Jack Schnedler reports from the battleground

October 29, 2012

My former colleagues Jack and Marcia Schnedler have headed north to do their part for the re-election of President Obama in the battleground state of Ohio. (“Tin soldiers and Nixon’s coming …”) Here is his first in what promises to be a series of reports. I’m still looking for an unpaid mole in the Mitt Romney camp.

By Jack Schnedler
BDA Special Correspondent

Courtesy of the whimsical electoral college, two Arkansas 69-year-olds eager for Barack Obama’s re-election have driven 700 miles to the wilds of southwestern Ohio for the final 10 days of this contentious and interminable campaign.

I’m Jack Schnedler, who retired last year as the Features editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, where staffers are barred from overt partisan politicking (as is the case at many newspapers). Wife Marcia Schnedler retired at the same time as the paper’s HomeStyle editor. So now we’re free to do our bit of campaign work.

Since the president’s prospects of winning Arkansas’ six winner-take-all electoral votes are roughly the same as my chances (or 5-foot-2-inch Marcia’s) of dunking a basketball, we decided to volunteer in Ohio.

Not since we attended a 1969 Cleveland wedding that featured a bagpiper have we set foot in the Buckeye State, which by most all accounts is the most crucial of this election’s so-called battlegrounds. Its 18 electoral votes are viewed as the most likely to make the difference between Obama and Mitt Romney.

I’ve been a habitual voter for Democrats since I cast my first presidential ballot at age 21 in 1964 for Lyndon Johnson, who swore he’d keep America out of a wider war in Southeast Asia.

You’d think that would have taught me something, but I even voted for Michael Dukakis. And I still vote (as does Marcia) mostly for Democrats — the more so in recent years since the current crop of wackos has kidnapped the Republican party.

Our mission looming, we checked in Sunday afternoon at an extended-stay motel on the northwest fringes of Dayton, Ohio’s sixth largest city (population 142,000) and the home of the Wright Brothers.

Monday morning we’ll report for duty at the Obama campaign office in the suburb of Trotwood (known, if at all, as host for the annual convention of ham radio operators).

We’ll be two of myriad cogs in what The Atlantic magazine’s Web site describes as a particularly intense ground campaign by Obama forces to get their candidate’s voters to the polls. The Trotwood site is one of 131 Democratic field offices in Ohio, for example; the Republican campaign has just 40 such offices.

Exactly what Marcia and I will be doing will become clearer Monday morning when we report for duty in Trotwood. Meanwhile, if you’re wondering why we’re so fervent for Obama, I’ll borrow a few lines from The New York Times‘ Sunday endorsement of the president’s re-election.

For one thing, there’s a certain dread of what his challenger’s victory could mean for America: “Mitt Romney has gotten this far with a guile that allows him to say whatever he thinks an audience wants to hear. But he has tied himself to the ultraconservative forces that control the Republican Party and embraced their policies.”

In a positive vein, the editorial is also right on target: “In the poisonous atmosphere of the campaign, it may be easy to overlook Mr. Obama’s many important achievements, including carrying out the economic stimulus, saving the auto industry, improving fuel efficiency standards, and making two very fine Supreme Court appointments.” Not to mention his drive for health-care reform, an achievement that some day will be ranked in importance with the creation of Social Security and Medicare.

Stay tuned to this blog for daily reports through Nov. 6 from the front lines of battleground Ohio.

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