Monday, December 31, 2007

Before Everything's Lost in the Rush

With a Mobile car mechanic inspecting my car on the way to New Hampshire, I settled down in one of four grease-stained folding chairs inside a stuffy and dark waiting room. A phone in my hand and the tantalizing closeness of a New Hampshire teeming with political excitement on my mind I made the call I had been meaning to make for a long time now.

I recently turned eighteen years old. Often a meaningful birthday for other reasons, I anticipated this milestone for the ability to donate money to a political campaign. Though unintentionally, I had donated money to Mike Huckabee and John McCain by purchasing t-shirts at various functions; now it was time for the real thing.

Opting to speak with someone directly instead of using a generic online or mail form, I 411'd the Washington D.C. headquarters for Senator Chris Dodd's presidential campaign. I held my debit card in my hand and read the number into the phone as quietly as I could. When prompted to chose a donation amount I doubled my intended contribution of $18 to $36.

I realized after the call ended that my contribution probably didn't have any effect on Dodd's campaign; surely his staff on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire have the materials they need for canvassing over the next week, for signs to hold on caucus night and primary day, and I can't see my $36 going towards a new hiring or office opening.

My decision to give to Senator Dodd's campaign was rooted in my belief that my vote, my voice, and my support of the Senator is just as important in his eyes as everyone else's. With Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards, the dreams they promise are as far from reality as the high-roller fundraisers they hold are from mainstream America. What the Dodd campaign represents is an America moving away from the stranglehold of foreign oil through bold but realistic initiatives, the return of the rule of law to the executive branch and the protection of the Constitution, and a new era of national service. Not only are Dodd's positions achievable, but they're initiatives already being undertaken by the Senator; from October to mid-December it was Dodd who singlehandedly led the fight against retroactive immunity for the telecom industry on the FISA bill.

After crossing the Massachusetts border into New Hampshire on Saturday, I decided to visit Senator Dodd's Manchester field office to pick up pamphlets on his efforts to introduce new legislation on the Iraq war in Congress this summer. I was greeted by a Dodd volunteer and mentioned to her my recent donation to the campaign, noting my skepticism that offering support so late in the game would be of any use. In the same personal tone that Senator Dodd extended the invitation to join his campaign as a volunteer this June, I was touched by the sincere gratitude my donation was welcomed with at the Manchester office and by the promise that my $36 would in fact be put right into distributing more yard signs throughout New Hampshire.

Surrounded by negative ads, newspaper attacks, and broken promises from our frontrunners, the act of voting and acting on conscious is more fulfilling than betting on the odds of victory and angling for an election win.

On caucus night in Iowa I'll make sure to check in on the festivities for Romney, Huckabee, Clinton and Obama, but at the end of the day I'll stand beside Chris Dodd.

It's Iowa time...let's go.

Monday, December 24, 2007

An Extra Day

I've had plans to cover the Iowa Caucus from Des Moines nailed down for a few weeks now, but I just booked the American Airlines flight to DSM and now I've got an extra day of juicy, freezing cold, Mid-West political coverage.

Boston Logan Airport. New Years Day. The last moment of calm before landing at ground zero.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Making Lists, Checking Them More Than Twice

10 days until Iowa.

There is some last-minute web design work being done to set up an external site for me to post on while in Iowa?should things not work out I'll stay on here and try to integrate in Flickr slide shows and YouTube clips I'm taking in Des Moines as often as I can.

The site has been receiving the usual light stream of visitor traffic, but I'm hoping to get a good following going during the Caucus week, and to continue the momentum on through New Hampshire and most of January. I may advertise myself as the "blogger in New Hampshire," but that doesn't mean I'm stopping after January 8.

It's snowing again in Des Moines?time to find return to the photo store for another big purchase...waterproof camera cover.

It never ends.

Monday, December 17, 2007


to GreenMountainPolitics1 for:

1) Saying what needs to be said


2) Not backing down

I can't stand Mitt either.

Join the chorus.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

There's Nothing Political About...


College apps, six Russian cases and declensions, lab reports.

Sometimes serious blogs have to be personal. Hopefully this doesn't turn into a LiveJournal.

Five days until vacation and my life switches into Iowa Caucus mode.

Let's do it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Snow Begins to Melt

But I-93 out of Manchester was a beautiful blanket of unplowed snow, and Manchester is hands-down one of America's prettiest winter cities.

(photo credit: 2007 by Luke N. Vargas. All Rights Reserved.)

It's Here.

Obama mania landed in New Hampshire yesterday as Barack, Michelle and Oprah roared in from a swing through Iowa and South Carolina.

I'll pen my thoughts on the rally later, but it was one event I won't forget easily.

(all photos: 2007 by Luke N. Vargas. All Rights Reserved.)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Slavery is Over. Deal.

per CNN

LEXINGTON, South Carolina (CNN) — Eight Confederate flag-waving men protested outside a Fred Thompson campaign stop Wednesday evening, one week after Thompson and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney criticized the Confederate flag during the CNN/YouTube debate in Florida.

Clad in jackets bearing the Confederate flag and holding signs reading "South Carolina hates Fred Thompson" and "Fred Thompson go home," the protesters said Thompson was not a "true southerner."

Not only is supporting the Confederate flag in the year 2007 politically-incorrect, it's about as un-American as you can get. I'd be drop dead terrified if any legitimate presidential candidate polling above 5% was in favor of increasing the use of the Confederate flag. Slavery is over. Deal.

An early voting state + a radical group with (still) a considerable amount of support = not a good filter for presidential candidates.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Pencil Me In

The blog and the POV Magazine will be in the lovely city of Des Moines for the 2008 Iowa Caucus.

When I made the reservation this morning there were only 2 hotel rooms left spread across eleven hotels in the city center. Is the Iowa Caucus going to be the biggest press pack I've ever seen? You bet.

January 2-4, The Quality Inn Des Moines becomes my broadcasting headquarters.

Let the phone calls, road maps, reservations, videotaping, photographing, and interviewing begin.


Because I want to be right, I'm cheering the shifting momentum in Iowa.

One month to go. Watch what you say.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

CNN: Clinton News Network

Road flares, no injuries, Rochester, NH, no "face of crisis."

Where's the objectivity?

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) When the hostages had been released and their alleged captor arrested, a regal-looking Hillary Rodham Clinton strolled out of her Washington home, the picture of calm in the face of crisis.

The image, broadcast just as the network news began, conveyed the message a thousand town hall meetings and campaign commercials strive for ? namely, that the Democratic presidential contender can face disorder in a most orderly manner.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Hands Down

"If they [Republicans] think they're getting into the ring against someone who doesn't know how to punch back, they've got the wrong guy."

THE best speech of the 2008 campaign so far.


That's not a word you hear much these days in the Democratic party.