November 06, 2008
What It Takes to Win

My sister Patsy went door-to-door for Obama in Michigan, as she wrote about weeks ago here. For weeks my brother Bill worked the phones for Obama in his Pennsylvania hometown, East Stroudsburg. Monroe County, in some small part due to him, went for the Democrat by 11,000 votes.

My lawyer son Ted took unpaid leave to travel to Pennsylvania work the phones as well, and on election day he did sentry duty at two polling places in Philadelphia.

And the blogger Papa Bonk went to Erie County, Pennsylvania to — cut up stickers. The thanks of a grateful nation (and world, for that matter) are due to all four of them, and to hundreds of thousands of others like them, and now here’s Papa Bonk:

Busch (sic) was a continual embarrassment … and finally an endless source of humor. That was his highest value.

Funny how I started getting the idea that it was my fault. Something my daddy told me one election night when he took me and my brother to the county courthouse to watch the election returns come in. “Politics starts with setting up chairs at the committee meeting,” he said, “Somebody has to do it.”

So I went to Pennsylvania…

Friday night before the election I am in Edinboro’s little store front office. I have a stack of sheets of stickers with a nice picture of Barack Obama that say Vote November 4. I am one of three people who are cutting them out and putting them into a box. I am using a little pair of scissors that hurt my hand. Someone asks,“What are you doing that for?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “Georgia (the office manager) asked for them.”

“How many will you do?” I am asked.

“As many as it takes to win,” I said.


Posted by Jerome Doolittle at November 06, 2008 12:23 PM
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These all seem like thankless tasks, Dad. While everyone has heard of Dwight Eisenhower, no one has ever heard of your friend Louie Kline, an infantryman who walked from the beaches of Normandy to Berlin in 1944-45.

Yet without Louie and a million more undecorated doughboys slogging one foot in front of the other with no end in sight for nearly an entire year, no fall of the Third Reich.

Posted by: Ted on November 7, 2008 11:28 AM

Ah, Louis Klein. Wherever you are, Louis, a grateful nation salutes you, too. He was a member of Brokaw's "Greatest Generation," although Brokaw, oddly enough, made no mention of him in the book. I asked Louis once how he managed throughout his long walk to Berlin. "Shit, who remembers?" he said. "My buddies back in Brooklyn would mail me pot and I kept my canteen full of vodka. My feet never touched ground the whole way."

Posted by: Jerry Doolittle on November 7, 2008 12:07 PM

Thanks Jerry,

Working for Obama was one of the peak experiences of my life. The kids were an inspiration to an old guy. The outcome a miracle. McCain threw everything and the kitchen sink at us in PA for six weeks, and we all became more and more determined. The calling was rewarding, much to my amazement. Even the McCain people, who we called a lot early when winnowing out the Obama supporters, we mostly decent.

Posted by: Bill Doolittle on November 7, 2008 4:57 PM
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