Are we, the $10, the $25 Obama supporters from 2008, just chopped liver in the election campaign of 2012? Back in 2008 we were often heralded as the juice...saw ourselves as the base. Yes, times have changed, not us: we continue to be hardcore Obama supporters.
Has the campaign noticed? Has Citizens' United made such enormous change that everything in political campaigns is focused on big-buck PAC people? Or, is it a "the new strategic reality" as some have tried to tell me.
Couple of weeks ago on a very warm Sunday, I visited the Obama campaign office in southeast Portland. Quiet place set up with phone banks where I was greeted by cheerful 19 year old [she told me later in our exchange]. She was very polite but I could not get a handle on how to get involved--now.
Perhaps she was intimidated by my advanced age, my 17% button, and learning that I'd worked in the 2008 campaign in New York City. Sadly, people here are usually awed by the mention of the City. I only wanted to reassure her that I had been part of something she was now involved with. Later I wondered why I'd missed asking if she'd worked in the last one when she was 15.
Making conversation in our kind of static exchange, I asked if there was a "Feminists for Obama" group. Explained I'd joined online through the Feminist Majority. "We do have a Women for Obama group getting going; I'll give your name to the person working on that."
Okay. Filled out their form. Left without being offered a button or bumper sticker-- would like to update the one from 2008. [Yes, that's our NYC Roxie on a recent trip here.] I would have bought them. It's two weeks later; no call yet.
At a museum opening I ran into two politically active women and told them how baffled I was by what had happened. Didn't I understand, they asked, "Oregon is not a state in play this time. You'll get a call two weeks before the election to work a phone bank."
For me this seems so la-di-da. Even with Oregon a blue state, it feels risky for Democrats to act as if it is a slam-dunk, that Obama's re-election is a done deal. Others share my unease. Joared, California elderblogger at Along the Way, left this comment on my post about Paul Ryan's affinity for Ayn Rand's worldview:
All our lives we've been told that a democracy only works with its
citizens actively working to support it. Earlier Democratic campaigns asked for participation. The last time we gave our all because the stakes were even higher than usual. We need the call to put that energy to work again.
Democrats, please, remember the women--and the men--who are democracy's juice-- us, not the PACs. We all lose unless you tap into the enthusiasm, the blue state energy and idealism that worked so well the last time.