In a previous life, I had been a lawyer. After seeing Romney wipe the floor with Obama in the first presidential debate, I started to think he might actually have a chance, and that even the non-stop media propaganda campaign in favor of their messiah wouldn’t be able to sway the American people. After all, they had seen Romney demolish Obama on national television. That had to count for something. I knew it was still a longshot, but I wanted to try to and help in any way I could, so I contacted the campaign.
After a few e-mails back and forth, they told me that I would be of most use to them working in the war room in Columbus, fielding calls in the run up to election day, and on election day that dealt with legal issues.
I wasn’t sure how effective I’d be, but like I said, I wanted to help, so I signed on.
The morning after my arrival, football season gf dropped me off at the brand new Hilton in Columbus, on her way to work.
Outside of the Blackwell, which is on campus, staffed by students and run by the hotel school, there is nothing approximating a good hotel in Columbus.
The new Hilton is fantastic. It’s in a great location on High Street making it a reasonable walk to downtown and the Short North (and even campus), there’s a nice bar, the rooms are modern and comfortable and the onsite restaurants have great food.
Back on topic though. My room wasn’t ready, so I left my bags in the lobby, went for a brief walk, then came back to the hotel around 11am.
My room was now ready, so I changed into some business casual attire and caught a cab out to campaign HQ.
I met with the guy who was overseeing the legal group, and was introduced to some of the people I would be working with. Once the group was assembled, we all adjourned to an orientation. The rest of the day and the next day were spent in the office.
Saturday was my allocated day off, which turned out to be fantastic for me, as the Buckeyes had a home game against Illinois. Even better, one of my good friends living in Chicago had season tickets, but was unable to attend, so he gave me his two tickets in A-deck for free. Hell of a nice guy.
Since football season girlfriend had been so super to me, I brought her to the game. We started the day at our favorite college bar, watched the mighty Bucks eviscerate a particularly hapless Illini squad, then made our rounds of the post-game bars to see friends and celebrate.
Sunday, it was back to work. At one point when another lawyer and I were tasked with going out to a suburban development to go door to door (only to voters who identified as Republican of neutral) to ask question, I realized the campaign was doomed.
If the Republican party thought the best use of their resources in 2012, in a campaign they were trailing was to send lawyers out on foot to go door to door and bother people by asking them if they were planning to vote, and if so morning, afternoon or evening, then I just don’t know what to tell you.
For the most part, we were only contacting people who were already planning on voting for our guy and more than a few of them said they were sick of being hounded and wouldn’t answer any questions. Awesome strategy, harass and alienate your likely voters, surefire way to win the election.
This experience really drove home just how wide the enthusiasm gap was. The Dems were able to mobilize infinitely more volunteers and since their base was much younger, they understood how to use technology, use the media and influence and win modern elections.
I still believe that Romney was and is a better man and would have been a better president, but the Republicans were hopelessly outclassed regarding the tools and tactics that are needed to run modern campaigns.
Still, I soldiered on. Football season gf had moved from her house into the hotel with me when I checked in, so we both got dressed in our finery and went to the election night party. At that point I was certain we’d lose, so the evening didn’t have a very festive atmosphere.
As the results started to break for Obama, the night began to peter out. No one felt much like celebrating.
We went back to the Hilton, walked through the throngs of drunk Obama supporters celebrating in the lobby (the Dem party had been there) and up to bed. I had the next day off to rest before flying back to NYC.
Oh well…at least the Buckeyes won and the hotel was nice.
Hilton Columbus Report Card
Pros: Fantastic location, nice lobby bar, great restaurant and room service, modern décor.
Cons: It’s new and they are still ironing some kinks out, the gym is light on equipment and weights
Verdict: I wouldn’t stay anywhere else in Columbus. When I went back later in November for the Ohio State v. Michigan game (we won…again), I stayed here again.