So maybe I was feeling a little guilty that I had not done more for him. Maybe I just wanted to feel good … happy, if you will … about helping out.
So yesterday, when a friend running for office asked me if I would help at his spaghetti dinner fundraiser today … I said yes.
Let me explain a bit about the political climate around here. My friends party is outnumbered ten to one by the other party. You’ve heard of Yellow Dog Democrats or Yellow Dog Republicans? Well, no dogs are even needed around here. The chances of the other party winning much of anything is slim to none.
And I think he is going to win.
A strange thing happened in the primaries this spring. A whole lot … and I mean a whole, whole lot … of outside money came pouring into this area. But not for the incumbent.
For a radio personality who is abrasive at best. He also is a college professor. I will call him Dr. Arrogant Professor.
If you go to the “Rate My Professor” site, you will find comments like “He is the most arrogant prof anywhere” “Avoid him at all costs” and “All he does is talk about himself”.
Those are the nice comments.
So when he gathered some people together to challenge the incumbent, nobody thought that he would oust a mega-term well liked thirty-four year incumbent. Everyone always voted for the incumbent. From all parties. I voted for the incumbent. He did a good job. He helped his constituents. He was reasonable. He worked well across the aisle.
And he lost.
Mr. Thirty Four Year Incumbent lost by 196 votes to Dr. Arrogant Professor in a district with well over five thousand folks voting.
When I went to his formal campaign kick-off, Dr. Arrogant Professor said he was going to cut this and cut that and eliminate volunteer fire department funding and police funding and lower taxes. But his arithmetic doesn’t add up. Not good for an Economics professor.
Oh, he also thinks there should be no money spent on fighting drugs … well he used to say that … and there are some strange rumors … but who can believe them, right?
He has accepted tens of thousands of dollars from private interest PAC’s from the other side of the state. And he has sent out an incredible number of shiny, glossy, four color, large, detailed, mailings (read: really expensive).
We all seem to get one from his campaign every day or two. Which begs the question, if this is how he spends his money now, how will he spend our money then?
Enter Dr. Nice Guy … my friend.
Who waged a write-in campaign to get on the ballot in the fall … and succeeded.
Who used to be a member of the other party years ago. And plays well with others.
Who believes in a Common Sense approach to things.
Who has knocked on more doors than I can imagine. Thousands and thousands of doors. Every spare minute he is out meeting people. He goes to all the concerts and arts festivals and ethnic fairs and ball games and picnics and public occasions.
Dr. Arrogant Professor does not.
My friend has a grassroots campaign.
People like him.
The Volunteer Fire Departments and Fire Departments like him.
The Police like him.
The Labor Unions like him.
The School Board made up almost entirely of the other party likes him.
Former City officials of the other party like him.
So I went to help at the fundraiser.
And people started showing up. And more people showed up. And still more people showed up.
Ten dinners to go.
Four dinners to go.
Eight dinners to go.
Sixteen dinners to go.
Group after group after group showed up.
All talking about what a nice man he was. And how he was going door to door to meet everyone.
When the opponent, Dr. Arrogant Professor, was mentioned … well, close as I can tell, if you look up the word “smarmy” in the dictionary, his picture will be there. At least that is what someone said.
And last but not least … the best part of all … half of the staff of Mr. Thirty Four Year Incumbent were there. From the other party. They were there.
They were in the kitchen … with me … scooping out the spaghetti and making the salads … working the whole time.
I have a good feeling about my friends chances.
Congressman Nice Guy. Has a nice ring to it.