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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Working the phones from home for McCain-Palin

Phoning from home is fun, I argued in this Nov. 2nd guest-post at HughHewitt.com.


[Copied here for archival purposes on November 5, 2008, from the post linked above at HughHewitt.com.]

(Guest Post by Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar)

I've cast my own vote. I've blogged on just about every topic relating to the election that I can think of. I've chatted up those of my own friends whose votes might have been up for grabs.

So tonight I made a couple of dozen phone calls as a McCain-Palin volunteer. And I feel better as a consequence.

Maybe you didn't realize how easy it is to do that kind of volunteer work from home. Just go to the McCain-Palin website, register there, and click on the big green "Make Calls" button on the right to get started.

I had plenty of left-over minutes in my cell-phone plan so that the calls didn't cost me anything. And I was particularly pleased that I was able to choose to call voters in Pennsylvania, a swing state, just by selecting that state from the drop-down menu on the McCain-Palin campaign website.

The website is pretty simple to use, and it provides separate short scripts to use depending on whether you reach someone in person or you can only leave a recorded message. When I get an answering machine or voicemail, I use exactly the script the campaign prescribes, which includes a call-back number.

But as in past years when I've done volunteer calling, when I reach a live person, I end up deviating from the script more than following it. The less robotic and more "amateur volunteer" these calls are, the more effective.

And people don't want to be preached at if they've already made up their minds, so after identifying myself as a volunteer and confirming that I've got the right household, I ask straight-away if they've already voted absentee or in early voting, and if not, whether they've already decided whether to vote — and if so, whether they mind telling me for whom.

If they seem reluctant, I never press for more details — but I take that as my cue to try to deliver some advocacy. In those cases, here's what I used, instead of the prepared script from the campaign: [# More #]

You know, the McCain-Palin campaign trusts in Pennsylvanians' common sense to see that only John McCain has ever actually fought for us to keep our country safe. And he and Gov. Palin are the only candidates whose stated goal is an actual victory over the terrorists.

Sen. Obama, on the other hand, already has promised to raise taxes during a recession. Pennsylvanians already know that tax increases will devastate the economy and destroy new jobs.


So the only question is how far down the income ladder Obama, Pelosi, and Reid will push their tax increases. Can I share with you just one quote which might help you apply your common sense?

On Friday, one of the leading Democrats campaigning for Sen. Obama, New Mexico Gov. Frank Richardson, said, quote, "What Obama wants to do is, he is basically looking at $120,000 and under among those that are in the middle class," unquote. That suggests to me that regardless of whatever else he may say now to get elected, Sen. Obama is going to treat small business owners and other folks netting $120,000 or more as being rich, and when he soaks them with new taxes, they're going to have to start laying people off.

I sort of envy you, (Mr./Ms.) ____, because your vote will probably count for much more than mine will here in Texas, if Pennsylvania turns out in 2008 to be like Florida was in 2000. And that's why Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin have asked me to call you this evening — to find out if they can count on your vote next Tuesday. Can they?

These are all targeted calls — meaning that the McCain-Palin campaign already has some reason to believe that these individuals might be open to persuasion. And in fact, in a large majority of the calls I made, I never got into the "script" because I got a quick assurance that they were already planning to vote McCain-Palin — in which case I just ended the call by thanking them profusely, and by reminding them to go to the polls early because large crowds are expected and their state may be the key to the entire election.

I don't want to overstate the impact of these calls. Out of the two dozen calls I placed, I figure there's at least a small chance I might have reminded/persuaded someone to go vote who might otherwise have let it slide. And that, by itself, made doing this worth my time, in my estimation.

But I spoke to one woman tonight who said that while her husband is a strong McCain supporter, she had just re-registered this year for the first time since she'd voted for JFK in 1960. But she still hadn't decided whether to vote, or if so, for whom. I ended up chatting with her for a good five minutes, and by the end of that time she said she thought she'd go vote again this year. If indeed she turns out to be a one-vote net gain for McCain-Palin in Pennsylvania, then my time this evening will have been spectacularly well spent.

I'll probably spend another couple of hours making these calls tomorrow evening. Care to join me?

— Beldar

Posted by Beldar at 05:00 AM in 2008 Election, McCain, Politics (2008) | Permalink


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