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December 15, 2007

Fred 2008: An Insider's Report

Well, not so much an insider as an interested participant. This morning, I drug my tired ass out of bed early and drove to Des Moines in a mild (4") snowstorm to attend precinct captain training at the Fred '08 Headquarters. I had to make a quick detour to the Redfield meat locker to pick up the caped head & antlers of a big 8-point buck I shot a couple weeks ago (I'm taking it to a local taxidermist to have it mounted), but I still made it to the training in time to have a good conversation with the other volunteers there for The Fred.

As a precinct captain, you're expected to help identify voters in your area & make sure they get a reminder on caucus day. If you can drive them to the caucus yourself, that's a plus, so if it snows on caucus night, I fully expect Ace to christen my 4x4 Explorer the "SUV of Substance". The precinct captain also needs to get up and give a "rah-rah" speech trying to convince the undecided and otherwise committed voters in attendance to choose his/her candidate. This has me a little concerned, since the last time I did a significant public speech like this was for the Iowa State University Civil Engineering department entry in the Master Builders Concrete Canoe competition back in 1991. That speech went OK, but only because I was still drunk from the big night at the bars the night before, and had a mild case of "fuck it, let's wing this mutha & see what happens!" There are other duties expected of the precinct captain, but the speech is the one that's worrying me the most. Will I end up being the precinct captain for Fred in Madison County? I dunno. I've volunteered for the job, and unless someone with more of a gift for gab comes along & takes the job from me, I'm going to assume that I'll be performing these duties on January 3.

This is the point where youse guys come in: I need advice, and you morons are just the ones to give it to me.


What do I need from the AoSHQ community? Talking points. I've got some ideas about what to say for Fred Thompson, but I could use some help. Just tell me what you think would help sway undecided voters in the comments, and I'll incorporate the best of your advice into a REAL LIVE political stump speech.

The campaign staff I talked to today told us that it's important to focus on making positive statements for your candidate, and avoiding slagging the other guys. One of the prospective precinct captains there was an old caucus veteran (he's been going to them since '72), and he agreed that Iowa voters want to hear about the positives of your candidate on caucus night. Of course, rebuttal of what the other precinct captains say is permitted, but you should try to do it in a positive manner. The staff tried to keep it short & sweet, and I had a good conversation with a couple of the other prospective captains (turns out the guy from the East side of Des Moines and I had a mutual friend - that's the Iowa way, man. Everyone knows someone that everyone else knows here in this state; all you have to do is talk long enough and you'll find that common link every damn time).

I stuck around for another half-hour or so, making calls to interested voters in Winnishiek County regarding Fred's upcoming appearance in Decorah next Tuesday. I usually don't answer calls where I don't recognize the caller ID number during political season, but now I have just a little bit more sympathy for the guys & gals making the calls. Out of 30 or 40 calls, I had maybe 50% hangups, 45% messages left on answering machines, and only a couple of people with the willingness to sit through my message and answer a couple of questions on the campaign's scripted call sheet. I can't blame people for the hangups, it's been a long hard campaign here in Iowa, and most of us are ready for it to end.

The receptionist at the office was a real sweetheart. She thanked me for coming in & helping out on a snow day, and when I asked if the campaign would mind if I blogged about the event, she said "Yeah, I think that would be OK." I tried to come up with a description of the AoSHQ community for her, but it's like telling a deaf man what Jimi Hendrix's version of the Star Spangled Banner sounds like. They've got no basis for comparison.

"Well, the website's a "moron-blog", which means that it's conservative/libertarian leaning, with an undercurrent of support for our military & aggressive foreign policy. It's also got references to strangling hobos, using live cougars as prophylactics, hero-worship for Powers Boothe, two lonely NYC guys going to see Brokeback Mountain on a "hetero?"-date, and a strong thread of "Fuck the Huck" going lately."

You can see why I decided not to say that. Instead, I just said "It's a conservative blog that's more "Hard R" rated than "PG", if you know what I mean."

As an aside, I did mention the commerical idea that Garfield Ridge Dave had in comments a few days ago (the one with the candidates in a WWE format, and the announcer suddenly shouts "What? Isn't that Fred Thompson's music?"), and had a couple of the younger volunteers rolling in the aisles. Don't worry, Dave, I told them that it was someone else's idea & not mine. They seemed to think that it would be great, but the audience who would love the concept might be a little too small to justify production costs for the commercial.

So anyway, drop me some effing knowledge in the comments and I'll see if it helps. Meanwhile, do you wanna hear some gratuitious piling on to everyone's favorite sub-Mongoloid, Chuckie Adkins? It just came to me on the drive into town this morning, like most of my genius ideas do.

Q: Do you know what the difference between "Atkins" and "Adkins" is?

A: Atkins works.

Thank you. Thank you. I'll be here all week. Try the veal.

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posted by Russ from Winterset at 11:02 PM

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