired campaign manager, should have done.

I pointed out that I had called and emailed every single person who had said they would help and most of them blew me off, which I completely understand because WHO WANTS TO WORK ON A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN? I don't.

He was frustrated because he was very involved in some other campaigns this year and some of the people he helped have not reciprocated, which I agree is tacky.

Our conversation was not fruitful.

Me: But I don't want to do doors! You said I was done! I am so sick of this!

Primo: There aren't any volunteers.

Me: That's not my fault. I told you to call them a month ago when they weren't responding to me.

Primo: You should have nagged me more to call them.

Me: Oh, so it's my fault.

Primo [laughing]: Yes.

Me: I don't want to. I hate this. I hate this. I am SICK OF THIS! The past six months have been all about you. I am DONE! [I took my book and started hitting myself on the head with it. Not with the cover. That would have hurt. With the open pages.]

Primo: Stop! What are you doing?

Me: I. Hate. This. Every time I think I'm done, there's more to do. I never get a second to relax. You keep moving the goalposts.

Primo: I'm sorry, sweetie. I don't know what else to do. I had a skewed idea of what it was like to get volunteers. When I was working on those campaigns, this spring, they were the only ones. But now there is the presidential campaign and the senate campaign and other state house representatives. Nobody wants to help.

Me: I will divorce you if you ever run for office again.

Primo: I thought other people would help me the way I helped them.

Me: But they aren't. Some of them are, but most of them aren't. Can we agree that you will no longer volunteer for other politicians?

Primo: I think so.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Friday Nov 2 Preparing just in case

Primo: I don't have Mark's phone number.

Me: I thought about that.

Primo: One of us will be calling the other on Tuesday.

Me: I know. I didn't want to say anything.

Primo: He's been really  nice to me. Except for that one line on the news story, he hasn't said anything publicly about me that's mean.

Me: I k now.

Primo: Maybe there will be a last-minute hit piece.

Me: I hope not. I wouldn't think he would wait until the very last minute to mail something, though.

Primo: Could be. Could be something that's supposed to arrive tomorrow or Monday when I won't have a chance to respond.

Me: What would he say?

Primo: He could say I was a protester who signed the recall petition.

Me: I hope he doesn't do that.

Friday Nov 2 Primo believes what he's saying

Primo: Look at this! It's another email from the state Polka Dots, asking me to give money for the state house campaign.

Me: They haven't given you a penny!

Primo: I know! But they have no problem asking for my money!

Me: Jerks.

Primo: They haven't done anything for me.

Me: That will make it easier for you to be your own man and actually represent your constituents if you're elected.

Primo: I know. I've been thinking about that.

Me: I can tell - there's been a change in your tone.

Primo: What do you mean?

Me: I mean at the beginning of the campaign, it was like you were saying you were running as a moderate because you thought that was the only way you could be elected. But now, you're saying it like you believe it.

Primo: I did! I did think it was the only way to get elected. But now, I am convinced it's the right thing to do. I'm disgusted with the party. I do believe it.

Friday Nov 2 Phone bank the second

1. People who said they were going to show up didn't show up. I got mad. Then I got mad at myself for being mad because they are volunteers and dang, can you blame them for not coming? It's crap working at a phone bank. And then they did show up - they had forgotten but then remembered. Then I felt guilty for being mad because they are such nice people and are so sincere on the phone. "We know Primo. He's a great guy."

NB: Sending out an email two days before the event and leaving a voicemail the day before is not enough to be top of mind. Good learning for next time.

2. There was a group of people leaving the phone bank when I arrived. They were paid callers who were working for the Polka Dot Senate candidate. After eavesdropping for a minute, I thought, "I would rather not have anyone call on Primo's behalf than have someone with that grammar call." Their language was atrocious. Honestly. We were (sort of) picky about our volunteers. They represent Primo. We don't want people to think, "This person is ignorant and crass, so the candidate must also be ignorant and crass." Maybe I sound like an elitist, but I do think the proper use of the English language does give a person some credibility. I wonder if the PD candidate knows whom the call center hired on her behalf. I also want to know why they have to pay people if the candidate is so great.  We're not paying our volunteers. Except in cookies.

3. One of our volunteers is going to spend Tuesday stopping people on the street to ask if they've voted and if not, directing them to their polling place. My question to her is if someone doesn't know where her polling place is by election day, isn't that person in fact too ignorant and uninformed to vote?

4. If you get about 20 hangups in a row, it might not be that you're making a political call. It  might be that somehow, the outgoing sound on your headset has been turned off and the person at the other end of the line cannot hear anything.

5. Some people eat supper at 5:40 p.m., which is when I am rolling in the door after work. I get home at 5:30, feed the cats, change clothes, get my clothes ready for the next day, pack my breakfast and lunch for the next day, and then I start thinking about supper. Who actually has supper on the table at 5:40? Well, apparently, some voters do, because this woman got really testy with me for calling at suppertime. I don't blame her for not wanting the political calls, but if you don't want to be bothered at supper, why do you answer the phone? When I was in high school, the phone was not answered during meals and that was before answering machines. My dad always said, "If it's important, they'll call back." I don't recall that there were huge life events that were missed in the 70s because people didn't pick up the phone every time it rang.

6. It bothers me a lot less for a voter to reject Primo because she's checked him out and doesn't agree with him than when someone just doesn't care to make the effort. One conversation last night:

Me: Have you heard of Primo's campaign?

Voter: No.

Me: Would you like some information about him?

Voter: No. I've already decided who I'm voting for.

7. But there are some fun callers:

Me: Have you heard of Primo's campaign?

Voter: Oh yeah! He came by. We talked. I got you covered!

Me: Well great!

Voter: You have a blessed and a good day, now!

8. Primo: Oh! It's calling Leslie B!

Me: Who's that?

Primo: Our neighbor Leslie! Down the street! I talked to her when I was doing doors!

Me: Oh, right! She's really nice.

[Call connects]

Primo: Hi. This is Primo. I'm running for --

Primo: She hung up!

Me: I'll bet she's tired of political calls.

Primo: It's OK. I know she's voting for me. She was the first person to donate to my campaign.

Me: Really? How much?

Primo: Five dollars.

Me: Wow. She is an older divorced lady on a tight budget. You must have really impressed her. [No snark - I mean it. She does not have money to spare.]

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Thursday Nov 1 We get a thank-you note from the green tomato pie lady

Remember the green tomato pie I made? And that I gave a piece to the people who had thrown out all the green tomatoes? And Primo came to the door to campaign while I was explaining who I was and why I was giving them pie?

Well. They dropped off a thank-you note today!

Here's what it says.

Goldy and Primo,

Thank you for the delicious green tomato pie that you made by salvaging the plant that we, shall we say, "retired" for the season.

It was such a lovely and gracious gesture for you to drop it off for us to sample. If ever there were a way to secure my vote, this pie may have cinched it...

But not on my weakness for sweets alone. It represents so much more: the kindness of our neighbors (why we love this town so much) and a demonstration of your commitment not to waste and a respect for the environment.

We're off to vote early now. Best to you both!

Julie and Eddie

Thursday Nov 1 Primo, Ralph, and Potsie deconstruct a stupid survey

One question survey

Thanks to all who have responded. If you haven't yet, please reply to this email  to get us your answer by the end of the day tomorrow, Thursday November 1st.

Please respond by November 1

The Pentagon budget, plus military-related intelligence, homeland security and nuclear programs; veterans' affairs; and defense-related interest on the national debt account for nearly one-quarter of the entire federal budget or more than half of discretionary spending, at $832 billion (for fiscal year 2012).

The United States spends more on war and weaponry than all of our potential adversaries combined. In fact, U.S. military spending could be cut by 80 percent and still remain the largest military budget in the world. Moreover, U.S. military spending has nearly doubled since 2001, both in real dollars and as a percentage of federal discretionary spending.

Do you support redirecting some portion of the U.S. military budget to meet domestic needs, such as education, housing, healthcare, programs supporting veterans and their families, public and private sector job creation, infrastructure, and environmental protection?

How to respond

You may respond by simply replying to this email with your answer (yes or no, plus any comments),

Friends of
9:35 PM (11 hours ago)
to Potsie, Ralph, Primo

Should I ignore this "survey" or respond to it?

My answer to the question below is "yes," but this is an extremely left-leaning organization. The e-mail below says they do not endorse candidates, but it does say that "We will publish all the candidate responses we receive and share them with our members."

I suspect that you will advise me to stay away from this, but I'm not 100% sure.


9:37 PM (11 hours ago)
to friends, Ralph, Primo
Yeah, you can ignore this. I don't suspect it will gain you any votes, and you won't be voting in any capacity whatsoever on the apportionment of the federal budget. I hate when these groups send out surveys to state candidates.

9:39 PM (11 hours ago)
to Potsie, friends, Primo
Agreed with Potsie. Yeah, this is just stupid. If they think state candidates should be answering these questions, they have no business in state politics.
You will gain nothing from this but grief.

9:44 PM (11 hours ago)
to Ralph, Potsie, friends
OK, then. I will ignore it.
Thanks for the quick responses, guys!

9:47 PM (11 hours ago)
to Primo, Potsie, friends
You don't need to ignore, but you can reply "thanks, but i am not seeking further endorsements at this time" and that's it. If that's cool with Potsie.
I mean, did they just remember there is an election in a few days?
9:48 PM (11 hours ago)
to Ralph, Primo, friends

Haha! That would be crass and HILARIOUS. I wouldn't have a problem with that, 
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Well, the e-mail says "We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization and do not endorse candidates," but it also says that they "will publish all the candidate responses we receive and share them with our members."

Therefore, a statement that I'm not seeking further endorsements would not be appropriate because they don't endorse!
I think it's probably better to ignore the e-mail unless we can come up with something else. :)

9:55 PM (10 hours ago)
to Primo, Potsie, friends
Ahhh good catch, Primo.

That is right, do not reply at all.
Besides, it would be pointless anyway. Especially because they aren't going to do anything for you.

9:56 PM (10 hours ago)
to Ralph, Primo, friends

They might offer you a pair of Birkenstocks or something.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

10:02 PM (10 hours ago)
to potsie, Ralph, friends
If this were on Facebook, I'd definitely "Like" the comment about Birkenstocks. :)

10:03 PM (10 hours ago)
to Primo, Potsie, friends
LOL i am still laughing :D 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wednesday Oct 31 And even more crankiness

Tonight was supposed to be our relax and cook a steak night. It was supposed to be our last down time before the election. Monday, we had the karaoke fundraiser. Tuesday, we had the forum. Thursday, we have the phone bank. And this weekend and Monday, it's doors and lit dropping until dark.

It didn't work out that way. I didn't come home, make cheese grits and bok choy while Primo made the steak, and watch a movie.

Instead, I came home to find out that the volunteer had done postcards for the wrong list, which was our fault because we gave the list to her, and that I had nine walk sheets to enter into the voter database.

I spent from 5:30 to 10:00 working on campaign crap. I get home at 5:30 p.m. and my alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m.

I am a very, very cranky person.

Wednesday Oct 31 Ted backpedals on his email

Oh man. What a jerk. This is Ted's attempt to be nice. For the record, Primo dresses in khakis and a nice shirt when he does doors. For the TV segment, he wore navy blue slacks. Do you want your politicians to come to your door in ragged old jeans? I would like one who looks like he respects the process and thinks I am worthy of being groomed for.

what I meant to say in my last email was Keep Your Chin Up, but perhaps hike your pants down an inch or two. perhaps lose the button-down collar when canvassing, also. we common folk don't relate to the Brooks Brothers look.

just a thought (from an undefeated politician!)

proud of you for getting out there. also it's great that your wife and employer support this. that's perhaps even more important.

btw: man, your opponent sure is a Major Dickhead.



Wednesday Oct 31 Crankiness abounds‏

I tried to call Primo on my way to the gym at lunch, as is my habit, but he didn't answer the phone.

I tried calling him again on my way back from the gym.

Still no answer.

So I assumed he was dead.

But then I went into the campaign email account and saw that he had sent emails and was getting an early start on doors.

He was just ignoring me.

Still, I had to ask him some questions so I could get the volunteers organized. I called again and reached him and he was a cranky butt.

"I'm tired of doing doors!" he said. "I just want this to be over!"

Me, too.

Wednesday Oct 31 Depressed volunteers

We have a lady who has done a tremendous amount of work for Primo. She addressed - and stamped, with stamps she had bought - dozens of postcards. 

She said she would address more. I didn't expect her to pay for stamps, but just having her do the tedious, time-consuming work of addressing them was such a relief. If I had to address all the postcards - there were three other volunteers addressing, as well, I would not have time to sleep.

I emailed her a few days ago to ask if Primo could pick up her last batch of cards. "We need to get them in the mail by Thursday," I wrote.

She didn't answer. Didn't answer. Didn't answer.

I emailed again. I called. I hate to nag. I especially hate to nag someone who is doing me a favor, but the postcards had to get in the mail in time to get delivered before the election.

She finally wrote back. She had been in a blue funk, she explained, because her grandson joined the army paratroopers and was about to be deployed to Afghanistan.

That would worry anyone.

Then she went on to say that she was so disappointed in his decision to join the military and that now, he appeared to be disenchanted as well, so maybe he would get out.

All I said was I hoped for his safe return home.

What I did not say - because it was not my place and it was not relevant and I sure wasn't going to change her mind - was that there is nothing wrong with joining the US military. That it was not something shameful. Shameful is willing to live with all the benefits of our country without being willing to make any of the sacrifice to maintain them. Not that I think the war in Afghanistan is necessary for American freedom. That is a legitimate point to debate. But her dismay seemed to be with the military overall, not the war in Afghanistan.

But so what? She would be justifiably upset even if her grandson were going to fight a war we could all agree is righteous. Nobody wants a loved one to go to war. It just hit me a tiny little bit the wrong way. But then I slammed it back because this lady is a volunteer who has helped just because she likes Primo. I am grateful for that. It doesn't matter if she and I disagree on the role of the military and who should be in it.

She said she could drop the postcards off at our house.

She did.

I pulled them out to inspect them.

She had done only one of the six walk lists Primo had given her.

Which was disappointing, because I thought she was going to finish the entire stack. Indeed, when she wrote that she was done, I thought she meant she had done all of them.

And then I started looking more closely. Primo and I had made a mistake. We had included a walk list for which postcards had already been done.

And that was the only walk list she did.

Which meant we had two dozen duplicates.

And five walk lists undone.

I guess I would rather have known five days ago that she wasn't going to be able to finish. But what can you say? Nothing. She is a volunteer who has been helpful and generous. You just swallow and think, "Next time, I will have to figure out how to prevent this."

Wednesday Oct 31 Everyone has a point of view‏

I was looking through Primo's campaign email account and saw a note from one of his supporters to an organization she wants to endorse Primo. She had copied Primo on her note to the organization.

She said,

Last night I attended the candidate forum for State House Districts 25 and 26. I submitted a question about restoring funding to the technical school system. MaryJane and Primo responded in a knowledgeable way that showed they understand tech colleges and our local tech school in particular. The Stripes on the other hand didn't really address re-funding the system. Here's what Mark Smith, District 25 rep. said and these are his exact words: "We don't need a robust technical school system" because private companies would rather train their workers themselves.  I was gobsmacked! (and troubled, as this guy is my rep.)

What she wrote is technically correct and maybe true. I think. I don't remember Smith's exact words. What I remember is what he went on to say, which was that employers want someone who can do basic math, who knows what a right triangle is, who can read and write. Employers want people who are trainable. Smith said that what we really need to focus on is the k-12 system - that it is not serving employer needs. 

And I agree with him.

For the record? This woman works for the tech school. I don't know what her salary is, but the woman in charge of the cosmetology program makes $132,000 a year plus benefits. The teacher contract at that school says the teachers will work no more than 32 hours a week. The cosmetology program doesn't run in the summer.

I think there might be room for some fiscal improvement.

Wednesday Oct 31 The candidate forum‏

Primo participated in a candidate forum last night, along with his opponent, Mark Smith, and the candidates for two other districts.

It was nervewracking and it was fun.

1. Primo was the last candidate to give his opening statement. I had read it in the car on the way over. It was focused and addressed straight on the issues that Mark had raised in the news story about Primo's mailer showing him flanked by supporters of both Senate candidates. Mark had said that Primo wasn't running an honest campaign, that he was a protester who had signed the recall petition. Primo said that yes, he was, but it wasn't a partisan issue with him as much as it was a procedural one. As Primo and I have argued about this issue many, many times, I think the truth is between what he said and what he did, but there is no doubt about the truth of his closing statement, which was that he would legislate in a way that would represent his constituents, not necessarily in a way that advanced his own personal agenda and beliefs. 

So. The other five candidates went first and they all rambled on about their wives and kids and where they grew up and I was thinking, "Who cares about this stuff? What is your overall philosophy of government? What would you do if you were elected?"

I was relieved because I knew Primo would not talk about that BS.

But he fell to the peer pressure! He opened not with what he had written but with a statement about his wife, Goldy, and how supportive I had been and how we were only married a few years because we met at our college 20-year reunion. He smiled at me as he said it and I rolled my eyes. But then he said the statement as scripted. It was the best opening statement.

2. He was very nervous during the questions. This is the first time he has ever done anything like this. All the other candidates are already elected officials or have run in other races and been on forums or in debates. Blesshisheart. But he still did well. He fumbled a little at the beginning of some of the questions - which came from the audience, so the candidates didn't know what to expect - but recovered in the end. This is the kind of thing you get good at only by doing it. The substance of his comments was solid. 

3. He is getting better about making eye contact with the audience, but when he is thinking, he looks away. We'll have to work on that. He is better than he used to be. When he would read at church, he used to look straight down at the Bible the entire time and never once make eye contact with the congregation. He has improved enormously since those days, but has more room to get better. And he will.

4. When the candidates were asked what issue they disagreed with their party on (that's awkward phrasing, isn't it?), Primo was only the second one to answer. He panicked. He didn't have time to think about the answer. I was miming smoking a cigarette to coach him about the smoking ban and private property rights. Primo and I agree that telling bar owners that smoking is illegal is an egregious violation of their property rights. I absolutely agree that smoking should not be allowed in the library or the DMV or in any public building, but private property? If I don't like the smoke, I don't have to go there or work there.

Primo didn't know what I was doing. He told me later that he thought I was telling him to relax. Then he spent the rest of the evening kicking himself for not thinking of the smoking issue.

But he still did fine. He said that the Polka Dots complained about the way the Stripes did the redistricting, but when the PDs had the chance to change the rules, they didn't. He (and I) both think there should be a non-partisan group that draws the district lines.

5. There were only a few attendees and I think most of them were the campaign staffs and the families of the candidates. Plus a reporter, the same one I see at my board meetings where people think we want to kill kittens.

6. Samantha was there. She wants $100 from Primo to pay for some maps that she ordered without his authorization. She was supposed to bring the maps; Primo was supposed to bring the money. He took the money. She didn't bring the maps. We did not speak to her. As in, we carefully avoided her. Note to us: The next time we hire someone for a $7,000 job, get references and get other bids. We did that for our $5,000 driveway job. Why on earth didn't we do it with this? (Hint: I was not in charge and in fact, I was trying to stay out of it. Plus Primo had really liked Samantha when she was working for Teresa. But I stayed out of the divorce negotiations and that was a big mistake. Note to self: Always interfere when there is money involved.)

7. I met Mark Smith. Primo went up to him to say hello, then brought him over to meet me. He told me right away that he liked my writing. He must have googled me, which makes sense, because I would do the same if I were investigating an opponent. So he had read the columns I wrote for the paper. "So you know Primo and I are in a mixed marriage," I smiled. 

He laughed and said yes, he had figured that out and had wondered about putting a sign in our yard.

We talked about voter ignorance. "There are so many people who have told me they would vote for me just because I am the first candidate who has ever come to their door!" he said.

"I know! Primo has heard the same thing! Don't you want to tell them, 'Don't you think you should do some research on the issues and see where I stand?'"

He nodded. "Yes. But if that's how they're going to vote, I'll take it."

As will Primo. But I still think it's kind of sad. It was especially sad that there was such a low turnout. This stuff is important!

8. Primo and I both really like Mark. He is a super nice guy, gracious, warm. Primo made some pointed comments about Mark during the forum, but they were policy issues, not personal attacks. Afterwards, we talked to Mark. Primo said, "You know, I actually agree with you on some of these issues." Which was true - during the forum, there were at least two times when Mark made a point that Primo agreed with when it was his turn.

Mark said, "We should have a beer when this is all over. I hate the way politics has become so divisive. I used to be friends with most of the Polka Dots at the capitol."

Primo agreed. "Whichever one wins, let's have a beer."

Which I think is how it should work.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Tuesday Oct 30 Aftermath of the karaoke fundraiser‏

I got a ride home with a friend and Primo stayed at the fundraiser, which was crazy because he was up past 4 a.m. the night before. I had thought there might be a possibility of [wxyz] if we both were home before 9, but he didn't get home until 11:30, when I had already been asleep for over an hour.

So no hanky panky.

Guess what? If Primo goes two nights without sleep and then has a beer or two or three, he feels really crummy the next day. He is no longer 16 years old.

Tonight, we have the candidate forum. I suspect he will be consuming a lot of caffeine between now and then.

I don't know how much money he raised last night. I know he paid his friend $100 to run the karaoke show and he bought a couple of pizzas. I know also that at least three people wrote checks, but the one I saw was for only $40. "Only" in the sense that $40 does not cover the cost of the show, not in the sense that that person was not generous. We are grateful for every donation. Every dollar someone gives Primo is a dollar he worked hard to earn and is a dollar he can't spend on someone else. 

I hope we at least broke even.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Monday Oct 29 Ted's critical, unsolicited email to Primo

And this is the very useful email from Primo's half brother Ted, whose other useful advice to date was to refer Primo to a political friend of his in DC who was supposed to plug Primo in and give him all kinds of great advice.

The DC friend's advice?

Advertise on facebook!

For that, Primo wasted 20 minutes on the phone?

The email, which Ted sent after watching the news clip with Primo and the political reporter.

you could have made much more hay with your position on this. when in the public eye, one must be ready for immediate media engagement/attack.

practice, rehearse your response. never say "um" or "but" on camera.

you are very smart to engage the voters by insinuating that you're independent. however, tactically, you need a strong follow-up response, e.g., a planned, on-camera recording from dems and reps attesting to your bi-partisanship. bi-partisanhood. in your hood.

ok, you understand.

again, bravo for you getting out there and getting it done.

don't hike your pants up so high over your hips. looks gooberish.

love ted

What a loser. And Primo does not hike his pants high over his hips.

Monday Oct 29 Update about Samantha and the website

Remember I told you Samantha was invoicing that other candidate $3,000 and holding hostage the website that the candidate had paid for?

She shut down the website today.

Yes. Today, one week away from the election, Samantha closed the candidate's website.

The candidate is going to sue. I am not a big fan of civil lawsuits, but boy do I think this candidate has a case.

Monday Oct 29 Mean people at the karaoke fundraiser

So we were all having fun and Primo sang and after he sang, these two guys at the bar - who had been at the bar for a while - called him over to tell him he was in the wrong profession and that he needed to sing professionally.

Then I sang and I was finally warmed up, so I didn't sound too awful on "You're No Good" and "Wedding Bell Blues." The same two guys called me over and told me I sang really well, which I took as evidence that they were pretty drunk, because I am not good.

Then I took some of Primo's campaign literature over to them. Primo had been talking to them and they  had heard his little political speech, so they knew what was going on.

I handed the piece to Guy #1. He asked what party Primo is. As I handed the literature to Guy #2, I answered. "He's running as a Polka Dot."

Guy #2 lifted his hand and let the literature drop from his fingers to the floor.

"I hate Polka Dots,"  he said.

"He's married to a Stripe," I told him. "I'm his wife."

Guy #1 looked at me. "Shame on you!" he said. "Shame on you!"

I was confused. "He's a Polka Dot, I'm a Stripe."

His face got red. "I heard what you said! Shame on you!"

I was really confused. "Why?"

You can tell I am not used to being around drunks. I was actually trying to reason with them.

Shame on me.

"You're a Stripe? Shame on you!"

Guy #2 was shaking his head. "I hate Polka Dots. I wouldn't vote for a Polka Dot if my life depended on it."

Guy #1 continued to glare at me. I finally figured out that he didn't like me because I was a Stripe and Guy #2 didn't like Primo because he was a Polka Dot.

Yet they were drinking together.

I continued to blunder along. "But aren't you two friends?" I asked. "You're a Polka Dot and you're a Stripe but you're friends."

"Don't try to get between us!" Guy #1 bellowed.

I finally realized I was 1. being an idiot and 2. wasting my time.

I bent over, picked up the dropped lit piece, and said, "You guys have a nice evening."

Guy #2 muttered into his beer as I walked away. "I hate Polka Dots!" Guy #1 glared at me and yelled something that I couldn't hear and decided to ignore.''


Monday Oct 29 Karaoke cuties‏

Our friend Christina came to the karaoke fundraiser. She's actually Primo's bar friend/nighttime wife. She was one of the first to arrive. Shortly thereafter, another candidate, Brad, showed up. 

Christina is 30 years old. She has long black hair. Big brown eyes. She models on the side, but works in finance during the day. Sharp cookie, pretty, nice as can be.

Brad went straight for Christina. 

I didn't figure out what was going on right away so I interfered.

"Are you one of Primo's karaoke friends? Or are you a political friend?" he asked her.

She was slow to answer and I thought he really wanted the information, not just an excuse to talk to her, so I interjected. "She's apolitical, but has been helping anyhow."

His head didn't even swivel my way.

Oh right! I thought. For dumb! Unmarried man + pretty unmarried woman = no interest in third party.

I smiled, turned away, and thanked God I am no longer single. Not that I had men making a beeline for me, but dang, the anxiety. And at least now I could think, "He's ignoring me because I'm married, not because I am unappealing."

Who knows what will happen with them? I tried to set Christina up with this super nice, intelligent, interesting man at work, but she turned me down. I'm not sure if she's interested in stable and marriageable at this stage.

Brad and Christina sang a few duets together. I didn't see him ask for her number, but he did ask if she was facebook friends with Primo. Maybe that's the new ask.

Brad posted a comment on Primo's event page saying that Christina was a fabulous singer. I wonder if he counts that as making a move. I don't.



Monday Oct 29 Late nights

Primo was up past 4 a.m. finishing the campaign finance report and the copy for the last mailer.

Bless his procrastinating heart.