Monday, August 09, 2004

Doesn't sound good for 43

I had been reading on blogs that the Kerry-Edwards turnout to all these events in the past weeks had been huge, but I know from experience that supporters in a room tend to overestimate crowds. So when the Times did three articles on the race today, one on Kerry, one on Edwards, and one on Bush, I was pleased to see that image had been confirmed.

"In Harrisburg, Pa., on July 30, more than 15,000 people mobbed the Capitol plaza. In Grand Rapids, Mich., home of the Republican former president Gerald R. Ford, Mr. Kerry drew close to 10,000 people near where President Bush had attracted just 4,500 a few days before."

Bush's article is about Karl Rove playing out his theory that 1,000,000 Christian conservatives stayed home in 2000, which made Bush lose the popular vote and made it so close overall. The shamelessness with which they are pandering to conservatives is pervasive in the article. They are hoping for The Passion of the Christ-like mobilization with their "moral action teams." Too bad that it is illegal for churches to endorse or do GOTV for you (they would lose their tax-exempt status). The most they can do is speechify and register voters. Equally unfortunate for Rove, most of those million people live in neon red states, ones where he will win easily.

That said, even red ol' Kansas seems riper for the pickin' than it did four years ago. First off, they have a Democratic Governor (Kathleen Sebelius) . Edwards' train blew past the state once, had to reshedule/relocate after that but "Come over they did. Hand-drawn signs in the park and a message on the local cable channel sent about 1,000 people to the former barbed wire factory on the banks of the Kaw River, filling it to capacity and leaving more than 2,000 people stuck outside."

"For all those politicians and pollsters who say, wait a minute, why are you taking one valuable day to come back to Kansas to campaign, Kansas is a red state,'' Edwards said. "To John Kerry and I, there is no red state, there is no blue state, there is only one United States of America.''

Afterwards, the Republican bar owner (where they staged the event) said, "I voted for Bush in the last election but let's just say I am undecided for now.''

Two observations; one, the Kerry-Edwards advance team is good. They are getting big crowds in conservative areas, including some small town in Missouri the President's motorcade was supposed to stop in but didn't (very shrewd and quick planning to turn on a dime and show up there). Second, if Bush is still worrying about and shoring up his base, and Kerry is busy chipping into Bush's, then obviously Kerry is sitting on better numbers.

The Democrats aren't worried about their base, after all, they would vote in droves for a ham sandwich over Dubya. Middle America is growing increasingly weary of Bush too. Even in the evangelical article, some Baptist preachers where wondering why the poor had to send their children off to war while the rich got sent their massive tax cuts.
So the Bush campaign sent Mr. [Ralph] Reed [former spokesman for the Christain Coalition, now head of the GA GOP] to recruit pastors at the annual meeting of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention. According to campaign memorandums, it has asked "people of faith team leaders" to help identify thousands of "friendly congregations" around the country. It asked religious outreach volunteers to petition their pastors to hold voter registration drives, and to speak on behalf of the campaign to Bible studies and church groups.

The campaign has asked volunteers to send in copies of congregational directories for comparison with voter registration rolls - a move some conservative religious leaders have denounced as a violation of the privacy of the church and its members.

The Republican Party has sent has organized a special Catholic outreach tour, including a speech by the party chairman, Ed Gillespie, in St. Charles, a St. Louis suburb.

All this sounds like they are working their butts off for sure, but they sound pretty fearful they might lose. As well they should be, since their man is below 50% and big crowds are showing up for Kerry in every neck of the woods.

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