Sunday, December 23, 2007

Gravel supporter hiring canvassers

Gravel for President supporter Greg Chase, a hedgefund guy here in New Hampshire, has an ad in at least one newspaper this morning looking to hire canvassers.
The ad, which ran on A7 in the Concord Monitor, states: "SAVE OUR COUNTRY & EARN HOLIDAY CASH $10/hr - $15hr + mileage ..."
Since I'm behind on my daily newspaper reading by a few days due to early work deadlines, I don't know if this has been running all week or is a new ad. Chase has been running a slew of newspaper ads promoting Gravel's campaign in daily newspapers here in the state. Here is a story from a couple of months ago here: ["The man behind the Mike Gravel ads"].
However, hiring canvassers about two weeks away from the primary seems too little, too late. While some people are still undecided, most will probably not be eyeing Gravel as a choice.
As well, in order to win a single delegate at the convention from New Hampshire, Gravel would need to get 15 percent in the primary [The NHDP Web site states there will be a second opportunity to go to the convention after the primary, if your selected candidate receives at least 15 percent and has not withdrawn by April 26, 2008, potential delegates could run again]. Gravel getting 15 percent on Jan. 8 - barring a full-blown attack on Iran, with every Democrat except him backing Bush in the move, or something else even more outlandish or unrealistic - seems very unlikely that Gravel will reach that plateau.
While I don't know the total amount of money that Chase is planning on spending to hire canvassers, the money might be better spent on television or radio advertising around New Hampshire and other early states - instead of newspapers, which Chase has done enough of - in order to raise awareness about Gravel. But, alas, this too might be a waste of money.
What is so sad about this is that Gravel had the opportunity to really make a difference in this race but unfortunately has not.
I will admit that I have a soft spot for Gravel. That mostly comes from being a supporter of underdogs most of my life. I met the senator back in 2005 when he first announced he would be running and sat in on an hour long conversation with the candidate [He was the first Democrat to formally announce, BTW, despite being ignored early on by the press]. While I didn't agree with everything he talked about, it was easy to realize early on that he had some great ideas.
Yet, when given the chance to shine on a national debate stage, time and time again, Gravel came across like a cranky old grandfather who was just let out of the attic, yelling and screaming incoherently from the stage. It was, frankly, embarrassing to watch. After seeing him in the first debate, I wondered who the guy was because he was nothing like he was on the radio.
Gravel also refused to take advantage of the free airtime to talk about his support of a Fair Tax plan, something which could have drawn more small L libertarians to his cause early on [especially in New Hampshire]. Instead, he flailed about at the leading Democratic contenders and it was only a matter of time before he was kept off the stage [Rep. Dennis Kucinich has also been kept off the stage, most recently during an Iowa Public Television debate - probably another reason to look at seriously defunding public television and radio on the national level].
In the end, while Chase can do what he wants with his money, this might all be for naught and that is truly unfortunate because Sen. Mike Gravel is a national hero.

Update: According to the Monitor's Capital Beat column, Chase has so far spent around $500k on ads and is planning a television blitz for Gravel on WMUR-TV Channel 9 out of Manchester, worth about $274k. The ads will run between Christmas Eve and Jan. 7. This, it would seem, would be money better-spent than the canvassers, although it all may be a waste in the end.

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