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Enthusiasm Gap



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Our country house is in Ulster County, in purple upstate New York–once safely Republican, but more and more Democratic as refugees from New York City move here and the state GOP withers away. The retiring congressman is Maurice Hinchey, a very left-wing Democrat (he was for impeaching George W. Bush).

Four years ago, the valley we live in was sown with Obama signs. Next most numerous were signs for Ron Paul. I remember seeing one sign for John McCain (they were black, remember? quite the high energy color scheme!)

This year has brought a complete flip. Romney signs have sprouted like mushrooms, including a big one promising a Romney-Ryan victory celebration on election night. I have also seen two empty chairs, labeled Obama or Nobama. I have spotted only a couple Obama signs. 

Most interesting is the disparity in liberal commitment. A number of yards here have boasted anti-fracking signs for months (even though we are outside the Marcellus shale, where any fracking would occur). I would bet that anyone who puts up an anti-fracking sign thought Barack Obama was the Baby Jesus four years ago. But I have yet to see an Obama sign accompanying an anti-fracking sign. 

Of course Obama will carry New York State handily. I doubt that party registration has changed much if at all in my little corner of upstate. But the signs tell their story: Republicans are organized and energized; Democrats are depressed and (at best) dutiful. Vote for your country.



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