So yeah, this is a wild and crazy and entirely true story of politics. (As told by Paul Kraly)

We were chatting one Friday night with some of Paula’s childhood friends who took us out to a Lebanese place for dinner and she starts harping about politics and the future of America and all that. I just shook my head and enjoyed the beef Kafka while she went on for a bit. Then she turns back to me and says, “Well, tell ’em what you did that one night at that church social…” and I almost spat out my food.

“What? Aw, come on, it’s nothin'” I was turning red though.

“No, it’s everything! YOU did it and hardly no one knows what you did, tell em!”

So, okay, here we go.

It was September of 2008, a Monday night because I was at this guy’s place for a football game and he’d invited a lot of men from church over for the game. Cleveland vs. whatever crappy team we played and lost against. One of the people this guy invited was P. (I can’t give any more info than that but he’s…well, he WAS, a die-hard conservative, I wouldn’t say ultra, but kinda close to it.)

And what I didn’t know at the time was that he was in charge of major campaign events and coordination for John McCain and Sarah Trailer-trash. (don’t argue, it’s what she is). Meantime, my friend Fred, a nice older man who just thought the world of me, was watching the game with me, and drinking beer.


I am NOT a beer drinker, so I stocked up on ginger-ale and tried to be “one of the guys”. It was about maybe right after the third quarter, and it looked bad for Cleveland, so Fred and I took a walk around the house to check out the rooms and meet other people. We go to one room in the back and we see P. at a table with a few other guys and they’re talking. I can tell P.’s plastered because the way he was talking and his head was bobbing a little, yeah, we’d be calling him a cab for sure. Or I would have gladly driven him home too.

So we walk over to the table and we’re listening for a while, Fred and I. I don’t quite remember the full conversation as its been 15 years, but it kind of went like this:

P: “So yeah, I’m tellin’ you guys, we got Ohio sewn up. It’s gonna be beautiful. We have this whole campaign planned where right before elections, we are blanketing the state with all these Muslim ads and having 9/11 mentioned and all that and it’s gonna scare the shit out of the southern and rural areas. it should be the perfect setup for November and it should get a lot of them out to vote. Districts already favoring McCain (which is 100% true, Ohio is currently gerrymandered to the fucking heavens for Republicans, which is BULLSHIT and ILLEGAL.) so this last push should do it…”

So Fred and I are still standing there, just listening, drinking, and Fred walks closer over to P. and introduces us, and he’s all smiles and nods and talks to us a minute. Poor guy was really shit-faced. So then P. and FRED start talking and this happens:

Fred: “So P., hows things going?”
P: “Pretty good, pretty good… just telling the guys the plan for elections.”
Fred: “Yeah, well, i see that…Paul here wanted to meet everyone so I’m taking him around.”
P: “That’s awesome, well, welcome to the social, Paul. Hope you’re havin’ a great time.”

I nodded politely.

Fred: “Oh yeah Paul’s great, a little too liberal for my tastes though.”
*everyone laughs*
P: “Awwww…he doesn’t seem that bad to me!”
Fred: “Well, he’s okay in my book!” (claps my shoulder) “Actually this is funny but…I think he’s campaigning for Obama….”


There was a moment there where it felt like time stopped. P.’s face was frozen, his friends’ faces were frozen…. like someone took a stopwatch that controlled time and just clicked it on…

It was like that for maybe 5-10 seconds…

Then P. got this look……………. I’ll never forget it. it was the look of a man suddenly hearing his whole family had just been obliterated in a wood chipper or something…

Fred quickly says his good-byes to everyone and herds me out the door to utter silence coming out of that room.

I didn’t see P. the rest of the night and he never saw the rest of the game.

I bade Fred farewell and drove home and Paula saw me at the door and started to talk to me.

i quickly hushed her with my hand. “Not one fucking word…” i growled and i immediately went to my phone and dialed a number from memory, and it’s Bob….

Bob…one of the Midwest heads of MOVEON. One of the folks we’d been working with that year.

If you don’t know what MOVEON is, uhhhhhhhhh…they’re pretty much one of the most powerful liberal grassroots election movements in the country.

So… Bob’s kinda sleepy and he answers the phone and I tell him EVERYTHING i hear from P., the party, the launching of the ads, the fight to bring anti-Muslim into the mix, 9/11, everything.

Bob’s quiet for a moment and then i hear an audible whisper “holy shit….”

He thanks me, quickly hangs up the phone and I don’t hear another word about it.

Paula and I waited to see those anti-Muslim ads but funnily enough, they never happened…not one single ad. Oh sure, probably some other ads about how horrible Obama was and all, but…we never did see ANYTHING to do with Muslims or 9/11. And we checked with MoveOn, and THEY never saw ads in Ohio for them.

So… you know the rest of the story…

Obama took Ohio that November in 2008 by about 200,000 votes and McCain was very sweet and kind and supporting in his concession speech. I never had anything bad against John, and I didn’t think we’d have been in bad shape – but I just don’t think Sarah Trailer-trash would have been a good VP, and I think the whole world knew it.

So…that’s the story I told the women with us that Friday night… and now you’re hearing it again, so this is sort of a twice-told tale.

I never did send a letter to Obama in congratulations and told him what I did that fateful September night… sometimes I wish I had.

I could totally get into being an intern at the White House!

Anyway, you’re welcome, America.

– Paul