Rubber Duckies: The Mother's Milk of Politics
Over on the main site today, we've got the story of Eric Swalwell, the upstart challenger to Rep. Pete Stark, a California Democrat who has been in the House for 20 terms.
While Stark's antics this year - he wrongly accused his opponents of taking bribes, wrongly accused a columnist of contributing money to his opponent and recently upbraided a politician who backed to his opponent - have more or less forced him off the public campaign trail, his little-known opponent is knocking on doors to meet as many would-be constituents as he can.
When Swalwell takes to the trail, he stuffs a few patriotic, flag-decorated ducks into his pocket and is closely trailed by an aide with a bag-full of backups. Then, as he meets children, he gives away the ducklings, complete with Eric Swalwell literature wrapped around their little yellow necks.
"Kids love rubber duckies," he said, as he campaign manager drove him to a recent event.
Once the kids have a duckie in hand, Swalwell quickly turns to their voting-eligible parents. And he's bought himself at least a few introductory seconds of conversation every year.
After a couple of months, Swalwell said the ducks are starting to become a "signature" of the campaign. "Adults will chase us down" for a duck, he said.
(Photo: Swalwell's rubber duck: Shane Goldmacher/National Journal)