ON THE IOWA TRAIL WITH DEAN’S TEXAS RANGERS
(copyright 2004, all rights reserved)
Introduction Part OnePart Two
Part Four Afterword
Country Kitchen was aglow with orange caps.True to his word, Glen had let us sleep in. It was about 8:00 when Iwoke up without prompting. Using my cell phone as a flashlight (a lotof us did that, and it was about all they were good for in the camp), Igot my toiletries and left for the bathhouse as quietly as possible,wanting to let Ms. T and our cabin mates doze as long as possible.Around 9:30, Ms. T and I and our cabin mate Patrick formed up withthree other people for the drive into Des Moines. Ms. T didn’t caremuch who we rode with, as long as she got into a van as soon aspossible. On the way from the bathhouse, she’d had the remarkableexperience of freezing her freshly-washed hair, and wanted to thaw itbefore it broke off.Our new teammates included two girls from Austin, Valerie andRachel, and an oddly conservative-looking man from San Antonionamed David. Rachel and Valerie were petite women in their 20’s—brunette and blonde, respectively. David was forty-something,with slicked-back brown hair and a tailored topcoat reminiscent of Michael Douglas’s archetypal Gordon Gecko character from WallStreet.When David, who had volunteered to drive, suggested we stop atCountry Kitchen Buffet, I had no idea that virtually every one of Dean’s Texas Rangers were going to make the same decision. Thechain restaurant lampooned in South Park as a feeding trough for theelderly was overflowing with people—some old, but mostly20-somethings—equipped with bright orange hats, cash, andappetites. The manager had an expression on his face that seemedpart elation and part dread—it was, after all, a buffet…and most of these college-aged Dean supporters had metabolisms ramped far beyond the demands of his normal clientele. Eventually, havingdepleted Country Kitchen’s coffee reserves, we moved on to DesMoines.At HQ, Ms. T and I separated from the others, after making sure thatwe had transportation back to camp. After two days in a row dealingwith the Iowa winter chill, we thought it might be interesting to seewhat it was like working the phone banks. We wound up in the samewarehouse space we’d been processed in upon our arrival, nowconverted to a call center. We signed in and were given cell phones,call sheets, and scripts. The script was pretty simple: the ostensiblereason for the call was to confirm that the voter knew their caucuslocation, and in the process casually asked them if they still intendedto caucus on behalf of Gov. Dean. Ms. T and I went thru our callsheets, then went thru them again a couple of times to try again onnumbers that had been answered by a machine. When we asked for new sheets, we were told it would be awhile, the database was beingupdated. It was lunchtime by then. Since we hadn’t really had achance to see much of downtown Des Moines, we checked our phones back in and went for a walk.
On The Iowa Trail with Dean's Texas Rangers-- Part Threehttp://www.earthwire.net/dean/iowa/Part_3.asp1 of 309/05/2009 07:37 AM