This week, Bill Clinton held a rally in front of my house. It was attended by 4,000 people along with a smattering of woozles and pooties. I would like to show you the photos but I can’t seem to import them into the diary at the moment.
I got home at 2:30 on Wednesday afternoon. It took me 45 minutes to drive a single block. A nice policeman removed a few barricades so I could get into my street. I had to shoe a small crowd, including one of my state reps, temporarily from the shade in my driveway.
Bill Clinton was here to raise support for Diane Denish, the Democratic candidate for Governor. By all rights, Diane should be far out in front in the polls. Instead, she is four to ten points behind, depending on the pollster. But Hispanics still love the Clintons and Espanola is the heart of Hispanic New Mexico. I live across the street from the town plaza. So a rally at the plaza is, in essence, a rally in my front yard.
Judging from the Obama rally two years ago which drew 10,000 people (on a weekend), this Thursday afternoon rally drew about 4,000. I saw young and old of all races. Of course, since we are a largely Hispano-Native American community, there were plenty of Hispanics and Native Americans in the crowd. A few woozles, too! Pooties and more woozles watched from my house across the street.
I was greeted by my Congressman, Ben-Ray Lujan in the street in front of my house. He promised to schedule an interview with me and I asked him for a support letter from our delegation for a recently submitted grant.
A handful of Susana Martinez supporters stood on the corner shouting at the happy Dems who passed them. Occasionally, shouting broke out. I saw one person flip the Martinez gathering a bird. But mostly, they were ignored by folks eagerly seeking a glimpse of Bill Clinton.
We are a small state and we get to chat with our Congressional delegation and Diane Denish (our current Lt. Governor) frequently. A visit from a former president is a rare treat.
First, our Senator, Tom Udall spoke. I am not sure what he said, since I was looking for my 13 year-old son who had just arrived on the Park and Ride but I cheered for him loudly just as soon as I located Ben. Udall has been a strong supporter of genuine constitutional government, health care and green energy.
Then Diane Denish introduced Bill Clinton.
He talked about education, the economy and Martinez’ huge donation pool coming from Texas. He wondered what would happen to New Mexico’s water. There were chants of “no Susan la Tejana.” People waved yellow bumper stickers that said, “Say no to Susana la Tejana!” Clinton made a joke about needing one governor from New Mexico, not two from Texas, and the crowd roared. He talked about the importance of water rights in New Mexico (Texas is always seeking to divert our rivers and drain our aquifers) and about Susana Martinez’ support for school vouchers.
It is eerie that Denish and Martinez look a little bit alike. If somebody told me they were cousins, I’d believe them.
The truth is that Diane Denish will need to carry Rio Arriba County by 75% in order to offset projected losses in the remaining Hispanic north. Many people are staying home or voting Republican because they are disgusted with the outgoing Governor, Bill Richardson, whose eight years in office were marred by a broad range of scandals including everything from being caught on film fleeing the scene of a drunken houseboat crash to doling out pension funds to rich friends. Some prefer Martinez because a Hispanic woman has never held the Governorship. (Neither has a white woman, or for that matter, any woman.) But in Rio Arriba County which is staunchly democratic, the leadership is firmly behind Denish.
And, judging from the size and makeup of the crowd, so are the residents. I saw tons of people I know. Regular people of all walks of life. I took pix of them too and once I name the photos so I can find them, I will post them here.
After the rally, I phone banked. This time, instead of banking for the Denish campaign, I banked for Organizing for America. We took over the Dandy Burger near my house. I prefer using the OfA lists because they are superior to those used by the local democratic party. They include cell numbers and are far more accurate. I reached many people and had discussions about all sorts of things including early voting, campaign ads and a horse rescue project. Almost everybody I spoke to told me they would vote early and enthusiastically, and a few volunteered to canvass. All still enthusiastically support President Obama including the horses.
When I banked for the Denish campaign last month I was only able to reach about two or three people on my list. All the numbers were house numbers, and nobody answered the phone.
I have to wonder about this. Most of the people I know in New Mexico keep their land line for computer purposes only. They use their cell phones for communication. Except for the elderly, people don’t seem to see a point in maintaining an expensive phone that is a magnet for telemarketers at all hours of the day and night. The “do not call” list offers no relief. So why bother to maintain a phone?
I have to wonder both how this behavior trend outmodes the GOTV technologies of the democratic party in New Mexico, and the polls. Is it even possible to reach “likely Democratic voters” on a landline?
Anyway, I promise I will get pix up next Friday. Go out and multiply!