Friday, March 21, 2008

Hail to the King, baby.

OBAMA!

The doors opened at 7:30 a.m. with seating first come/ first serve in a venue that holds between 12-13k people. The last political rally I'd been to in this city - Kerry in 04 - had about 20,000 people in attendance, so I was a little nervous about getting into the event because this city is pretty enthusiastic for Democrats.

We got there about 6:30 a.m. and were probably about half-way in the line when all was said and done.

(Sorry this pic is blurry, it was dawn.)




(This line snaked clear around the Rose Garden for about four blocks.)



(This guy was shouting at everybody even though most of us probably agreed with him.)


I was pretty happy that there seemed to be good security with everybody who entered the Coliseum having to do so through metal detectors. I also saw bomb sniffing dogs check the floor before the event.

Once we got inside we found pretty good seats above and behind the stage. It had taken so long to get inside that we didn't have to wait too long for the event to start.

(There is nobody on the stage so don't bother squinting.)

Congressman Earl Blumenauer gave a pretty good introductory speech that started to get the crowd going and then, after a short wait, they dimmed the house lights and showed the "Yes We Can" video on the jumbitron. As you might imagine; the crowd started chanting along with the video which was pretty cool.

Then the secret service guys came out and Obama and surprise guest Bill Richardson quickly jumped up on the stage. As the announcer asked us to welcome Richardson the crowd went absolutely nuts. I assume it's because he just came out for Obama today.


(That empty section of seats in front of them is the press section.)

(Richardson and Obama seemed to genuinely like each other. They hugged at least twice.)


Richardson gave a great, somewhat low-key speech which was basically a description of why he decided to endorse Obama. My favorite part was a little anecdotal story he told at the end of the speech where Obama had a chance to throw Richardson under a bus during one of the Democratic debates when Richardson hadn't heard a question, but instead helped him out.



Then the Man himself started talking and it was tough to hear the first part because the crowd was so loud and excited and responsive.




I'm not going to go through all the details of Obama's speech except to say this: I was wrong about Obama. My biggest concerns about him before this election sound very much like the criticisms thrown at him by the Clinton campaign; that he's a lightweight and he's too much of a moderate/ conservative for my tastes.

The guy gave a boilerplate, fire and brimstone democratic speech. He promised to end the war, support labor, support science, find a health care solution, close Guantanamo and help the poor. There was absolutely nothing in his speech that could have been confused with the words and promises of George W Bush, John McCain or Ronald Reagan. The closest he came to mentioning Hillary Clinton was an allusion to the 3 a.m. phone call commercial and how he would respond. I'm convinced he's a democrat, but more importantly he's a progressive.

I left the coliseum convinced that he's the right person for the job and this point in history. My daughter wants to volunteer for the campaign. I think I just may join her.

14 comments:

ladybug said...

Totally awesome~! We're too "farkin' busy to even contemplate goin' downtown for the day...

Thanks for the pics!

FranIAm said...

Hmmm.... I have been so not enthused about him and you of all people, Dean Wormer may be the force that begins to break the ice for me.

Maybe says your favorite neighborhood most pragmatic Catholic!

Maybe.

You present an excellent argument for getting me to change my mind.

Fear not- I don't love Hillary and I would vote for almost anyone to keep McCain out of the White House!!!

Dean Wormer said...

ladybug-

I was really lucky to go. Work's been nuts lately. (I have to go by the office on Easter Sunday night to finish a project for example.) But I've cut a ton of favors for my staff lately so it wasn't too difficult to get them to fill in for me.

franiam-

If you check the Obama stuff in the tag cloud at right you can see by some of my older posts that I'm far from some sort of starry-eyed Obama nut.

In February I accussed him of asshattery. In January I was ripping into his contention that we needed to "save" Social Security and his coddling of homaphobes.

I also said this on 1/9: "To support Obama I'd have to believe that he would act much more progressively than he's currently promising once in office."

That's the part I was wrong about. He IS promising to govern as a progressive.

So it was a long, slow slog coming around to Obama that also included other candidates I wanted more dropping out of the race. Bottom line: I don't expect politicians to be perfect anyway. Maybe that's my Catholic upbringing talking...

Swinebread said...

Bill Richardson is like your favorite goofy uncle that shows up late, but not too late to parties

Randal Graves said...

Look at all those cultists under the sway of the Obama mind meld. ;-)

What I want either of these candidate to talk about is the rollback of all these goddamn signing statements and the dismantling of this unitary executive crap. Once an office has accumulated power, it's very difficult to get rid of it, no matter how well meaning he or she is. No speakers, so I can't hear what he's saying, but what I really want to know is, was there a Greg Oden sighting? I have him on my fantasy team in my keeper league. :)

Dean Wormer said...

Swine-

That is a PERFECT characterization.

Randal-

Ha! Shortly after this we were invited to "catch a comet."

On the signing statements it may be a leap of faith but he mentioned restoring the constitution several times and the fact he taught constitutional law. Really it seems to me that it was up to congress to shove those back in the president's face through the courts but our congress has failled us horribly on that count.

The unitary executive will die with a democratic president. Even if they tried to keep it going the Republicans and their lapdogs in the press will howl bloody murder and kill it.

As for Oden - he'd be great on any fantasy league as long as you keep fantasy him away from playing fantasy Dance, Dance Revolution.

Don Snabulus said...

Obama has gone a long way to counteract the "They are all the same" worry that pervades most people who have paid attention to politics for the last several years.

Whatever he is, he is not the same as the "experienced power mongers" club that Clinton was convinced Obama didn't belong in. (She broke the cardinal rule of party politics: Never throw in with the other side to win a primary. Wrong way to reach across the aisle.)

America and the world have some real problems and I hold out a little hope that a President Obama can face them at least obliquely if not head on. Not so with the other 2 even though even Crazy John McCainiac should be at least a marginal improvement over W.

FranIAm said...

I've got you thinking Dean, you've got me thinking. What a crazy bloggy world we inhabit.

I hear you and I know that you appear to be rather pragmatic.

Which is why I liked reading this.

Recently I had a conversation with a friend of mine who has been talking to me about Obama a lot. She can't understand my reticence.

Then it hit me as we were talking- and I may just have to blog about this.

I left the church from age 14 and returned rather reluctantly at 32. At 50... well, you are the Dean, you can do the math!

That said, my journey of faith, which is on-going, was a long and actually rather pragmatic affair. Still is in some way.

Which reminded me that my journey to Obama may be a microcosm of that same scenario.

Not to confuse him with God, not at all. Just to say that I am a woman who requires a lot of time, reflection, exploration and thought to get to where I am going.

Thanks for this! Glad you liked my post as well. I only speak from where I am at.

Dean Wormer said...

don-

Whatever he is, he is not the same as the "experienced power mongers" club that Clinton was convinced Obama didn't belong in.

I've always considered this argument odd. Not only are those at the highest level of our government with the most "experience" colossal morons, but the voters themselves have rejected the idea that experience counts more than folksy likability in the last two presidential elections.

I'm not sure I agree with you about McCain. He's demonstrated the exact same ignorance of foreign policy that Bush shows during the last few weeks. In fact the whole Shia/Sunni/Iran/al Qaeda flap reminded me of story involving Bush on the eve of the war demonstrating complete ignorance of the fact their were ethnic/ religious divisions within Iraq.

He couldn't be worse than Bush but he could be just as bad.

fran-

Thank you. Please understand I'm really not trying to evangalize for the Church of Obama here. I just thought people who already had decided who to support might be interested in what I saw and what brought me to that place.

One of the great things about Catholicism (I guess I'd still consider myself in this category) is it does tend to produce pragmatic, deliberate and logical people who don't rush into anything. It sounds like that's how you're approaching the election.

Obama said something yesterday that I thought was pretty impressive and meant a lot to me personally. At the end of this speech he said something along the lines of "You know all that stuff I just promised? It won't happen unless you help me after the election. Me and Bill Richardson can't do it ourselves."

Which immediately brought to mind all of the crap a democratic president is going to have to face in the form of an opposition unwilling to compromise and a press that carries that opposition's water. I think Obama gets how big a task he's facing and for all the talk of him being some sort of cult leader I'd say that - at that moment - he was the most pragmatic guy in the room.

Freida Bee said...

Great pictures. I am super-psyched to get a dapper VP with summa facial hair.

Seriously, these are my two favorite likely contenders. Kucinich and Gravel were my two favorite unlikely contenders.

The thing that pushed me over the edge between Clinton and Obama here in TX was seing how excited young people are about Obama. It's a very real excitement and I think we would be doing them a disservice not to elect him as this nation's leader. Really, I think there would be a very strong feeling in our teens that our generation did them wrong not to deliver up something different (and until very recently, I thought it may only be the representation of something different, but that it still mattered, that percetion.)

I think Obama might be feeling more confident and is seeing just how far he can push the change envelope and get away with it. Kucinich started way out there, too out there. I'd like to think that's where Obama would like to go, but has been reserved becuase he understands what it means to be electable. (That is some very non-scientific speculationing.)

Aaron said...

I'm glad you and little Dean were able to attend Obama's rally. I think you can get a better feel for the candidate in person (even in a crowd of thousands) than on TV. I appreciate your impressions. I've been luke warm towards Obama in the past but I'm reasonably comfortable with him as the Democratic nominee. The fact that he has generated so much enthusiasm among young voters (and those too young to vote yet) bodes well for the future. Let's just hope Clinton doesn't do something foolish like take this into court over Michigan and Florida.

Dean Wormer said...

freida-

The thing that pushed me over the edge between Clinton and Obama here in TX was seing how excited young people are about Obama.

When people poo-poo that young people are excited about the Obama candidacy I just have to shake my head. Is everybody too damn old to remember why THEY personally got involved in politics? I bet that at some point some politician inspired them.

I absloutely agree on your other comment that an Obama loss will disillusion a lot of young people as to the importance of the political process. This worries me...

I'd like to think that's where Obama would like to go, but has been reserved becuase he understands what it means to be electable.

As I mentioned I was surprised at how progressive his speech was. Maybe it was tailored to his audience as they tend to be very blue out my way. Still - it was what I wanted to hear.

Aaron-

I agree. What's going to happen in the next month or so has me a bit nervous. They've already blown the Michigan/ Florida thing IMO by giving her supporters the idea those states were really in play when I know Bill and Hillary know better. They might be able to do a 180 on that but it will still leave a bunch of her supporters bitter over what is ultimately a political, not moral issue.

Dr. Zaius said...

Cool! Ack! How did I miss this post?

Dean Wormer said...

I posted it pretty late, zaius. Glad you saw it. I thought you might get a kick out of it.