Sens. Arlen Specter, Susan Collins and Olympia Snow have cut a deal with Democrats to pass a “stimulus” bill in the Senate.
As you may know, in 2004, I spent the last two months of the campaign in Oklahoma running the grassroots, Victory and GOTV effort to elect Tom Coburn to the Senate. We only had four kids at the time, so it wasn’t as much as a burden on my wife… uh, honey… wait, come back… I meant… oh boy, it’s a good thing I got the kid’s playhouse drywalled and painted… (The Washington Post did a profile story on my wife in Dec. 2007 on families of political hacks like me, and the challenges they face and in it she said she was totally on board…really).
Sorry for the diversion.
What you probably didn’t know, is that in April of 2004 I was working to help Rep. Pat Toomey (now the head of the Club for Growth) beat Arlen Specter in a primary. Out of sheer desperation to help in any way I could, I hatched a plan to get conservatives across the country to use their cell phones to call into Pennsylvania and help get out the vote. I figured that most people had free weekends and we could get a lot of calls made, since Pat was creating a lot of buzz with conservatives across the country.
We also organized a phone bank in Phoenix and called around to get people to help. On election day, me and Rob and Marne Haney and a handful of others were there calling away. (Yes, Rob and I have been both in the same trench and in opposite trenches in many a battle).
In the end, we organized and produced about 25,000 phone calls into PA from out of state for Toomey.
But here was the killer. The Bush folks insisted on campaigning for Specter. And I don’t mean the casual fly-in, tarmac visit. Bush went into Pennsylvania at least four times in the last few weeks and also did a TV commercial. The White House argument was that Specter as the nominee gave Bush a better chance to win PA. I argued (vigorously) that if Specter was the nominee, conservatives would be deflated and Bush would lose PA. (Which ended up happening).
In the end, the President’s help made the difference and Toomey’s grassroots army (both in-state and out-of-state) couldn’t overcome it… but they came darn close. Toomey lost the primary to Arlen Specter by one vote per precinct.
So, the next time someone says that one vote doesn’t matter, tell them that it was “one vote” that gave us a nearly $1 Trillion “stimulus” package.
Thanks President Bush.