Bush by the Numbers —

I wouldn’t have spotted this if not for a link from Daily Kos, but please read the whole thing, not just Kos’ excerpts. If we had an American public that actually did read, this piece would be the only campaign literature necessary for the Kerry campaign. But we don’t. (And these are nice, short sentences. Not hard at all!)

Bush’s acceptance speech —

I did finally read the text of Bush’s speech from Thursday night. First, how delightfully, perfectly Bushie is it that he touted bringing “Republicans and Democrats together to strengthen Medicare” (aka the Leave No Pharmaceutical Company Behind Act) the night before raising the monthly premiums! (And I’m sorry, but he “brought Republicans and Democrats together” on this? Republicans and, what, 6 Democrats? Is that anything like the “Coalition of the Willing”?) But apart from the continued efforts to link Iraq and terror, my impression was that the text sounded vaguely familiar. A bit like, maybe, his acceptance speech from 2000? So he’s asking for another 4 years to finish the things he promised for the first 4 years? I suppose my thoughts are best captured in this exquisite line from Bush’s 2000 speech: “And now they come asking for another chance, another shot. Our answer: Not this time, not this year.”

They’re not all red —

This was in the Friday Courier, the Republican paper of my Republican home town. Since the web site uses a strange format, I can’t point you directly to the story, so I’ll save you a little time and reprint it here. There’s hope in the “heartland”!

Business is brisk at fair political booths

By JOY BROWN, STAFF WRITER

The Democratic Party booth at the Hancock County Fair is seeing one of its busiest years as far as the number of interested visitors stopping by.

“We haven’t even worked our two hours yet and we’ve seen more people today than we did all last year,” volunteer Gene Carty said Thursday afternoon.

Gene, along with his wife Sharon, have worked the Democratic fair booth for “years and years,” and now that both are retired, they give even more of their time in the Merchants Building each year.

County fairs throughout the nation have traditionally been a hotbed of political campaigning. Candidates realized years ago it would do them no good to ignore an event where thousands of area residents from all socioeconomic backgrounds would be gathering.

In Hancock County, the Democratic and Republican booths, amid merchant booths that advertise everything from coffins to candles, are an annual staple.

Around lunchtime on Thursday, the Cartys were in the middle of their first shift of the week and enthusiastically talking to passers-by. “I’ve always loved to people watch,” Sharon gave as one reason she returns to the booth each year. “And we also get people to register to vote, so we’re providing a service there. And, of course, I like to get people interested in our party. That’s the main thrust of the whole thing. “We like to have people look at our wares and our message,” Sharon continued.

With this year’s presidential race becoming so heated between Democratic candidate John Kerry and President George W. Bush, the political “messages” have been many and varied, but not always clear.

The “wares” at the party booths, on the other hand, are simple, obvious and often popular.

The Democrats were busy Thursday selling Kerry-Edwards hats for $10, bumper stickers for $1 and buttons for a $2 “donation.”

Democratic volunteer Sam Ellis said although there are more registered Republicans than Democrats in Hancock County, the Democratic booth hasn’t had many people argue too much with them.

“A few Republicans have walked by, and they kind of look down on you like ‘you poor souls.’ Otherwise, people have been pretty good. Some have been disagreeing with us, but doing it in a good way,” Ellis maintained. “In fact, I’ve had some Republicans come up and tell me they won’t vote for Bush because of Cheney.”

In another part of the Merchants Building, in an area twice the size of the Democrats’, Charles Hymes and Roy Schwinn were working the Republican booth Thursday.

All of the items neatly laid out on two tables, like the Mike Oxley hat bands with tall red feathers, bumper stickers and cardboard fans are free. There are even some informational materials, such as the county auditor’s office weights and measures guide, and Ohio maps, that are being given away too.

Hymes serves on the Hancock County Board of Elections, a position that the Republicans appoint him to, but one that isn’t political. He said he therefore thinks it’s his “responsibility” to volunteer for things like the fair booth since his party chose him to represent it in such a capacity.

“Quite a few people do stop by, but I think one of the reasons for that is we give away so many free things,” Hymes admitted. “We do get in a lot of political conversations, but not really any debates.” Self-proclaimed Democrats rarely, if ever, stop by, he said.

Most area Republicans’ moods regarding the presidential election are hopeful, according to Hymes, but they’re aware a re-election is not a sure thing at this point.

“They know it’s going to be close. That’s why we’re telling people to please come out and vote,” Hymes explained, holding a notepad with a list of people who signed up to receive absentee ballots and yard signs.

“There’s so much (voting) apathy. But this year we think it might be a pretty good turnout” at the November polls, he continued.

“Are you registered to vote?” Schwinn asked a family examining flyers. “Are you going to vote? Well then that’s what counts,” he said, after receiving an affirmative response.

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