Obama dispatch from Carson City, Nevada

[Charlie Burr: This guest post was just sent to me from local organizer Emily Kintzer, one of the many folks who helped Obama win the most delegates today.]

What do you get when you mix 10 Oregonian politicos under the age of 29, 17-degree weather, an endless supply of cookies and the Nevada Voter Activation Network? A victory for Barack Obama in Carson City, Nevada.

Most of the 10 of us are brand-new to politics. We all met each other volunteering for the Bus Project and have somewhere between four days and 5 years of experience in grassroots campaigns. Though our overarching reason for making this 12-hour drive twice over the space of four days was to support a candidate we believe in and to drum up support in a critically early caucus state, we also came here to learn. How does a presidential campaign in a Republican-leaning caucus state differ from a state legislative campaign in a swing district in Oregon? How would the character of the campaigns with which we, as Bus people -- young, idealistic and numbers-driven -- are so familiar differ from the style of the Obama for America team?

Well, we discovered that they aren't really much different at all. It's the same scramble to cut turf, frenzy of volunteers and chronically understaffed offices. It's the same constant re-strategizing, creating indelible bonds with your co-workers that no one else in your life can quite understand, and getting inspired by the conversations with voters that are the heart and soul of your work. And, ultimately, it's the same opportunity for 10 people to have a determinative impact. The precincts we hit posted record turnout numbers and Carson City went to Obama with 51 percent to Hillary's 43.

The point? Maybe a small group of thoughtful, committed people can also change presidential campaigns. (OK, it would probably have to be several small groups. But still.)

Comments

  • (Show?)

    I would just like to say that Emily Kintzer and Alex Tischenko are two of my favorite people on the planet. I wish I was there with them. Way to make sure that Obama won the most delegates in the Nevada Caucus!

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)
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    Way to go Emily and gang!

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Thank you for your good work! Citizen democracy... love it!

  • (Show?)

    Well I like the enthusiasm of the note. I spent the last few nights here in Portland making a lot of calls to get out the vote for Hillary as did my wife and several friends in Portland, and it is great to be a part of this process. But I have to ask a question given the subtext of this post, that Obama won on delegates in Nevada:

    Why does Obama continue to be such a profoundly bad loser?

    First there was his conceited non-concession speech in New Hampshire. Now, hardly before the caucuses are over, his campaign starts pushing the idea that even though he lost the popular vote by 6%, he won on delegates. Now I know if Hillary lost the vote and won on delegates I'd be happy about it too. But I think that Hillary would still give a concession speech and congratulate Obama.

    In the first place, even if the delegate story were certain to be the case, it would mean that the system in Nevada was skewed so that popular vote was not properly represented - a similar problem to the electoral college loss of Gore in 2000 when he won the popular vote. Why would you in good faith trumpet such a glitch in the system as a victory?

    Secondly, I have to correct you: it appears that it just isn't true. The Las Vegas delegates are not bound until April and it is a process that involves a couple of steps, it isn't just a simple formula, so for the Obama camp to claim they know how many delegates they've won means they're either misinformed or misinforming. This is called out on the Las Vegas Sun website.

    What's wrong with a simple congratulations to your fellow Democrat, as Hillary gave Obama after Iowa? Where is the politics of hope?

    I say this not to bash or misrepresent Obama but to offer some constructive ideas for future unity, which we will need. What Obama, his campaign advisors, and his more zealous supporters seem to overlook is that there are millions of Democrats and progressives who sincerely and passionately support Hillary Clinton, who are also working for her on their own time with hope and enthusiasm, and this bad-loser shtick really doesn't win our respect for your candidate or the culture around him. But the more this disrespect and mistrust builds the more it can hurt all of us - whoever the nominee is - in November.

    There is much for any progressive to be proud of in Hillary's victory in Nevada. Dolores Huerta's role in Las Vegas was huge, and she will be with us in California too - how about showing some admiration for the way this legendary labor leader and founder of the United Farmworkers got the vote out for Hillary, rather than trying to pretend that Nevada voted differently than it did?

    Obama might win the nomination, but this will not be the last state he loses. Why not write him and ask him to show some class next time, and congratulate the winner?

    Dems in 2009!

  • LT (unverified)
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    Does anyone know a good delegate tracker website that can be bookmarked?

  • (Show?)

    Chris, what exactly did you want Obama to concede in NH? that he'd gained about 10 points in a week? that Hillary's landslide turned into an eeked-out victory that yielded her 1 more delegate than Obama? that he was continuing to rise in the polls, blowing past her in NC and gaining across the country?

    dude, it was the first primary, the second event, and you wanted him to cry uncle? if she had won, you'd have wanted her to rally the troops, i'm sure, to point to the future and eventual victory. which is what Obama did. or perhaps you're upset that he gave one of the all-time great speeches and she admitted she really hadn't been talking for herself and finally got the triangulation right.

    please don't tell those of us who support Obama about how to achieve unity. it's a major reason we support him, and it's a major reason his support is so broad (and growing deeper). the Clinton campaign has thrown out the cocaine nonsense (that would be Mark Penn on national tv), called Obama a risk (Bill), demeaned MLK (you know, without LBJ the civil rights movement would have been for naught) and more. it was Obama who stood up and said, Enough. not HRC; Obama.

    i guess class in your book is a shameful bowing of the head and admission of failure. as opposed to congratulating Hillary (which he did, graciously) and then immediately continuing the campaign (which they both did). get real, guy. this isn't about winning a student council race. this is a 2-year struggle that has no place for make-believe "o golly we done got beat" nonsense.

    she did the same in Iowa. you don't concede; you congratulate and move forward. fast, and with your best. it's just hard when your candidate's best is so weak compared to another's.

  • BOHICA (unverified)
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    t.a. barnhart said: this is a 2-year struggle

    And that is why I am disgusted with the whole process.

  • (Show?)

    I guess I missed the part where he conceded Nevada. Is there a link to his concession or his congratulations for Senator Clinton somewhere?

    It seems to me he just disappeared and had his campaign trumpet that it had won on delegates.

    By the way, anyone who supports women's rights should realize that Hillary has now made history!!!

    Shirley Chisolm won a single Presidential primary in 1972 (New Jersey) but to my knowledge that's the only one a woman has ever won before this year.

    With the Nevada caucus, Hillary is the first woman to EVER win two states in a Presidential nomination race! Surely that's worth a kudos from all Democrats, feminists, and women everywhere?

    Please do post the link to Obama's congratulations to Hilary for this historic win in Nevada, I sincerely can't find it.

  • (Show?)

    Why does Obama continue to be such a profoundly bad loser?

    First there was his conceited non-concession speech in New Hampshire.

    Boy, someone's been drinking the kool-aid.

    I'm a Republican who's supporting McCain, but I don't see how anyone can say that Hillary's concession speech in Iowa was more gracious than Obama's in New Hampshire.

    And when it comes to ego, Obama is a piker. Bill and Hillary have retired the trophy.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    I guess the part I miss is where the Clibama has anything to do with progressive Democtratic policies. I suppose I'm as big a fan of the Bankruptcy Bill or the Credit Card lobby's bill as any other Demlican. LOL as people who've called me a conservative lap up the corporate whoredom's line.

    One other point, yes, the Clibama is just as good on the Bill of Rights as GWB, they just dislike a different part. Authoritarians are just that, no matter what color you paint their mascot. Sorry, you crack me up.

    Don't like what I've said? Refute it with a voting record, or long term quotable stance. I have never and will never base my vote on gender or race or religion or ancestry.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Well, don't worry, I'm sure Obama will pay for his alleged slight to Hillary when the next surrogate starts talking about Obama's schooling in Indonesia, or a thinly veiled reference to his youthful drug use (or possible sales), or Bill Clinton's finger shaking and red-faced invectives, or the next robo-call that talks about what a jerk Barack Hussein Obama happens to be, with the emphasis on "Hussein." Sheesh..... what at campaign! If this party hitches a ride with the Clinton dynasty re-booted, it deserves to lose. If Hillary is the nominee and McCain the R's nominee, Oregon will vote red for sure for the first time in 20 years. I hope Sen. Obama goes scorched earth from here on out after what he and his family have had to endure. A recent Op-Ed in the NY Times by an African American writer talked about the fact she was afraid for Barack Obama, not because of any assassin so much, but because he had made the choice to stand between the Clintons and presidential power. Heaven help anyone who gets in their way! This life-long Dem is walking if she's the nominee.

  • (Show?)

    Great job Emily and Alex!

    Chuck, Obama didn't vote for the bankruptcy bill as you imply. Edwards said in the last debate he regretted voting for it, and Hillary said she was pleased her vote in favor of the bill did not help its passage. Or something like that. Obama didn't vote for CAFTA. And on your blog, you mention anti-environment Interior Secretary James Watt, but Obama's environmental voting record in the Senate scores a 97-percent with the League of Conservation Voters.

  • chris (unverified)
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    Can someone tell me why the Bus Project folks are working for Obama in the first place? Seems to me that there are more progressive candidates out there, and one of them is still a contender. Is the Bus Project truly progressive, or is it just another front for mainstream Democratic Party politics?

    If you are going to tell me great things about Obama, please use specific policy positions, voting records, and as little "change" rhetoric as possible.

  • (Show?)

    It's not "the Bus Project folks," it's a few people who have worked on the Bus and are now volunteering for Obama.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    Charlie, I said the Clibama voted for those things, he voted the Credit Act, she voted Bankruptcy. I actually pay attention. They both passed, with other Demlican votes - they suck, also. I believe that if it wasn't for the OR Democratic Congressional members and candidates I'd quit, well there are Feingold and a few others.

    As for Watt, I also mentioned corruption and a bunch of other things the guy he called an agent of change managed, not that I accused him of any, just jogging the media funeral frenzy clogged memories about who RR really was. RR also was a commie baiter and a few other little nasties pre-movie star governor. People ignore a lot about dead presidents. Including Barak.

    I notice nobody cares about the BOR unless... Funny, the worst insult possible, the treasonous attack on Rights guaranteed gets a pass.

    I'm still LOL here people... anybody other than the Oregonian wanna call me a conservative?

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    BTW, it would be kind of silly for Edwards to feel bad about voting for a 109th Congressional Bill since he wasn't there and didn't vote on it. He did vote for GWB's Iraq War, which may be what you're thinking of. He also has said, for years, repeatedly that he made a mistake and feels awful about it.

    By the way, again; which partisanship is it that Barak is going to cure and how is he going to do that? I haven't noticed it being a Democratic freeze of government to spite Republicans sort of deal. A judge sort of thing? C'mon, which Republican agenda of the past few years would Barak approve of now to break the partisanship? I think it is a great idea to break the partisanship, we need a bit more Republicanism in governing after a dozen years of their crap.

    You buy this stuff? I hope you get a discount by the ton.

  • chris (unverified)
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    Oops. My bad. Maybe I should have said "some" Bus Project folks...

    Bus Project, or no, I still have the same question: what's so progressive about Obama?

  • (Show?)

    BTW, it would be kind of silly for Edwards to feel bad about voting for a 109th Congressional Bill since he wasn't there and didn't vote on it. He did vote for GWB's Iraq War, which may be what you're thinking of. He also has said, for years, repeatedly that he made a mistake and feels awful about it.

    Yes, I am aware that Edwards voted for the Iraqi War Resolution, and that Obama opposed and spoke out against it. And that has nothing to do with the bankruptcy bill. Barack Obama did not vote for the bankruptcy bill. Edwards did. I don't know how to make it more clear to you. I don't doubt Edwards's sincerity, btw, about regretting his vote. This issue came up several nights ago during the last Democratic debate. Really nothing "silly" about it at all. Here's the vote.

    You need 60 votes in the U.S. Senate to get things done. That's the math. Obama has a history of working with members of both parties to enact progressive change: sweeping ethics reform, expanding health care to uninsured families, bringing more fairness to the Illnois criminal justice system. That's not mushy bipartisanship for its own sake. Nothing triangulatory about those issues.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)
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    Chris, if your argument were correct, all of these delegates could make up their own mind in April so the voting was meaningless. That just doesn't make sense. These delegates are "pledged" to the candidates.

    Based upon the voting across Nevada, and the party rules, we know that Obama gets 13 delegates and Hillary gets 12. This is based upon his widespread support across rural areas of Nevada, areas that weren't carried by Kerry in 2004. This is a win for Obama, and for the Democrats if he goes onto the nomination.

    As a result, after winning Iowa, coming in a close 2nd in New Hampshire, and winning the delegate count in Nevada, Obama now leads the pledged delegate count overall, 38 to 36. In other words, despite all the spin Hillary is the one losing so far.

    And as far as congratulations, Senator Obama did congratulate Hillary after New Hampshire. It was the first part of his speech. In Hillary's Iowa speech after the results were announced, I didn't hear her congratulate Senator Obama, did you?

    And as far as "unity", that isn't going to happen so long as the Clinton campaign keeps up their dirty politics. There is a link to first hand accounts of this on Daily Kos that I posted on the "On to South Carolina" thread. Since I posted that, I have read further first hand accounts of Hillary supporters adopting shameful if not illegal tactics in Nevada. That is not the type of conduct that is going to unify anything. That's not sour grapes, that's just reality.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)
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    Chris, since you asked about Obama's positions, here is a link where you can find detailed statements of his positions on the issues. Enjoy! I especially like his "Ethics" section and his proposals for regulation of the presidential pardon process. Is that something that Hillary and Bill are going to get behind?

    I also had one question about Hillary's record on Iraq. Specifically, how can she expect progressives to vote for her when not only did she vote for the war, she did not read the National Intelligence Estimates that put the WMD claims in question, voted against the amendment that would have required further diplomacy, argued "stay the course" and other Bush-Cheney mantras, and did not come out against the war until 2006 at the earliest? This is all documented by the New York Times article "Hillary's War" that is a must read for anyone considering her candidacy.

    Frankly, as the father of 2 children, I can not vote for putting anyone in as commander in chief who has demonstrated such extremely poor judgment on matters of peace and war.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    Edwards and bankruptcy: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=1&vote=00044 You will not find him Clinton not voting - shameful Obama - nay

    Tort reform-passed: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=1&vote=00009

    Clinton - nay Obama - yea Edwards - not serving

    Credit bill amendment to limit intrest to 30% - failed: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=1&vote=00020 Clinton - aye Obama - nay Edwards not serving

    I don't expect my left agenda to be met in all cases, but some things...

    Nothing on the BOR?

  • (Show?)

    Chuck implied originally that Obama supported the bankruptcy bill. It is an absolute, undeniable fact that Obama did not. And it is an absolute, undeniable fact that Edwards supported bankruptcy "reform" in 2001.

    But if I'm wrong and Chuck is right about Edwards and bankruptcy, then what was Edwards apologizing for during the last debate? Again, I don't doubt for a second Edwards's sincerity about regretting his bankruptcy vote, but that's different from pretending -- as Chuck continues to do -- the vote never happened.

    The interest rate cap amendment was an amendment to the anti-consumer bankruptcy bill. Including the interest rate amendment gives political cover to those voting "yes" and made it more likely to pass. Now, if you think enacting interest limits (good) as part of the larger anti-consumer bankruptcy bill (bad) is a net positive, then fine, I guess it's not a bad vote. But if you think the bankruptcy/credit limit trade-off is not a good one for consumers, it's a perfectly reasonable to oppose both. Why make a bad bill you oppose more politically palatable?

    So, maybe, just maybe, there's a little more nuance than Chuck's willing to acknowledge.

  • (Show?)

    Chuck, should I assume you're talking about votes to re-up the so-called USA-PATRIOT Act?

    Or are you talking about the 2nd Amendment? Or something else?

    I can sort of see how one gets to traitorous through USA-PATRIOT Act votes, though I'd probably call it violating oath of office myself -- treason implies another party to which betrayal is tendered, I think. This is more internal moral decay like the Roman Senate from the triumvirate through the days of the early emperors, maintaining republican fig leaves and public theatre while the substance was hollowed out.

    Once upon a time I studied a little African country called Swaziland in which the parliament conducted a sort of auto-coup against itself by voting to back a royal decree abolishing the independence Westminster-style constitution in favor of absolute royal rule, after the 2nd election in which an opposition party won a few seats for the first time. Here they're moving in slower motion.

    Less clear about 2nd Amendment if that's the issue, but maybe you can point me to positions by either Obama or Clinton that rise to traitorous standards, if that's really what you're saying, and explain your reasoning? (I don't know your position on 2nd Amdt & am not assuming, I'm just hypothesizing what BOR issues you might be raising.)

    (I am assuming you're not a Ron Paul type who wants to repeal parts of the 14th Amendment and pretend others don't exist.)

    I didn't see your call-out before, but I might not have responded simply because I'm not sure what it is about.

    Another reason is that I don't think you're a conservative, holding of which opinion seems to be part of whatever overgeneralization you're trying to make about BlueOregon commenters. Actually I'm always interested in what you write.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    Patriot Act Re-authorization - passed: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2&vote=00023

    Obama - Nay Clinton - Yea

    BOR: 2nd Amendment Obama, see Illinois & Chitown in particular Clinton, see Billy Pres onward. 14th extends all Constitutional protections to all citizens, that includes the 2nd & no honest reading of it or literature of Ratification calls it other than an individual right. Paul is not in my universe of politics.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    charlie, Edwards vote aye http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=s2001-36

    Did not become law. Edwards rightfully should appologize. I never said Obama voted for bankruptcy bill. Clibama was snarky & I should have been clearer.

  • james mattiace (unverified)
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    Chris,

    Thank you for correcting your Bus Project line to include "some" Bus Project folks.

    One of the things we try to do is train political activists for the future. And a founding principle of the Bus is about changing the way we do politics. I'm not going to make any points about Obama's progressive values, but suffice it to say if someone takes the enthusiasm and skills they get from a Bus Project event to the next level then kudos to them and kudos to the Bus for making it happen.

    It would be fantastic if every candidate, regardless of political affiliation, had some Bus ethos about people vs money, and conversation vs sound bites.

    And I truly believe that if even the most moneyed, special interest backed, head in the sand politico took a week to try politics our way everything would change. Call it pie in the sky, but talking with voters (not at voters) has got to be the most soul refreshing and eye opening experience. How could anyone vote for a bogus bankruptcy bill after knocking on several thousand doors and meeting those who would suffer from it? And knowing that you didn't need special interest money to get re-elected.

    And although I sincerely hope all the legions of people who have Bus experiences put them to use in the OREGON elections, I also applaud the idea of getting that message out to other states.

    And as I currently live in a constitutional monarchy with a pretty powerful king (Morocco) , it would nice to bring that message to other countries as well.

    James Mattiace fmr Chair & co-founder Lane County Bus Project

  • (Show?)

    As an Obama supporter and a Bus Project supporter, if I had to guess, I'd ay that the Bus Project membership might easily favor Edwards.

    Now me, judging solely on the issues and the aforementioned Bill of Rights, I like Ewards wa-a-a-a-a-ay more than Obama and Obama wa-a-a-a-a-ay more than Clinton, but I'm backing Obama in the race, because of the way my tinfoil hat fits my bald head.

    <hr/>

    Tinfoil warning:

    I believe based on the last two elections, that the Media Conglomerates will not allow a candidate like Edwards or Kucinich, or even a guy like Howard Dean to win.

    That leaves a good looking, inexperienced, charismatic guy with scant history who might be amenable to on-the-job-training.

    He seems a decent and intelligent sort of guy, is extremely well educated, and he gets 20 bonus points for the lovely Michelle, who seems a heck of a lot better suited to the First Lady role than Hillary ever was.

    My guess is that she'd box some ears as my old Ma use to say, on the front end of potential bone headed moves rather than specializing in backfilling after the fact.

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