By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Kyle Swenson
Gettin' Out the What?
Local Democrats have taken heat in the past for being disorganized -- or "muddled and unfocused," as the Sun-Sentinel's Buddy Nevins put it recently -- but that would not be the case this year. No way. Tailpipe was certain that, for the Most Important Election in Our Lifetime, the Democratic Party would be on its toes as Election Day approached.
Figuring to bask in the exhilarating power of the well-oiled political machine, the 'Pipe called Kerry's Broward County headquarters. Instead of the powerful wheeze of a jet about to take off, though, there was, um, no answer. Maybe all the Dems were out at a rally or something. Give them a few hours. Then no answer to the second call. Or the third. Or the fourth. Could the Broward County Democrats not afford an answering machine?
The next day, an embarrassed volunteer finally picked up the phone. The party was having new lines installed, he said, apparently requiring that the old phones not be answered. The Kerry faithful were also strangely reluctant to give out the locations of their branch offices, so the 'Pipe had to travel out to Kerry HQ in Plantation.
Now we were talkin'. The place was a beehive of activity. Workers at Kerry central were nearly as diverse as a campaign commercial: men and women, young and old, black and white, and they all dashed around frantically waving sheafs of paper. The vital sheaf-waving, however, left little time for dealing with new volunteers. The harried receptionist took name and number and sent the 'Pipe on his way. This metal tube was, let's face it, a little bent out of shape.
Well, it's the nature of the beast, Tailpipe supposed. Must be the same over at Republican headquarters.
But a call to the Broward County Republicans quickly yielded the address and number of their nearest office. Like a good GOP pollution-spewer, the 'Pipe reported for duty to Fort Lauderdale volunteer coordinator Arnold Mende. This branch-office GOP crew also represented its party's base in all its diversity: men and women, young and old, white and white. When Mende saw the tube signing in southpaw, he exclaimed, "All the great people are left-handed -- Julius Caesar, Adolf Hitler, and Arnold Mende!"
A man after Tailpipe's steely heart.
The Repubs handed this tube a list of absentee voters from 2000, and he started dialing within ten minutes of arriving at the front door. Reached about ten people in the first hour. One bad sign for the Bush crowd: Most of the people who answered the phone that day said, hell, no, they'd never vote for the bastard.