"Most people don't realize, as they hurry distractedly across its vast sweep of brick and concrete, that Boston City Hall Plaza is an incidental theater of shimmering, every-changing light play," we wrote in our award-winning entry in Boston's "Revitalizing City Hall Plaza" ideas compeitition back in the dark ages of 1995. We were delighted to come upon that very theater of light play this morning as we took a wrong turn on our way to Republican Party Headquarters for phone-banking duty.
"Cook Political Report downgrades MA from 'Safe Democrat' to 'lean Democrat.'" headlines David Wiegel at The Washington Independent:
This isn’t going to please Democrats who, privately, describe Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley’s strategy in Massachusetts as “running out the clock.” The Cook Political Report, taking a second look at the race after some polls showed Republican Scott Brown fighting to around 10 points behind Coakley, has downgraded the race from “Solid Democratic” to “Lean Democratic.” That’s a two-step decline in the Cook system — “Likely” means the race is clearly going in one direction, while “Lean” is one step up from a toss-up.
I’ve heard more Republicans than Democrats take issue with Coakley’s campaign — she’s actually leaving the state on Tuesday to raise more money in Washington, having started an ad blitz this week. This might change that.
"Come on down," quips Brown Deputy Regional Coordinator for Boston Shawn Burke in his best Ernie Boch Bostonese, above instructing a fellow volunteer in the mysteries of phone banking. To keep product quality and productivity high, there's a friendly competition amongst the various regional offices for who can get the most calls in between 9 and 9 each day from now till special election day, January 19.
Meanwhile on the homefront, we walked half an hour across the McArdle Bridge down Meridien Street to Maverick Station in East Boston this morning and took the T into Boston to phone bank in a backroom at MA GOP headquarters, 85 Merrimac Street, a couple of blocks north of City Hall. Closest T stop is Bowdoin, end of the Green BLUE (!) Line [Thanks to MD in the comments for the correction. We KNEW it was blue not green, darn it], just after Government Center. Why are we tellng you all this? Because we're hoping that any of our readers who may be so inclined and live nearby will take the opportunity to put in a few hours to help our cause. They've got 22 totally awesome state-of-the-art phone-bank phones hooked up to their database, so you don't have to dial. Just press a few buttons. If you'd rather not step out, of course, you can theoretically call from the comfort of home, although we weren't able to get that one to work so far. May try again tomorrow. For those of our readers out of state, there's another option just in over the transom in a "Call to Action" from the man himself. Apparently they're providing food and entertainment for out-of-staters who commit to calling 9 to 9 during the final days.
There were ten of us there over the course of the morning but 22 phones, so they obviously could use a lot more callers. The Boston office at 85 Merrimac is open Monday through Saturday 9 to 9 and Sundays 10 to 9, and "We have a seat for you and a phone for you," says Shawn, eager to beat the regional-office competition in the daily tallies.
The goal today was to call "super voters" — Republicans, Democrats and "Unenrolled" or Independents — who regularly exercise their franchise, with a short list of questions designed to determine whether they intend to vote for our candidate. The names winnowed by our calls today will be used in the countdown for final-push GOTV calls to those most likely to vote for Scott Brown January 19. Most calls led to answering machines. You press a couple of buttons, and those numbers go back into the data base for future calls. Of perhaps 100+ tries in a two-hour period, we got through to only a handful of real folks. About half of those were either hostile or weepy. But the other half were an inspiration. Our favorite was the fellow bursting with enthusiasm for the possibility of a small-government, tax-reducing, 41st-Republican-vote-against-Obamacare Senator from Taxachusetts. He delighted in informing us that he had sent an absentee ballot to his father in Florida, a man who had never missed a single opportunity to vote Republican in the Bay State in 72 years.
"Brown has won the online race. While no guarantee of a win on election day, social media has made Brown a much more competitive candidate," writes Professor Jacobson of Legal Insurrection. Dan Riehl gets to the meat of it:
It's pretty clear that the tide is moving in the right direction for Scott Brown, now. But it's going to require a sustained, serious effort right through to election day to pull off an upset. GOTV will also be critical, especially given the nature of a special election. Undoubtedly, this is good news for Brown and bad news for Coakley. Keep the pressure on. Brown's latest ad here.
We're on the case!
Update: Wicked cool from Jim Geraghty:
Perhaps most surprising to me was when I asked about the RNC and NRSC, Brown said that everything he's wanted, he's gotten, mostly phones and technological assistance. He's still looking for donations and volunteers, but has already reached the point where his campaign made 180,000 calls to voters last night.
Hey. Those "mostly phones" are the very ones we were manning this morning down Boston GOP headquarters. Thank you, NRC and NRSC.
Update II: Wicked cool from Dan Riehl:
Unlike that refined and reserved blog demeanor I've witnessed over the years, it looks as though Sissy Willis knows how to get down to the dirty business of politics after all. Who'da thunk it? She's pitching in to help Scott Brown with phone calls. Evidently more help could be used, as well.
As Ernie Boch would say, "Come on down!"
Update III: Instalanche! "More from that one-woman electoral army, Sissy Willis."
Update IV: Click here to contribute.