You can tell I was beat last night when I wrote my previous post – driving for the better part of 10 hours will do that to a body.
But there was a key element I forgot to bring up about the 1,100 mile overall trip I took with Kim and her daughter to see my daughter become a wife. I saw a lot of farm fields, cows, and even a few horses and buggies riding through Ohio’s Amish country. One thing I didn’t see, though, was a whole lot of Obama or Romney signs or stickers in the two states which are considered the “battleground” states of my trip – Ohio and Pennsylvania.
That’s not to say there wasn’t some element of politics at play, and perhaps the fact I did the vast majority of the driving along interstate highways may have had something to do with the dearth of political propaganda. This may have been particularly true in Pennsylvania, where the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-70 simply served as a conduit for my passage. But it seemed the only place where I saw Romney and Obama battle it out was in Maryland, and that was a one-sided contest in Mitt Romney’s favor. Most of these signs were along U.S. 50 on the Eastern Shore.
Yet even driving through Ohio it seemed like there was much more interest in Josh Mandel’s U.S. Senate campaign than in the presidential sweepstakes. I saw a number of his signs dotting the landscape of rural northeastern and central Ohio. Similarly, there were quite a few Dan Bongino signs in Maryland with far fewer calling for Ben Cardin’s re-election.
Obviously these anecdotal results are skewed by the small, relatively conservative enclaves I drove through – perhaps driving through Montgomery or Prince George’s counties or through suburban Cleveland one is regularly greeted by signs professing undying support for Democratic candidates. That may mean a little more as these roads are somewhat more heavily traveled than the byways through Amish country in Ohio or U.S. 50 on the Shore. (On the other hand, a pocket of rural Obama support can be found just across the state line in Virginia through some of the hamlets along U.S. 13. The small Obama yard signs are in front of houses ranging from decently kept to barely structurally sound shacks, while the larger Romney, Scott Rigell, and George Allen signs are usually next to farm fields.)
But there is a value in yard signs as well. When I dabbled in precinct organization, I always wanted to have more yard signs on the block than the other guy did. If I couldn’t do that, I wanted at least one because it presented the fact that not everyone was willing to follow the commonly accepted norm that Democrats were entitled to rule my birthplace by fiat. Now while I rarely won the overall war, I think I did pretty well in my own precinct – not much of a consolation prize, but one nonetheless.
Yet that’s how political battles are won – one precinct at a time. Moreover, areas where one is strong can be used to provide more help to weaker areas. That’s why it burns me – and many others – up when resources which can be used to pick up the parts of (and races in) Maryland which serve as chinks in the armor of the majority party here are instead diverted to other states. While the other side is off trying to tip the scales someplace else, we can be effective in a rear guard action and plant our flag in a place they wrongly believed was safe.
Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up on November 7 realizing we have not only preserved a Constitutional republic by ousting a President thoroughly detrimental to America’s interests but removed a Senator who hasn’t held an honest job in four-and-a-half decades and picked up a couple House seats from right out under the nose of the Democratic establishment? I believe it’s quite doable, so let’s get to work!