Saturday, February 4, 2017

In which Primo is interviewed by the local paper and for a radio show where one of the questions they ask him is about marijuana legalization, which is not part of his campaign at all, and people give money to his campaign without even being asked, which astonishes and delights us

We are only a few weeks from the election. We are both exhausted. Primo is going into full campaign mode, which means knocking on doors every day all day.

Which means he is not doing his usual home chores, which means if they are to be done, I am doing them, which I am, because I like living in a clean house.

We had this conversation last night about the cat vomit I saw on the carpet in the basement (where, by the way, there is about five times as much uncarpeted, raw cement floor than paid to buy and install by the square yard non-vomit or hair-repelling carpet):
Me: Hey! You said Shirley had vomited. I thought you had cleaned it up!
Primo: Yeah! I saw it this morning ON MY WAY TO DO LAUNDRY!
Me: Really? I saw it tonight AFTER WORK!
So then he cleaned it up while I watched the rest of season one of Madame Secretary, which was good - I accomplished my mission.

Although he does have time to go to Woodman's and buy, buy, buy. The list is just a suggestion. Most times, he goes off-list and that's not a horrible thing but do we really need

* three containers of Kim-chee flavored instant ramen soup
* ground turkey (Me: This stuff is 27% fat, you know. I never buy it. Primo: Oh! I thought just because it was turkey, it was good! Me: Yeah, they rely on that.)
* more frozen chicken breasts - we are trying to reduce inventory, not replenish everything - we don't have room in the freezer for the ten pounds of roasted Hatch chiles our friends bought for us and have in their freezer.

OK. I am being bitchy here and I said I would not do that. What does crack me up is that Primo has set the stock reorder point for toothpaste, razors, and toilet paper at 18 months. That is, Primo ensures that we have an 18-month supply of these products in the house at all times. 

When the apocalypse comes and there is no toilet paper to be found, Primo and I will be in tall cotton.

Primo is getting so good! He has become a much better speaker. He is more confident and although the only pivoting he does is with me - witness

Me: They had the head of the DNR on the radio this morning talking about the cool stuff they have done to make hunting licenses and deer tags easier.
Primo: The head of the DNR is [bad because of political stuff]
Me: That's not what I want to talk about. You can report your deer online now! And you can keep your license on your phone! Or link it electronically to your drivers license so the game warden just has to scan your drivers license!
Primo: [political stuff]
Me: How come you can pivot with me but you always answer the question when some political person asks you something instead of pivoting to your agenda and your talking points?

Anyhow, he talked to the paper and then he had a live radio interview. The plan for the radio interview was to pivot to education, his main thing.

Me: Would you like some feedback on your speaking?
Primo: Sure.
Me: Stop talking way before you think you are done.
Primo: I talk a lot.
Me: Yes. You are talking to friendlies. You don't need to convince them or to bore them with a lot of technical supporting detail.
Primo: OK.

But they asked him about all kinds of other things that had nothing to do with his platform, one of the main ones being about the legalization of pot, which both Primo and I support. I think all drugs should be legal. Adults should be able to ruin their own lives if they want. They are not, however, allowed to ruin the lives of their children, so if you want to spend your days in an altered state, as much as I think it should be very, very hard for the State to separate children from their parents, you should lose your kids.

Primo: They asked about pot. I answered, then I finally said, "I'd like to mention a few more things." I got in the stuff about education! It was at the very end, but I did it.

Like I said - he is getting good. :)

People have been contributing to his campaign! It's so bizarre and so, so nice. The absolute worst thing about politics is having to ask for money. I guess if we were really rich, we could spend a ton of our money on the campaign, but we are not really rich or even somewhat rich. We are ordinary middle-class people with one professional job between them.

Most of the contributions are small - $20 here and there, but even $20 is a big deal. That's four fancy coffees. Or a decent dinner out for one person. Half a tank of gas. It is not throw-away money.

But some of them are big - a couple hundred dollars. That is astonishing. We are so, so grateful to all the contributors and their confidence in Primo. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

In which Primo gets yard signs that do not have to be folded and then stapled in 12 different places

 and it is worth the extra $1.10 per sign - these cost $3.50 each vs the $2 something that the signs cost four years ago - not to deal with the drama and the paper cuts and the damn staples.


The Woman who assembled hundreds of yard signs for the first campaign, a task that required stapling each sign in ten different places and involved many many paper cuts, even though you wouldn't think that heavy paper could give a person a paper cut (it can)

We are rich people now, spending big bucks on yard signs.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

In which one of Primo's benefactors says he will pay for the food at the karaoke fundraiser

We are lucky to know this political insider/kingmaker named - hmmm - let's call him Magwitch, not because he is a reformed criminal (although he did used to hold elected office - but no - Magwitch is kind and honest and he just really likes Primo) - who loves Primo and has been a strong supporter since the first campaign.

Magwitch is an extrovert who loooooves politics and wants to be involved in everything and he is always out doing something political.

He and his wife and his son, who is an elected representative at the state level, said they would like to donate the food for the karaoke fundraiser.

We are stunned, because we did not expect that kind of generosity from anyone. Also, because based on my experience attending political fundraisers over the past few years, nobody expects decent food. However, every event Magwitch and Mrs Magwitch have hosted has been delicious. They find a way to hire some guy who lives in their son's district to make BBQ and get the neighbors to make dessert and it's a mac and cheese, red velvet cake, and cornbread feast every single time. These are about the only events I don't get cranky attending with Primo or even donating money to, because the food is always worth it and I get to see people I like (hey Shauntay! Hey Ruth! Hey Stephanie!), which is not so common for political events. Liking the people, I mean. Usually, I can leave them more than I can take them, but Magwitch et al have good vibes and draw good people to them.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

In which the organizer responds and encourages Primo to come just to network

email from the event organizer:

Last thing - 

Our privacy clause does not exclude you from networking at this event and using these contacts to follow up with and discuss your campaign after forum. I've made great contacts through forum and been able to both help contact and benefit from those I've met through forum. So again, I would encourage you to come this evening and come at 5:30 to meet and greet with people and sit down and have dinner with the members. There is a lot of time to mingle during these events.  

Trump's campaign manager had to drop out at the last minute because of Trump's daughter's visit so this will most likely open up more time for the local session. 

On Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 4:20 PM, [the event organizer] wrote:

Hi Primo, 

I am sorry I was not able to get back to you right away. I have just started a new job and have been juggling this event and another event I am planning. The event is private and it is meant to inform our members. We seek to not have anyone quoted by media in these meetings to keep the dialogue open and honest. Members are intended to learn from the discussions and take back insights from the event to their communities, but they are not meant to quote people or speakers at our events. This means that yes we take some ideas from the forum, but we keep our sources to ourselves. This is usually to protect speakers and members from being scrutinized for their honest opinions and thoughts or lack of knowledge related to issues. Race is a huge issue that we talk about and many people have missteps when speaking about this, but it is a necessary when trying to have these difficult conversations. 

While this forum is different because you are actively running for election. I encourage you to come tonight and we can discuss further with the president. There will still be a restriction on any social media during the actual event. It is natural to want to campaign and influence as many potential voters as possible, so I understand your concerns and they are completely legitimate so I will work with our leadership that suits both of our interests. 

Additionally, we have after forum at a bar close to the venue and there are no restrictions on media then except that you are not allowed to say this is a forum event. This can also be a very good opportunity to speak with potential voters and know that they can directly quote you. 

Please feel free to call me if you would like to speak more in depth. 

Thank you for your patience, 

In which Primo, after getting no explanation about the request for confidentiality, declines to participate in the Secret Society forum, and I am very proud

Dear [organizers],

Having not received a response to my request for clarification of the confidentiality requirements for this evening's event, I must decline the invitation to participate. I apologize for the late notice, but I was not aware until last night that there were any restrictions on writing or posting about what will be discussed during the forum.

As a candidate for public office, I am not comfortable with participating in any kind of private or confidential debate, discussion, or forum with my opponent or any representative of his campaign. Issues that matter to the residents of my state house district should be discussed publicly, and in my view it is not appropriate to describe a private event that includes multiple candidates or their representatives as as a "forum" or "town hall." I understand that events such as tonight's forum may not be open to the public because of capacity restrictions, membership requirements or security considerations, but my participation will not be helpful to the voters in my district or to my campaign if the topics discussed during the forum and the candidates' positions on those issues cannot be discussed publicly after the event.

I am sure that tonight's discussion will be very interesting, but I am sorry that I cannot attend given my (rough, perhaps incomplete) understanding of the rules for confidentiality.

With regret,


In which Primo asks for more information about the forum

From the organizer:

One last thing that I forgot to mention, at the forum we aim to foster candid conversations that are not restricted by the fear of public scrutiny. In order to maintain this, all of our meetings are behind closed doors and are invite only. We do not allow media at any of our events. This also includes social media. We remind our members at the beginning of each meeting that there are no social media postings while the forum is taking place or after about the discussion. Please keep this in mind before tomorrow's event. 

Thank you again for your participation!

Primo's response

Thank you for sending the agenda, the questions, and the rules for tomorrow's event, but I must say that I am frustrated by the late delivery of this information.

All I knew until this week (based on a few phone conversations and text messages exchanged with [the organizer]) were the start time of the event (5:30) and the fact that there would be some period of time for food and drink before the discussion. I was surprised to see that the portion of the program pertaining to state issues and my campaign will not begin until 7:45.

As someone who has not previously participated in or attended a [Secret Society] Forum event, I was also surprised by your message about the rules. I understand no posting on social media or tweeting during the event, but is it also true that nothing discussed, revealed, or learned at the event should be discussed after the event? Even more specifically, do you ask that we not even say anything about having participated in the forum or who was in attendance?

Please let me know exactly what is OK and not OK to discuss about the forum.

Thanks and best regards,


In which Primo discusses the Secret Society with a friend of his

Primo's email about the secret society to his friend who is helping with the campaign:

I have become more and more curious about the [Secret] Forum, especially after the revelations of the past day.
[Our friend on the county board] either is a member or has been a participant in the past. I copied you on my response to his message, which suggests to me that he may be a member. It seemed that he was trying to suggest that I should not participate.
There is almost nothing on the Internet about the [Secret] Forum, but after some digging I learned some very disturbing things from this brief article:
  • [Someone who ran for state supreme court] is or was a member.
  • The group has a strict code of silence.
  • The last time it was mentioned in the [local paper] was 1999 (by [political columnists]). Unfortunately, the links to the old articles in the Google archive no longer work.
The Form 990-N filings reveal very little other than the name of one officer per year (i.e., per filing). If you click on this link to the most recent filing, you'll see that the name of the "Principal Officer" was [someone]. I don't know who she is, but if you click (within that page) on the links to the filings for previous years, some interesting names come up:

Tax year 2011: [a Primo nemesis who was a Primo friend until he switched sides] (!)
Tax year 2008: [someone on the other side who is high profile] 
This seems to confirm my conspiracy theory about [former friend]. He was a servant of the rich and powerful, and eventually someone took care of him by getting him a high-paying job at [a good place to work].
[My opponent] is apparently a member of a similar high-powered group, the [State secret] Forum:
I am tempted to attend the event just to see who is there and take a look behind the curtains of power, but I have a feeling that I might be asked to sign some kind of confidentiality agreement.

The right thing to do is probably to decline the invitation because I am running for public office and I am not interested in discussing or debating things with my opponent (or his representative) in a non-public setting. Any event with representatives of general election campaigns that is billed as a "forum" or "town hall" should be open to the public or should allow what happens to be reported in the media.
Really weird stuff...

In which Primo considers exposing the secret group

Primo: Should I try to expose this group?

Me: It could really hurt you.

Primo: There are some really powerful people on it. The woman who invited me? She is on the DNC!

Me: Yeah, it could hurt you, but you are not a loser whose only job and prospects are in politics.

Primo: They are not doing it right! This is the behind the scenes secret stuff people hate!

Me: I know. She might destroy you politically, but it's not like you are some idiot who can't get a job in the private sector. You have options.

Primo: I am so tempted to forward the confidential agreement that they asked me to sign to [the newspaper political columnist].

Me: You should.

Primo: [My friend on the county board] has no other options*, so he probably feels like he doesn't have a choice. And his complaint isn't even that they are secret but that they are too [the other party]!

* The county board friend is a career politician who is re-elected I don't know why because he strikes me as a complete moron. His private sector experience? He worked in retail for a few years before he was elected. And not corporate strategy for retail - actually at the store.

In which Primo discovers that the group hosting the forum is really the Knights Templar

Primo: I did some more research about the group. They are literally a secret society. There has been nothing about them in the paper since 1999. They are a non-profit with a low income, so the only thing they have to declare is their director. [My political friend] is a member. I think [my opponent] might be, as well. He belongs to a group that appears to be associated with it.

Me: So it's non-partisan? Or bi-partisan?

Primo: Yes. It seems to be about power more than party.

Me: I am so shocked.

Primo: Plus they want a diverse membership.

Me: A secret society that wants diversity?

Primo: I know. Anyhow, I think I shouldn't go.

Me: I agree.

Primo: And I think I should make a public statement about why I am not going - that I am not going to attend secret campaign events to which my opponent has also been invited. I can have private meetings with my own team, but if my opponent is invited and we would be talking about issue that affect voter, it should be open. It's just wrong to have that stuff be secret.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

In which Primo declines to participate in a Double Secret Probation campaign event

Primo: I just found out that this forum tomorrow night? They don't want anyone talking about it!

Me: What do you mean?

Primo: I mean they sent me an email telling me they don't want me posting about it on facebook or on any social media.

Me: During the forum, you mean? So you are actually focused on the event?

Primo: Not just during but after!

Me: A gag order? They want you not to talk about it at all?

Primo: No!

Me: That seems all kinds of wrong.

Primo: I am running for public office. I would be accountable to the voters. I am not going to have secret meetings!

Me: No star chambers!

Primo: This is BS. I'm not going.

In which we start to understand why candidates don't show up until the last minute

This is why candidates and their families get cranky.

Weeks ago, someone called to ask Primo to participate in some candidate thingy. The only information Primo got was it would be Wednesday evening, 5:30 until 9.

Today, Primo gets this email.

5:30 - 6:00 Cocktail hour
6:00 - 6:45 Dinner
6:45 - 7:00 [political stuff]
7:00- 7:45 - Presidential Questions with Q&A for the last 15 min7:45 - 8:45 US Senator and State Rep Candidates Questions with Q&A for the last 15 min
He is not actually scheduled to speak until 7:45.

Unless there are a ton of people at an event who will either 1. give you money or 2. vote for you, why would you show up at 5:30 and just hang out for over two hours when you could be knocking on doors campaigning instead?

And then here are the questions.

Wait. Let me summarize them for you.

1. How would you stop hunger?
2. How will you make all people live in peace?
3. How do you mend a broken heart?

Here are the real questions. Add your own summaries in the comments.

  1. Why do you think Millennials tend to be disengaged from the political / civic process?
  2. If you had the opportunity to waive a magic wand and change one policy that affects race relations in the US/our state/our city, what would it be?
  3. Within the first 90 days of holding office , what is your planned course of action?
  4. Currently, over 90% of [our city's] budget is dedicated to Public Safety - and only a small fraction of that is spent on preventative Public Health measures like immunizations, school lunch programs, and violence prevention efforts.On the subject of violence prevention, what monies/programs/responsibilities do you believe that the police department currently manages that may actually be more effective in the hands of experts at the Health Department or Department of Neighborhood Services?
  5. How will you hold yourself accountable and measure your performance as an elected official?
  6. How do you plan to ensure that metro [our city's] voice is heard within the legislature?
  7. What plans do you have to help unite the [our city] area? 
  8. Where do you think [our state] needs to improve the most in regards to technology and what can we do to get there? 

Not going to be bitchy and point out the really bad typos. Not going to do it.

Monday, January 30, 2017

In which Primo now has to go downtown to the main post office just to mail the estimated estate taxes by the midnight deadline and I say, "See? This is how your procrastinating actually costs you time, because now you have to drive to the post office instead of putting the letter on our mailbox"

Primo was supposed to be gone to a political thing by the time I got home today.

But he wasn't.

Which threw all of my plans into disarray because my plans included having the house all to myself.

They did not include a cat who wanted out, then in (for inside water), then out, then in (someone is mowing the lawn and it's scary!), then out again but LAVERNE I am tired of letting you out and in at two minute intervals so you will just have to sit there, missy.

Anyhow. The reason Primo was not gone was that he had forgotten to file the extension for the estate taxes. He had to send in an estimated payment so he bought the business version of turbotax but with the business version, it will not import directly from investment accounts, which was the whole darn reason he bought it, so he panicked and then said screw it and wrote a check for $5,000 and said he would pay any penalties later.

"Out of the estate, right?" I asked. "We are not personally paying for any of these penalties."

"Estate," he said. "I am so sick and tired of dealing with this crap. The estate can pay for everything."

Which. It. Should.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

In which Primo forgets once again to offer water or coffee to someone who has come over to our house to help him campaign

Primo: Thanks for offering water to Mike. I get all "Wooooo!" and I forget to do those things.

Me: It is the polite, gracious thing to do.

Primo: I know, but I get all distracted by too much going on.

Me: It's not like you were taught to do it. The first time we went to your mom and dad's, we arrived at lunchtime and they didn't even offer me a glass of water.

Primo: They probably thought that I would get it for you

Me: Uh huh. Just like my mom. Oh wait! NO! She emails me weeks before we visit asking what you want to eat and making special things just for you.