Saturday, December 29, 2007

Political phone calls

Well, we're getting them. And if we don't answer the phone, they keep calling back! That is the price of living in New Hampshire during primary season. It is also the price of being a good voter: The campaigns really want to know where your head is at. My wife stated earlier today: I'm so sick of these calls! I'll be happy when this election is over!!
In some ways, I kinda have to agree with her a bit. I love following and writing about politics. But this primary campaign has been too damn long. I truly hope, as I have been saying privately to some people, that there are brokered conventions for both major parties this year. While I would like the New Hampshire primary to be over already, I don't want the nomination process to be over on Feb. 6. If it is, it will spell doom for the voters. I really do think that voters in the other states should have a role in picking the nominees just like they used to in the old days and just like we have here in New Hampshire.
Remember the 1984 campaign? Walter Mondale and Gary Hart were duking it out all the way to the end - "California, here I come ..." "Where's the beef?" ... the nightly news actually had clips of speeches from around the different primaries.
How about 1976? While I was only 11, I remember it well. I recall my dad and his then-girlfriend dragging me around to Fred Harris events. I recall seeing Jimmy Carter, Fred Harris, Birch Bayh, and another guy, he's slipping my mind, on a new program called "Good Morning America." The top four Iowa Caucus candidates were featured on the program that morning. Later, Brown and Frank Church jumped in and tried to derail Carter but it was too little, too late [For you youngins out there, read Jules Witcover's book, "Marathon: The Pursuit of the Presidency 1972-1976," a great overview of that campaign]. I was just a boy at the time but I was already starting to become a junkie.
Even in 1992, the primary at least lasted until early April, when the late Paul Tsongas jumped back into the primary to derail Jerry Brown and save Bill Clinton's ass.
To this day, I can't help but think about that race and all the reform we could have had if Brown had won. We could have had a single-payer health care system back then. Instead, Hillary fritted it all away with her secret health care meetings and in swept the Republican Congress. Sigh. I think about all of the money that has transferred from my pocket to some health insurance company because that stupid woman and her foolish husband fritted away a health care MANDATE by voters. I could have probably paid for half a small starter house with all the money I have spent on insurance over the last 14-plus years. Yeah, "I trust Hillary ... she loves children ..." Ugh.
Now those were primaries.
Anyhow, back to the political phone calls. The two numbers we've been getting calls from are 603-371-2283 and 603-236-7581. The first one was a woman who asked me two questions: 1) Will you be voting in the New Hampshire Primary [Yes] and 2) Who will you be voting for ["I'm not interested in sharing that information with you"].
"Oh, OK, I'll put you down as 'undecided.'"
"No, I'm not undecided. I'm just not going to tell you who I am voting for."
She thanked me for my time and hung up.
After that call, I Googled the number and it looks like it is the Hillary Clinton campaign calling according to several other people who have been called by the number. Well, good, I thought to myself, I told them last time I wasn't voting for Hillary but not this time! Previously, the Clinton campaign called from their own phone system. Now, it appears, they are hiring the phones out.
About 15 minutes later, the phone rang again [my wife is clearly irked now].
This time, another woman asked four questions: First, she asked me if I will voting in the Democratic primary [Yes, probably]. Then she asks me if I have favorable or unfavorable feelings about the top three candidates: Clinton [unfavorable], Obama [favorable], and Edwards [favorable].
I then asked, "You're only going to ask me about those three candidates?"
"I'll be asking about the others later."
In the upcoming primary, which of the following Democrats do you plan on voting for?
I answer where I'm leaning, noting that she forgot to list former Sen. Mike Gravel.
She asks, If your first choice was no longer running, which of the following would you vote for?
I answer that question, throwing her a curve ball, heh, heh.
Oh, she said. She then thanked me for the call and hung up.
Again, I go to the computer and look up the number. It is rumored to be owned by Meyer Teleservices, a Democratic political firm out of Minnesota. Interestingly, the company's Web site notes that they are "employee-owned" - so they probably aren't with Hillary - and they even offer people the opportunity to opt-out of their phone system. They also claim to regularly buy the Do Not Call List. I wonder which candidate they were calling for. Stay tuned!

No comments: