viennabelle: (Crazy Cat)
For those of you who never met him, this really is what Steve is like (plus some of those are my photos!)...


As for the dog, well, that must be a new feature in his life. My cat Muffy (who has a persistent crush on Steve) is jealous!

viennabelle: (Girl Reporter)
My first impression: ROTFLMAO...


My second thought is--now that's a press secretary who really wants credit for writing the funny speech Obama gave at the White House Correspondent's Dinner.


Hmmm, I wonder if Cody's already sent his resume to Comedy Central?

Hat toss to [livejournal.com profile] heatermcca  for bringing this to my attention.
viennabelle: (Vote!)
The past few weeks were a bit insane, but we feel a lot like it was worth it. We've known for at least a year that we were going to be targeted for the party, but I don't think any of us would imagine how intense it would be. Then Obama opened offices in almost every district here (nb--Kerry closed up his only NOVA office in August 04)--and we knew we would be important--as would be Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, Pennslyvania, etc.

It got a little surreal yesterday. We'd worked through the previous two nights--though everyone else we knew did the same and to be honest, we were way too charged to sleep. In the middle of Monday night, I talked to a friend on the phone who knew about my step-brother's work with migrant workers in Florida. She mentioned that she noticed that the Obama blog had posted a video of the opening of an office in his community on their website. I dug for it and found it, later showing it to Rick early in the morning. He noticed what I hadn't--there was a fleeting shot of my mother moving around a cardboard cutout of Obama in the office. It was so startling--there was Mom on the Obama website! It felt like a really good omen.

Then we went and started setting up polling places  Both Rick and I spent most of the day driving around checking in on precinct operations (we had 27 precincts to cover), bringing food, rain ponchos and generally making sure things went smoothly. We had amazing volunteers working for us. One of the most rewarding things was to hear how each person got involved. Everyone had a story--and all were moving and compelling.

One of the most bizarre scenes came at the end of the day. For the past few weeks, our house has served a remote office--and I've become quite comfortable working alongside the deputy office director. Yesterday, he was busy sending folks out all day to door knock and remind loyalists to vote. At 6 pm--when those operations were winding down--a guy comes in, tells us that he's just in on instructions from Chicago HQ and that he was going to organize a poll line management system right there. He commandeered about 20 volunteers with our rather stunned blessing, gave a motivational speech (no kidding) and sent them off. When this guy left us--rather abruptly--we fell apart laughing. The real irony was that we'd already known that there weren't any lines left at the polls for him to protect, but we didn't have the heart to tell him.

And that's what had us hanging on tenderhooks, though later we would learn from boilerroom staff that the turnout cranked out early, not late--so that the polls weren't backed up late wasn't really an issue. Mark Warner was declared to have won the Senate seat immediately after polls closed and pretty soon they declared Gerry Connolly for Congress (two easy turnover seats, to be honest, though it was nice to have them in our district). Our first impression was that we'd win the general election for Obama, but we were still very nervous about winning Virginia.

Returns came slowly, with Republican leaning districts reporting earlier. I had earlier agreed to co-host the VIP suite (a hospitality suite for our bigger supporters) and I spent much of my time making ice runs. At one point, I met a close personal friend of the Governor on the elevator. He gave me a wink, said I should accompany him downstairs to the ballroom. We got there and they started posting the numbers for Fairfax County on the large screen tvs. Once that came in, the networks declared an Obama win. The room went insane. Strangers were kissing each other. A poll observer from Sweden started crying on my shoulder. The Governor came over, kissed me and thanked me for our work in Providence district.

I returned back to the suite, where the notion of limiting access to special visitors evaporated and all were welcomed in. Our core county group gathered there and we just stared at each other in stunned amazement. Fairfax turned out 50% of the victory margin in Virginia and Virginia turned the election. By the time Obama gave his acceptance speech and he started talking about the life of Ann Nixon Cooper, whose life connected this election to the era of slavery, the enormity of what we'd accomplished started sinking in.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can

There weren't any dry eyes left in the room in the room. We hugged each other tightly and many of us were shaking. Recognizing that the simple acts of meeting our neighbors, canvassing and calling had national consequences is a bit mind blowing.  Our turnout effort was the factor that turned the Obama victory.

I know for some who read this, this election--and the success of my efforts--may be a disappointment. While I can't take away any pain at this time, I can share some things that may give you hope. I've been fortunate this election cycle to observe Senator Obama at work at a DNC meeting about a year ago. The thing that impressed me was that he was an gifted manager--something that is rare among politicians--that he really listened to his staff, encouraged their input, urged them to bring in different perspectives and responded thoughtfully when they spoke. I think this bodes well for anyone who worries that their perspective won't be considered.

That's not to say all went well--I am sad for Judy Feder, Nick Lampson and the probable passage of Proposition 8. Elections are a single sum game and it's tough to lose, though I've seen that failure is often really deferred success. That doesn't stop me from being am deeply happy that my new President, Senator and Congressman are men of faith and hope with purposeful missions to make our country better--characteristics that are very important in precarious times.

It all came down to that.

Yes we can.
viennabelle: (Vote!)
I haven't posted online for a long time--I'm a staffer for a Democratic legislator and we run district party operations in a critical swing district. Needless to say, life gets a little crazy in October. This week marked my organizing several major events--a fundraiser for local poverty relief (we raised $3000!), a child ID card drive (several dozen kids are a little safer now), and a Halloween parade unit (a fun time, though cold). With those behind me, inspired by this website, last night I took a bit of a mental break and let my creative juices flow...

Barack O’ Lantern or Jack O’ Bama? )
So, tonight we got back to business while a gazillion kids came and trick or treated. We've lined up most of the poll gaps we know of (we are responsible for 23 polling places). We are just about ready for an avalanche of Get Out the Vote (GOTV) canvassers this weekend. The house is somewhat in order, we have boxes of miscellaneous campaign materials squirrelled in almost every hiding space. This evening when we started running low on candy, we cut back on distribution and started offering kids campaign stickers. They loved it.

With the end of the campaign so close, I'd like to ask a few favors, particularly of fellow Obama supporters...

First, please vote--it really does matter. Second, if you are within driving distance of a swing state, please get involved this weekend (pm me if you need info). Third, if you feel generous, consider a donation to our local district Democratic committee (a donate button is linked on the page). We don't get money from the campaigns or larger party organizations, so we pay--mostly out of pocket--for all the materials we use/distribute for campaigning--including brochures, yard signs, buttons, etc. It's something we do out of love, but now that we find ourselves at the frontlines of the most critical swing area (Obama will end his campaign here), we need to provide much more of this than ever.

Finally, let's look at ways we can use whatever results come out of this election to rebuild America. The anger that has come out in politics is reflective of real issues that cause deep concern, often in conflicting ways. As citizens, we need to urge our leaders after the election to make rebuilding our economy their highest priority, regardless of political affilliation. Ultimately, it won't be a matter of standing against each other for what we believe differently, but standing together to accomplish what we really need.

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