Over the last two days, I spent much of my time at the Delmarva Chicken Festival working the Republican Party’s tent there. Having done these sorts of events for awhile, I’ve determined that people fall into three groups politically.
Group number one is by far the largest. The vast majority of the people are there for the food! These are the folks who walk around and, if they’re not already in a conversation with the ones their with, will strenuously attempt to avoid any sort of eye contact once they notice your booth is a political one. The subset of that group are the ones who get dragged in because their kids come by and want a sucker out of the jar we keep on the table. Once in awhile those parents belong to group number two but generally they’re just happy we’ve occupied their kids for a few moments.
The second group are the well-wishers. These folks basically stop by to give us the thumbs-up and tell us they’re glad we’re out here keeping up the good fight. The percentage of the festival patrons that comprise this group tends to be inversely proportional to the number of days remaining until the election; thus, it will be somewhat larger at the Farm and Home Show in August, increase yet again at the Salisbury Riverfest on September 13, and reach a fever pitch at the Autumn Wine Festival in October. (You’ll probably see my smiling face at all of these events.) The AWF should be very interesting as far as a gauge of the Kratovil vs. Harris contest goes because the wine-drinking crowd tends to be more affluent and not necessarily as strictly party line.
And then you have the third group, God love them. There’s only one or two who appear at any of these events, but this group is those people who have a complete, all-consuming beef with someone in or something about the Republican Party. Yesterday’s case was a gentleman who claimed the Bushes moved away from Kennebunkport to Texas because no one could stand them, railed on how many jobs Dubya failed at prior to becoming the owner of the Texas Rangers, how the oil companies run the nation, etc. I had fun with him once I let him go through his rant because I threw a lot of things back in his face and did my own rant about how Congress has specific duties assigned to it by the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8 ) and asking him to query the Democrats about what their principles are since we had the framed poster detailing Republican principles sitting behind us at the tent. (I have issues with some on our side who tend to forget these principles too.)
Now I fall into the third group to some extent when I walk around and see a Democratic booth. Hey, I had a legitimate question over the weekend, and since the Democrats had their table tucked away in the large vendor tent I went over to ask why Barack Obama had decided to drop public financing? I didn’t get blank stares but the upshot of the thoughts of those poor folks working there was that Barack had raised plenty of money so he didn’t need public financing. Well then, I asked, since Obama eschewed the process, if he wins would he drop that whole program since he won without it? That question was left hanging, but I need to keep these folks on their toes too.
Of the stuff we did have to give away, the two most popular were the bumper stickers which read “Don’t Blame Me – I Voted For Ehrlich” (an oldie but a goodie) and “Welcome to Maryland – What’s In Your Wallet?” Obviously a good number of Andy Harris stickers left the premises but I lost count of how many people asked us about John McCain stickers and signs, neither of which we had yet. (Trust us, we’ve attempted to get some stuff from the McCain campaign.) On the other hand, I didn’t see a whole lot of Obama paraphrenalia flying out of the place (which the D’s had) so I suspect the Democrats didn’t have much luck getting their stuff out.
Both main players for the Congressional race managed to make their appearance yesterday. Andy Harris circulated through the crowd in the early afternoon after stopping by and saying hello at our tent, while Frank Kratovil did the same about an hour later. (He also came over to introduce himself to us.) It was good old-fashioned retail politics. I was told Senator Cardin was also in the house but he didn’t stop over to say hello. (Bummer, I had a question to ask him too.)
So while it’s a little early to be thinking about electoral politics for most of us, the campaigning is underway in earnest. Hopefully it will reach a level where it makes my life easier insofar as interesting items to comment on while further increasing my readership.