On Saturday morning I headed south to Palo Alto, where I joined about 30 people who were making calls to Wisconsin voters on behalf of Senator Obama. Um, talk about regional differences. With the exception of one oddly intense young Republican male, everyone—regardless of who they plan to vote for tomorrow—was spooky-nice.
My first call of the day set the tone for the next sixty or so. After introducing myself as a volunteer and asking the gentleman if he was planning to support Senator Obama on Tuesday he said, "Well, I'll tell you. I'm a Republican. Been a Republican all my life. And I've voted Republican all my life."
"Is that right?" said your Nesting Ground Mistress. In following our directive to always keep things positive, I added, "Well, you have a fine candidate this time around."
"But I'll tell you," said the man. "If I were a Democrat, I'd vote for that Barack Obama over Clinton any day."
Hmmm. This was an opportunity for...something. But I didn't quite know how to capitalize. I small-talked for a minute about how the reputation of Midwestern friendliness was well-earned and then...EUREKA! "...and I love the fact that Wisconsin has an open primary!" I said, "I'm calling you from California, and I wish we had the same system in place."
"Oh, it's not open out there?"
"No, Sir. And, you know, Senator McCain has the Republican nomination all tied up. You might want to consider lending Senator Obama your support on Tuesday."
"I was just talking about that with my wife last night!"
"Great minds and all that," said your Nesting Ground Mistress.
"I think that's what we'll do."
"Yes, I believe so."
"Well, I'm going to ring my bell twice for you, and you're gonna hear a bunch of cheering. That's all of us saying thank you very, very much."
And I rang the bell twice to indicate two votes and the whole office did, indeed, cheer.
I know our conversation could have easily gone the other way. He could have said he was going to vote for Obama's opponent in an effort to make McCain's fight a little easier at general election time. But he didn't.