Today I spent another Sunday making calls for Barack Obama at the uber-hipster cafe Four Barrels in San Francisco, which apparently is not too hip to give over their back area to the Obama campaign. As we wrote out our script ("Hello, I'm from San Francisco and I know lots better than you poor rural people who to vote for...How are you doing today?") the friendly volunteer with a frighteningly red state sounding accent handed us our call sheet and mentioned that people were running into some tough customers on these lists, which were based in Minnesota. Scoffing at their problems, knowing that once I let these Midwesterners know that I, a truly enlightened San Franciscan, supported Barack Obama, they would have no choice but to also vote for him, I settled down to start calling. Last week's Indiana calls had actually been pretty pleasant, so I was pretty surprised when some people failed to even be courteous when hearing my West Coast voice.
As I plowed through the numbers, I realized that all of them were from rural areas of Minnesota. And we were also being told to ask about the Franken race, whereas with Indiana we'd just asked about Barack. It began to occur to me that something unprecedented was happening. Only a week from the the election, the Obama campaign is doing so well both in the polls and in their estimation of their field and volunteer operations that instead of frantically pursuing every last voter in Ohio or Pennsylvania, they were likely having us fish around in blood-red districts of a state they were leading in by double digits. And also lending our energies to Franken's cause. I'm not the oldest hand at this, but I did make calls for Kerry and also in the 2006 mid-terms, and I don't remember ever feeling that a campaign had the luxury to run up the score like that, or lend its powers to someone else's campaign.
Or maybe they've just called everyone else! I can imagine the conversations at Obama HQ:
Field Assistant: Sir, we've actually called everyone in Ohio, Florida, Nevada and the other Swing States. What do we do with the immense power of the liberal elite in San Francisco who want to educate those less fortunate than themselves?
Field Director: We've been waiting for this moment for along time. It's time to unleash that elite squad on impossible districts. If anyone can do it, they can!
Of course, I can also imagine a less flattering scenario...one in which the campaign is having SF voters call districts where they can do no further harm.
Either way, very encouraging!