Saturday, November 01, 2008

On the campaign trail in Pennsylvania

Steve and I rode out today to canvas for Obama in PA, since we've been effectively disenfranchised by consensus here in NJ. At the Montgomery County HQ in Lansdale, things were kicking when we got there: maybe 70-80 people either sitting at tables dialing on cellphones, organizing, or getting maps and lists and getting trained to get the hell out the door and spread the word.

On my first walkabout tour of the day, in a 90s subdivision, I caught a few people in, including a Thai guy who said he was down with Obama and a Nigerian guy who promised he was gonna call his whole family and thanked me for my good work. Five minutes later I'm walking past the yard of this big brawny guy with a porno mustache and a handyman sign in his yard, who was out on his riding mower taking care of an already clinically neat yard, which contained lots of McCain/Palin and other Republican stuff. As I walked past his yard (btw, 2100 Rittenhouse Road, on the corner of Old Forty Yard Road), he pulled over and asked me: "Can I ask you a question?" I took a couple of steps towards him, onto his lawn, and he said: "Don't step on my property." So I retreated to the sidewalk, and he asks angrily: "Let me ask you this. How can you support that scumbag?" He then spews invective for a while and then says "You need to get your car (parked 100 feet away) off of my street or I'm not going to be responsible for anything that happens to it."

By now -- heart racing a bit, for sure, palms a touch sweaty -- have calculated that he doesn't really want me to call the cops and get him arrested, so I continue around the corner to the two last houses I have on my beat. As I walk around the guy's lawn he hops back on his lawn mower (to intimidate with its manly noise?) and yells at me as I walk, but I can't hear him because his mower is too loud.

After I was done with my rounds, I came back by the guy's house. He came stomping across the lawn with me with a rake, and then set to raking an area which looked well raked while spewing expletives and insults at me some more. As I drove off he was moving his lawn signs closer to the street demonstratively. I should have taken a picture of him with my cell phone, but didn't. lists the owner of the property as one Joseph Isabella. does not list any contributions to political candidates by this name or from this address, which would seem to imply that the occupant's political expressions might be limited to lawn signs and verbal intimidation.

Zillow estimates its current value to be $369,500, down about 8% from its peak, but somewhat lower than the newer homes in adjacent subdivision, including those occupied by the Thai and Nigerian immigrant families who were enthusiastic Obama supporters. The house was last sold in late 1996 for $180,000, implying an annualized appreciation in excess of 6%. Not bad, considering. Hard to track whether equity was taken out, though.

Later in the day I had a great conversation with a young pharma exec who was leaning 51/49 for McCain. I don't know if I changed his mind, but I do know that that's how the process is supposed to work.


Anonymous said...

Clearly the lawnmower-man could have benefitted from your cream, befriending the man in need shows a friend indeed, who might've had a chance to swing his "vote", if you know what I mean. It's an Obamanation either way.

Anonymous said...

Get back to work. Your fatherland needs your money for the good of the country.