Thursday, January 31, 2008

Obama in Ithaca: An Anecdotal Report

The lawn signs started going up this week: I don't think I saw any last week, but on Monday I saw several; and now, going around downtown Ithaca, you see a lot of Obama signs.

I haven't yet seen any Clinton signs, however -- which truth to tell I find slightly more discouraging than if I'd seen one or two; strongly out-signing your opponent is a mark of powerful support, but if the opponent has no signs, it implies that they are simply not contesting that district. Ithaca is, of course, a college town, and it seems quite possible that Clinton has simply decided that it's not worth her while to have an office here, when there is so much more favorable terrain nearby.

I stopped by at the Obama office today to pick up my own lawn sign; their headquarters is right at the west end of the Commons, for anyone in the area. There were a few volunteers there, who seemed friendly and enthusiastic and rather new and like everything was still unsettled. I hope to go back to volunteer some this weekend, my (currently terribly busy) work schedule permitting.

It looks likely that we won't know who will be the Democratic nominee next Wednesday -- most likely they'll each win some states and some delegates, and the race will go on. But New York is not a winner-take-all state, so get-out-the-vote operations matter even if it looks inevitable that Clinton will take the state as a whole -- the bigger a percentage Obama gets, the more delegates he'll get in a likely-to-be-long-and-close race.

Judging by the lawn sign situation, it looks like Ithaca will do its part to add to that total next Tuesday.

Update: For a basic explanation of the progressive case for Obama, I highly recommend this endorsement by Christopher Hayes in the Nation. He captures very well both the reasons for progressives to hesitate, and the reasons why -- ultimately -- the choice between Obama and Clinton is fundamentally quite clear. (via)

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