Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Few Hours At The Reshma 2010 Headquarters

I dropped by at the Reshma 2010 headquarters for a few hours earlier in the evening. It is on Madison Avenue between 31st and 32nd.

I made 100 phone calls. About 21 of them went through. Then I picked up some literature to go work a subway stop. Aaron suggested the 23rd Street stop. Once I got there though I decided on a change in plan. I walked over to Little India. I was going to leave the literature at the various stores. I was so impressed that the campaign had been all those places before me. The first store I walked into, they already had Reshma 2010 literature on full display. It is not often that an Indian American runs for Congress. And you could feel the quiet pride the people felt.

It was that same thing I felt talking to a lot of elderly white women on the phone. They said they were for Maloney. I respect that, I said each time, and meant it. These were women who would be home when others were at work.

Similarly I can see how Reshma appeals to young professional women, and to young professionals in general. I have been trying to figure out what the Reshma style is, for Obama that has been the new kind of politics, one that is about positivity. Reshma's style is in formation, sure. But I think it relies much on sheer excellence. You work very hard. You do the best work you can. You raise the most money. You flesh out the best policy proposals. That style can appeal to professionals in general, men and women alike. Her appeal is based on excellence.

Reshma is intellectually challenging in a way Maloney is not. Maloney is safely pro-choice. Reshma is pro-choice plus. Maloney's generation tried their best, and they did good work, but they have not achieved equality for women. Reshma's task begins where Maloney's ends. Maloney's best is but Reshma's foundation. This is not a race to demolish Maloney. This is a race to succeed Maloney. This race is about suggesting Maloney's best has not been good enough, and so a more capable, more energetic person needs to step in.

And that applies to more than gender. The thing to note is not that finally some work is being done on the Second Avenue subway line, but why it took so long. That subway line has been a work in progress the entire time Maloney has been in Congress. That is not my idea of excellence.

Maloney has been safely Democratic. The leaders in Congress have not had to fear she might go vote with the Republicans. But she has not been any sort of a guiding light. She has not been that Congressperson who Democrats in various parts of the country have quoted. She has been humho. She has been mediocre. She has been "ordinary," as the Washington Post article described her. Only today I realized that article in the Post was on its front page. I read it online, so I did not realize if it was on the front page, or where it was.

Not only is this Reshma-Maloney race the most talked about race in the state of New York, it also has attracted national attention.

At the Niagara falls, the water collects, and collects, and collects, and then the waterfall part happens. At this point we are in the water collecting part of the campaign. I suggested that metaphor to Aaron and to Reshma while at the office.

There is much joy in talking to voters on the phone: you hear all sorts of unexpected stuff. One voter said, I don't like to get my political information on the phone, can you please send it to me in the mail instead? Another said, I need a number I can call so I can get my information.

My final call went something like this.

"Have you heard of Reshma?"


"Will you be voting for her on September 14?"


There were quite a few people who said, I have heard of her, but I don't know enough about her to decide one way or the other.

There is much joy to meeting people in person.

And on my way out Aaron told me Reshma was on Bloomberg TV today. I need to get the YouTube clip for that, I said.

We did the petition thing, Megan said with quiet pride. You sure did. That was a lot of work.

I try to offer some strategic thinking digitally. And that is fun. But it is in talking to and meeting people where the big fun part is. I told Aaron I will try to show up once a week for that fun part.

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