Monday, January 02, 2012

Almost Gone With the Wind - Day Two - Adventures of Mr. Ed and Little Punk

“Blow, Boreas, foe to human kind! Blow, blustering, freezing, piercing wind! Blow, that thy force I may rehearse, While all my thoughts congeal to verse!” – John Bancks, Chief Justice of England, 1644

Today was field day; scores of volunteers headed into the fierce teeth of a conflicted Iowan December. 58 degree days gave way to wind chills in the low twenties within 12 hours, forcing hundreds of Texans scurrying for hotel lobbies like armadillos on a freeway.

The rest of us who came from midwest states Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, North Dakota... we just smiled and marched on.

Our assignment today was to reach out to the community going door to door, and what better day to do so than on a day of bombing temperatures and 35-40 mph winds with gusts up to 50? I didn’t bring Riley out with me today, but left him with Maria to go to the mall and Toys R’ Us, playgrounds and everything between. He had a blast, but poor Maria was worn out by the end of the day. She’s been a big help on this trip, and I’m grateful for her help allowing me to go about our business, and following me around as we dart from room to room plugging every hole and pulling together every thread we can in this patchwork of grassroots support.

The scene at Perry HQ was enthusiastic and determined. There is a comprehensive, coordinated plan for every aspect of the campaign. Perry’s staff is in one accord and excited about their prospects in Iowa and beyond, and they wear their excitement on their sleeve.

Door to door contact is what I do for a living, so this was nothing unfamilar, but still a unique experience. I absolutely LOVED the opportunity to meet people face to face, and let me tell you, the registered Caucus-goers we visited were happy as well. Three people actually thanked us for stopping by, instead of calling. Phone banks are a staple of every campaign for the last 80 years, a necessary evil if you will, but our method was something no other candidates have attempted this year; Perry alone has the large masses of volunteers hitting doors all over the state. Hundreds of them.

Two nerve centers, Sioux City, IA and Des Moines have their hundreds of canvassers heading out daily, armed with facts, passion and energy bars. And the response has been remarkably strong. Since my career in sales development makes this "old-shoe" territory for me, I took pleasure in asking voters what their biggest concerns were and getting them to tell us exactly what they needed to hear from Perry. Out of four voters we spoke to, all attending their local caucus on Tuesday, two undecided folks changed their minds right there, previously leaning toward another candidate because of misunderstanding or not knowing particular policies or records about Governor Perry. So, NET GAIN: Team Perry.

In one of the best moments of the day, Riley and I were back at HQ in the evening, walking through the atrium when Texas First Lady Anita Perry came walking by. She noticed Riley almost right away and scooped down to tell him how adorable he was. He smiled and - as usual - hammed it up a bit. But... come picture time, Riley balked, maybe from all the immediate attention (or possibly the effect from standing next to one of the most beautiful women in America) and he began to step away; the picture snapped, making it a little blurry, but it’s a keeper! She spoke with us for a few minutes and left an indelible impression. Mrs. Perry looks you straight in the eye when you’re talking with her, no hesitation or distraction in her eyes.

It is an amazing trait to be the kind of person that has so much exposure and responsibility and still have that genuineness that makes you feel like you matter. This isn’t merely good politics, this is a reality that only some people have, and i imagine most people need. The Perry family has it. It translates into effective leadership, which nurtures into a political machine, well-oiled enough to take out President Obama next November.

The evening finished with a social mixer at the Sharaton Hotel, where media and campaign staff spent time thanking the workers from the weekend and talking about Tuesday plans for Caucus. Governor Rick Perry is the only candidate who has motivated 2,000+ volunteers to come from 38 states to make a difference; the next candidate to face President Obama in 2012 must have the ability to move the masses and excite the base.

Fortunately, come hell or high water – or 50 mph winds – this is a candidate who is capable to changing the tide and has enough financial and human support to take your vision for America and turn it into political momentum in Washington, D.C.

Rick Perry is far from being gone with the wind, he's only just beginning to speak up.


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