Clueless at Campaign Headquarters

The following is a mostly true account. Only names and a few minor details have been changed to protect identities.

Last night I received a phone call. It went something like this.

Caller: Hello, my name is Henry. I am calling from campaign headquarters and would like to ask you a few questions.

Me: Will it take very long?

Caller: No.

Me: OK.

Caller: I want to know if you are going to vote for Obama or the other guy.

Me: Which other guy? There are seven others on the ballot.

Caller: Ugh. Are you sure?

Me: Yes. Would you like me to give you their names?

Caller: Yes.

Me: Baldwin, Barr, Calero, Lariva, McCain, Moore, and Nader.

Long pause — silence on the other end of the phone line.

Caller: Hummmmm

Me: How can you be a campaign worker for one candidate if you don’t know the other candidates’ positions on the issues?

Caller: I like hanging out here.

Me: How do you feel about the 700 billion dollar bail out?

Caller: Oh, that was bad.

Me: Who are you going to vote for in the Congressional race?

Caller: The Democrat, of course.

Me: But he voted for the bailout.

Caller: Really?

Me: What do think about term limits?

Caller: Yes, that would be good.

Me: Then you should not be voting for an incumbent.

Caller: What’s an incumbent?

The conversation concluded with my recommendation that Henry visit some web sites and read some books. I suggested that he read Joshua Frank, Mickey Z, William Blum and some others.

The ultimate responsibility for the outcome of the election is the voter; but, in defense of Henry- the-Campaign-Worker, maybe he is not completely responsible for his lack of information. This phone conversation could have occurred anywhere in the country but it happened in Vermont. In Vermont some newspapers censor out information about some candidates. Being blacklisted by Vermont newspapers is so common that it has become a badge of honor. Many candidates have been ‘Naderized’ — denied access to the Press.

In addition, some newspapers in the southern part of the State have even refused to insert the Official State Candidates Information Publication. This publication is nonpartisan. It is authorized by Vermont Law (17 V.S.A. 2810-b) and has been paid for by the taxpayers. For many, this publication is the only source of voter information. A computer is a luxury that many cannot afford.

What is the difference between the Democratic-Republican Party and a gang in the hood? The gang in the hood usually limits its harm to the local area. The Dem-Repub Party causes global harm.

Rosemarie Jackowski is an advocacy journalist living in Vermont. Read other articles by Rosemarie.

6 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozhidar bob balkas said on November 3rd, 2008 at 7:52am #

    i met an israeli at vancouver oakridge center who was selling s’mthing.i asked him if he was an iranian. he replied that he is an israeli. palestinian? no, a jew, said he .
    i said, a semite. he said, No, no, not shemite just jewish.
    and of course, jews look dwn on shemites.
    i did not buy anything from him.thnx

  2. Martha said on November 3rd, 2008 at 8:57am #

    Rosemarie, I’m printing this up to pass around to friends. Wonderfully written.

  3. Erroll said on November 3rd, 2008 at 12:00pm #

    I went through a similar situation here in the Pacific Northwest about two weeks ago. A young Obama female supporter belonging to Obama’s campaign called from New York to persuade me to vote for her candidate. I said that I could not in good conscience vote for someone who wishes to leave American forces as well as civilian contractors in Iraq even after his phased [as opposed to immediate] withdrawal plan has been finally completed. I also mentioned Obama’s plan of redeploying U.S. forces from Iraq to Afghanistan which will escalate the misery and suffering of the Afghan people. I also informed her of of her candidate’s support for the FISA bill, voting for the USA PATRIOT ACT, voting to bail out Wall Street instead of first helping out those whose homes have been foreclosed, not supporting Kucinich’s petition to impeach Bush and Cheney. Despite what I had told her, she said to me that it would be better to vote for the lesser of two evils. I even told her what Kucinich had correctly noted, which is that voting for a lesser evil still produces an evil. It was as if I were speaking to an automaton.

    I seriously doubt if the Afghans [and quite possibly the Pakistanis and the Syrians] will be grateful to Obama as he offers them no hope that their lives will not be shattered when Obama orders 500 and 2000 lb. bombs to be dropped on their villages and homes and families. Yet Obama’s supporters and those who zealously work for him refuse to admit that their man’s feel-good rhetoric will do nothing to eradicate the ills that have befallen both this country and the third world countries that the United States continues to invade and occupy.

  4. rosemarie jackowski said on November 3rd, 2008 at 12:42pm #


    Martha…Thanks for your kind words. They are especially appreciated today because tomorrow I will lose the election for Vermont Attorney General. I am one of the candidates who has been black listed in Vermont.

    Erroll…Thanks – I agree with what you say except I think it is Nader who says all the time that voting for the lesser of 2 evils is still voting for evil. Sadly, Obama has said that he wants to increase the size of the military. He also supports nuclear power. I think we are going to get 4 more years of the Bush administration, no mater which dem/repub wins. After receiving many hundreds of phone calls from citizens, our Congressman changed his vote and voted for the 700 billion bailout only because he had received one phone call from Obama. Obama supported the Bush bailout. Seems that people have already forgotten that.

  5. bozhidar bob balkas said on November 4th, 2008 at 7:26am #

    by saying “vote for lesser or greater evil” one is not stating a fact but deducing a conclusion.
    beware of conclussions. it is also a huge simplification of events of enorm complexities: bestiality, rage, hatred, greed, theft of land, dispersal of people, etcetc.

  6. James Hovland said on January 13th, 2009 at 11:53pm #

    I see what you’re saying, and it’s been like this for a long time. I was part of the grass roots campaign for Kucinich. Most people had never heard if him because the media ignored him. In that game, we get beat. I see your point about people not being very knowledgeable, including campaigners. What’s worse is that half the politicians are sheeple too.

    Martha has the right idea. And a lot of people are taking ‘it’ off the net. What ‘it’ is is something new, because the internet is still very new. The way the net allows people and ideas to interact is almost like a global think tank with a search engine.

    During the primaries I printed up a bunch of bumper stickers. One of them had a peace sign American flag with candle refections on it, and it said: By The People, Because the Media has their own agenda. We need a by the people media, and we are starting to get there. Thank you for contributing to that. And to Martha for getting it off the net. And I can never say a bad world about Bill Gates, because I’m not in Vermont, I’m in northern California, and without people like him, I couldn’t meet people like you.