I spent the last two weeks traipsing around parts of New England. The landscape and media is saturated with election advertising.
I thought it interesting that in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren (dem) signs were everywhere. But they were not accompanied by Obama signs. My first thought was she didn’t want to be associated with Obama. Could he really be that unpopular even in a solidly blue state? Did democrat supporters express their party affiliation by posting signs for the local candidate while avoiding the President?
So I went into three campaign offices. It was interesting to talk to the party workers. I asked right out if they thought Obama was doing a good job. The response was telling: pursed lips, a pasted on stiff smile, followed by some not-exactly-enthusiastic statement like “he inherited a bad situation” or “the economy is getting better”. But NEVER a positive answer about the man himself.
But I found another explanation for the lack of signs. They aren’t giveaways, like they are here in Canada. No, supporters have to purchase the lawn signs for $5. Hmm, maybe people were being prudent in not wasting their $5 for a shoo-in. Apparently free signs are available in the key battleground states, but not elsewhere. Indeed, the signs and stickers are labelled DemStore.com. And the stickers cost $1 each (read on, for how to get yours…).
The frosty response to mentioning Obama was interesting. It sort of reminded me of the lack of Conservative signs in the last election, in which they won a majority despite the disapproval of the main stream media and “civil society”. I talked at length with one elderly Dem. supporter, who loves elections, the battle, the spin, but I noticed that even he avoided endorsing Obama outright.
The TV and newspapers were also interesting. There was no pretence of being neutral. Partisan keeners were everywhere. The lack of “objective” commentary was initially unsettling. At least the bias was obvious, unlike in Canada where there is a gloss of objectivity that covers the “slant” found in the selection of stories to report and interviewees to quote. I also found it interesting that there was no readily apparent colour scheme to differentiate the two parties: both favoured dark blue backgrounds with red accents.
The lawn signs evolved over the election campaign. Romney signs started out saying just Romney, then: Romney, Believe in America, then: Romney/Ryan in an awkward design that made it look like Romney/Yan.
The latest signs were Romney / Ryan: America’s Comeback Team. The Obama signs always had Biden on them, but their designs also change over time. The best had a large O with a series of horizontal lines in the O making it look like the planet earth. Then I started noticing the logo alone, no name. Like O for Oprah.
In addition to the official signs, there were bumper stickers…
I also saw a great sticker with a cartoon of Romney strapped to a car roof, but as we were driving at the time, I wasn’t able to get a picture.
Anyhow, I got some election paraphernalia for loyal West Side Action readers. There’s one Obama lawn sign (there were lots in stock; at the republican campaign offices they were all out of Romney lawn signs) and several stickers. And a Romney picture and Romney badge. I’ll give them all away, just use the comment section to tell us all why you should get the item you want.