Monday, May 19, 2008

75,000 – Sea of People Seeks Sea Change

CNN's story mentioning Senator Obama's activities in Oregon over the weekend was decidedly understated (see paragraph 18). "Obama made low-key campaign stops this weekend, hitting a street festival in Keizer and stopping for ice cream in Eugene." Oh, and by the way Barack Obama --the black guy shown in the photos below-- also held a quick meet-up with some supporters at Waterfront Park in Portland.

Later CNN, on Campbell Brown's terrible show, used the rally story as a teaser throughout the hour. When they finally covered it, the angle was what a clever bit of stagecraft this was on the part of the Obama campaign. They said the Obama staffers shrewdly created a buzz by getting the word out that this would be the last chance to see the candidate before the Oregon primary (which was vote-by-mail and ended Tuesday, two days after the Sunday rally). Getting the word out -- shrewd. "Then!" said CNN, "Then on Thursday those clever stagecrafters put out the word that Michelle Obama would also be at the rally, potentially capturing some Hillary supporters." -?!? So, according to CNN this wasn't 75,000 people who wanted to show just how committed and excited they were. No, these rubes were being manipulated by a clever bit of Obama staffer stagecraft. Sorry Atlanta, but Keith is right: CNN blows.

Imagine John McCain is having a big, outdoor rally in your town. Would a thousand people go? Two thousand? Actually, it's hard to imagine it would happen at all. When McCain was in Portland a couple of weeks ago there were no free-to-the-public events and a paid ticket would set you back $1,000 to $33,100.

The Portland Obama rally was the largest to-date in the 15-month campaign, dwarfing his previous record crowd of 35,000 (nice try, Philly!). Portland police say we had 60K people inside Waterfront Park plus 15K all around the park perimeter, on the surrounding bridges, and down kayaking in the Willamette River. To Portland's great credit the thing was amazingly well-managed, with waits of about an hour to get in despite the TSA pat-down, and pretty easy traffic. And afterward the place wasn't covered in garbage -- it looked as if it had been vacuumed.

Incidentally, these photos are also useful if you want to picture how many troops we have in Iraq -- just double the size of this crowd. If you want to include the mercenaries, quadruple it.

In other news, I heard that Bill and Chelsea Clinton had breakfast just a few hours before and a half a mile away from the Obama rally at our favorite breakfast spot, Mother's Cafe and Bistro. What a shame the poor man can never order waffles! I hope they had a nice time doing whatever else they did on Sunday.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Let's Play VP Speculation!

How about Virginia's Jim Webb for Vice POTUS? He was Assistant Secretary of Defense, then Secretary of the Navy under Reagan -- Reagan! He's the Republican-turned-Democrat who squeaked past incumbent Republican Senator George "Macaca" Allen in the 2006 election to switch the Senate majority from the Republicans to the Democrats. So he's a crossover guy who slapped down a racist bully and took his job. To me, he symbolizes the message voters tried to send in 2006.

Secretary of the Navy's not enough military credibility for you? OK: he graduated from the Naval Academy and went straight to Viet Nam as a 2nd Lieutenent Marine, where he earned a Navy Cross, a Silver Star, couple of Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. Oh, and his son served with the Marines in the occupation of Iraq.

So he's a badass moderate who's held a Cabinet position with the Department of Defense, switched parties during Bush, and represents the will of voters to move away from racist, codeword, phony cowboy guys. Also, he's technically from the south.

To all you NASCAR Dads: He's clearly not afraid to use -- and he knows how to use -- the military.

To all you Soccer Moms: He's got, very literally, skin in the game.

Downside: he has very little Congressional experience so although his resume is very long he, unlike LBJ or (hate to say it) Cheney, probably isn't a master at making deals and pushing legislation through. Joe Biden's your man for that, or Chris Dodd. Even so, I'm saying:

Obama-Webb 2008.