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Obamamania? [3/02/2008 08:13:00 PM]:
Wow...this is getting a little weird. I mean, I definitely get why people like Barack Obama, believe me, but the past couple of weeks have been downright surreal, at least by Houston standards. Tonight, just as we were putting the munchkin to bed, I got my third visit/call from the Obama campaign crew, this time in the form of a very earnest, middle-aged man with an Obama pin and a loud, booming voice. A very nice guy, who was happy to learn that yes, I did indeed vote for his candidate in the Dem primary and that I'm aware of the whole caucus thing, to boot.

Mind you, this is after two different phone calls, again from very earnest Obama volunteers. Very polite, very enthusiastic, and very happy to hear I'd voted the way they were hoping I would. And oddest of all, none of these folks asked me for a dime. Which, frankly, is weird as shit. I remember the 2004 primaries clearly, in part because I myself did a teeny bit of phone-banking for Kucinich back then, and I can't remember a time I got a phone call from the campaign for one of the Democratic candidates that didn't ask for cold, hard cash. Apparently, though, the Obama crew could care less if I give 'em the dough, as long as I vote for the guy.

Like I said, odd. But kind of heartening, really, especially considering that in yard after yard around my 'hood, I see sign after sign for Obama. I've seen a couple for Clinton, sure, but by and large, I've seen Obama signs, even in yards where they sit side-by-side with campaign signs for local Republican candidates.

And yeah, I've heard of the whole "Republicans for Obama"/"Obamicans" thing, although it mystifies me -- I don't get what people like David Duke are hoping to get out of an Obama candidacy. Are they hoping a black man running for the highest office in the land will light the spark of some kind of Ultimate Race War or something? If that's the case, I think they're on crack, but hey, if they want to help out, I'm okay with that.

The funniest part is that I've seen zero signs for any Republican presidential candidate except, uh, Ron Paul (who I hear could well be knocked out of his own constituency down south of here). All the way back when Giuliani & Romney & Thompson were still in the race, I saw absolutely no Repub signs anywhere around town. And while I tend to live on the edge of a black/Hispanic district, I also live on the border of relatively-right-leaning Bellaire, where a lot of this city's well-off live.

Which makes the whole Obama push seem even more strange, and paradoxically cool. We here in Texas tend to get ignored by national politics, since in our winner-takes-all electoral system the Repub voters in this state basically smack down the Dem voters every damn time. It feels weirdly nice to see Democratic leadership actually doing something down here, with Clinton and Obama reportedly neck-and-neck in the state -- it's like we're the plain girl at the prom, and the captain of the football team just came over to hang out and chat for a little while. We're not dancing or anything, no, but hey, the attention's nice.

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