|August 26, 2008||Absolutly Nothing Could Keep Kennedy Away||no comments|
|August 26, 2008||Hopes and Fears||no comments|
|August 25, 2008||Change in the Making: The DNC Floor Party Begins||2 comments|
|August 25, 2008||Global Warming: Our Biggest Political Failure||1 comments|
|August 25, 2008||Checking In to the Most Secure City in the U.S.||4 comments|
|August 25, 2008||The Campaign IS the Message||2 comments|
|August 22, 2008||Night Life at the DNC: Is Anyone Really Prepared for This Party?||2 comments|
|August 21, 2008||Here's to Hoping….||1 comments|
|August 20, 2008||Have the Polls Really Turned on Obama?||3 comments|
|August 19, 2008||Mile High City a Week Away From World’s Spotlight||1 comments|
DENVER – It’s 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Day two of the Democratic Convention. I awoke with my head in a heavy, scotch-ridden fog that I had received late last evening. Carlos and I had taken to the streets until 3 a.m. looking for some perspective on convention and Obamamania.
Did we get anything good, anything interesting, I asked myself as I scurried over to the bookstore for coffee and web access. With vague memories of the conversations we had last night, I will have to refer to the video Carlos had taken, which will hopefully be posted anytime soon here on this blog. Our late-night experience was definitely a good way to wrap up our day-one madness.
It had been a day of build up. Speeches, upon speeches – some that were really moving and some that were, well, just OK. What Americans don’t get through their TV sets across the country is the feeling, the feeling that something positive and new is in the air. For Carlos and I, that feeling, however you describe it, reached its pinnacle when the ailing Senator Ted Kennedy took the podium. Despite fighting a brain tumor, Kennedy’s speech last night showed us all that he has not lost a political beat. Leading up to his surprise visit, a dramatic and emotional dedication video showed Teddy speaking at podium from what it looked like to me in the early 80s. Fist pounding, strong words and climaxing oratory, the Teddy of the past could certainly fire up a political crowd. What we found out 10 minutes later when he took the stage is that he still holds the power. He is still a Kennedy and still a Democrat.
“Nothing…Nothing is going to keep me away from this gathering tonight,” he said to the wave of cheering blue in front of him. It was the loudest the arena had been all day and all night. “I pledge to you that I will be there next January on the floor at the United States Senate.” He looked and sounded as remarkable as he had ever been.
Carlos and I agreed after we left the Pepsi Center for the night that Michelle Obama’s speech was really good in a down-to-earth way but last night’s show as all Teddy. Camelot is back for the Democrats, in fact, it never really left.
Still reeling from the overwhelming and very emotional speech by we made it back to the Sugar Cube Building for refreshments and time to clear our heads before we made our next move.
After friendly conversation with our neighbor and a menacing bomb threat, the three of us headed on over to the Wazee Supper Club for a pizza. We were seated next to three Fox News reporters from Arizona who had a rough day.
“We have to walk with all this equipment way too far to get into the convention,” the stressed reporter said, “The setup is terrible. There should be a system to let our truck in and drop off our equipment.” I asked the men, after their tensions cooled (we were all treated to an “Obamanator” beer, which is brewed locally at the Wynkoop Brewery) if Obama has a chance at winning in McCain’s state of Arizona.
“People there want a change there too,” the cameraman said. “Like Colorado, it is a purple state. Arizona could become blue.”
“I bet McCain wins Arizona in November but the margin of his win won’t be over two or three percentage points,” the other man said. What I really wanted to ask them all was their definition of their employer’s slogan “Fair and Balanced” really is? With the advice of Anne, I tabled the question for a later date.
As I reflect on our first day experience here at the DNC, I think we were witness to what everybody loves about politics and that is the oratory festival that is the convention. We certainly saw it in Kennedy’s surprise visit. Michelle Obama’s “Tide of Hope” speech was in every way better than anything that has or will come out of Cindy McCain’s mouth. Carlos made an excellent point and had a great idea as we left the arena that evening that a first lady debate should also be held. I’m not sure Cindy would show up. Monday’s spectacle was just the beginning. Tonight, Hillary is to speak and heal those who gave her everything they had in her campaign. She has quite the task ahead of them.
And then, later in the week President Bill Clinton will take the podium where it is rumored that he will unleash the dogs and really get after McCain. I can’t wait.
This convention has been one of mixed emotions. Everyone seems to have taken in the historical significance of this next week. There are the most elevating moments of optimism and daunting displays of cynicism.
Such contradictions are intrinsic to a character like Barack Obama. As Senator Ted Kennedy walked onto the stage last night to a standing ovation and wave of blue “Kennedy” signs, I can’t describe the buzz in that arena fairly. To me, it represented the final link from Kennedy to Obama, over 40 years in the making.
“We can meet these challenges with Barack Obama,” the 76-year old senator declared to the Pepsi Center crowd, exultantly chanting “KEN-NE-DY.” “Yes we can, and finally, yes we will.”
It was easily the most emotionally charged moment of the night. A Kennedy, recently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, who has carried his brothers’ legacy for over four decades, at last able to pass on the burden of carrying the message of hope.
“And this November the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans,” he said, “and so with Barack Obama and for you and for me, our country will be committed to his cause. The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on.”
After Kennedy, from our nosebleed seats, Gus and I discussed whether Kennedy had stolen the show. I can speak to the excitement in that room as something similar to being live at a professional sporting event. You’re involved, and when a star like Kennedy takes the stage, you’re enveloped by the excitement. It instills passions and feelings in you that can’t be replicated in any other setting.
This sense has spread throughout Denver. Late last night, Gus and I decided to wander the 16th Street Mall with my video camera to try and capture some of the late-night buzz. We spoke to bums and delegates, and across the board, these people had been taken in by this sensation of optimism and hope.
But with the Kennedys’ heritage of hope also comes their legacy of tragedy. Two kids ran past Gus and me last night, and in a passing moment Gus asked them what they thought of Obama. They kept running, calling back, “I hate him. And you know why? He’s just gonna get sniped in two years anyway, idiot.”
It’s the tragic opposite of hope, and it’s very real. Last night, after coming back from the convention, Gus, Anne and I were sitting out on our balcony overlooking the corner of 16th and Blake. Flashing police lights and a barking dog had been carrying on without our noticing. After a while our neighbor came out to join us.
“It’s a bomb threat,” he said pointing down to the street. Three or four police cars had marked off a perimeter, with a huge Boulder County Bomb Squad truck on the side of the street. The dog was searching for explosives.
Anne and I went down to the street to snap some photos. Eventually the scene cleared, and the police cars pulled away. Meanwhile, my dad was relaying an article on cbs4denver.com to Gus about a foiled attempt by four men to snipe Obama during his speech Thursday at Invesco. For whatever reason the story hasn’t blown up yet.
Most people here are too excited by the spirit of hope to worry too much about any impending danger. Or maybe they’re just all too aware of the danger that lingers in every second of this campaign. Maybe it’s just too much to worry about one foiled attempt to destroy the hope they’ve waited so long to feel again.
DENVER – After a seemingly painless entry through security and into the Pepsi Center perimeter, we finally made it into our bird’s-eye view press section. The arena started to fill with delegates as we sat down and waited for Howard Dean’s call to order.
And what a transfiguration the floor of the Pepsi Center has taken to host the DNC.
Our designated press seats are high, almost behind the podium – directly behind the 70s sounding-funk band. The arena wasn’t yet full, I knew that was going to happen closer to 7 p.m. when the big names of Jesse Jackson, Jr., Caroline Kennedy and finally Michelle Obama take the podium.
I decided to test my press credentials and made my way down onto the floor. The show, believe me, is much better on the floor. Wilma Silver, a delegate from Pompano Beach, Fla., and clad in a silky-pink-flowery ensemble couldn’t contain her enthusiasm when I approached her for an interview.
“I am from the great state of Florida and we are very, very much for Obama,” she said, distracted by the mini beach balls flying over the Florida delegation. We know he can change this country.”
Going into this, I hadn’t yet got my mind around Joe Biden being selected to run as Barack’s Vice President. I figured she knew.
“And Biden?” I said.
“I was absolutely crazy about Hillary until I talked to my son,” Silver said as the beach party Florida-style continued. “He is so thrilled that Biden was selected and so am I. Biden is a true statesman and can stand up to any Republican that takes him on. They really can change.”
Without any further questions, not wanting to keep her from the party, I moved on for a better perspective of this change everyone is talking about. Besides the Florida delegation, Colorado seemed to be the next popular place to be both for the media and dancing.
I was able to get a hold of Stan Matsunaka, the former Democratic member of the Colorado State Senate, serving until 2003. I asked him what Obama’s “change” campaign was all about.
“This is really a ground-breaking campaign,” Matsunaka, a Loveland resident, said. “When Barack Obama is nominated on Thursday, he will be the first African-American to do so. It’s really ground-breaking and I am excited.
Matsunaka is a Japanese-American native of Colorado. He grew up on rural eastern Colorado near Fort Morgan and is, like me, proud to be a CSU ram.
“Barack brings a lot of new people to the campaign, really energetic folks,” he continued. “I was president of the Colorado Senate and I have never seen this kind of a campaign … ever.”
Matsunaka is no stranger to the political world as he lost to Republican Marilyn Musgrave for the 4th District of Colorado in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 and 2004. Clearly, he is ready for change.
I took another quick lap around the floor before my hour floor pass time expired. As I passed the CNN broadcast platform, I almost couldn’t hold back a loud “Go Vols” to James Carville who I know to be a serious fan of LSU football and of SEC football in general. Clearly he was concentrating on his task at hand and didn’t need any guff from a Tennessee fan.
On past the CBS platform and the glamorous Katie Couric, who was also reporting in the big lights. Finally, I ran into Steve VanVoorhees, a Virginia delegate who said he is having a great time in Denver. I asked him what the viewpoint is coming from Virginia as many of the Western States, including Colorado, have been a focal point of this election. VanVoorhees said he is looking at the big picture.
“You know, Barack got 80 percent of the voters in Virginia,” he said. “For me, I want a change in the political system. I want new policies, that’s really the biggie for me. Our standing in the world has changed and we have lost a lot of credibility in the past leadership. We need to get that respect that we used to have.”
“Can Barack do that?” I asked.
LODO – “This is in every way a political issue,” said Chuck Kutscher, principal engineer and manager of the Thermal Systems Group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden.
In an steamy white tent on Wynkoop Street, blocks away from the Pepsi Center, four authors and experts on climate change agreed in a discussion titled “Now or Never – Climate Solutions” that global warming is the largest political failure of our time.
“We have solutions, it’s just a matter of coming up with the political will to do these things,” Kutcher said.
Monday’s midday discussion had nothing to do with whether or not global warming is real or not, rather it was about finding the way to institute effective environmental legislature that liberals, conservatives, Democrats, and Republicans can agree on. The problem now is not lack of technology, it’s a reluctance to do anything about it.
“It’s the largest political failure in history,” David Orr, author and named “environmentalist Hero for 2004” by Interiors & Sources Magazine. “Here we are, outside the Democratic National Convention. This is not just a Democrat issue. It is not just a republican issue. It transcends all party affiliations. How do we arrest this before it goes beyond the point of catastrophe?”
Randy Hayes, the climate policy officer at the World Future Council agreed that the political time for change in now.
“The moment of the great ecological u-turn for us is now,” Hayes said. “We can’t have incrimentalism now, we have no time to lose. We have to hit the ground running with new policies.”
Hayes added that a model for our country’s environmental policies and goals is already out there. The German Renewable Energy “is proven to add more megawatts into the grid” putting “power literally in the hands of the people.”
“We don’t want to be the lap dogs of big industry any more,” he said.
Environmental activist, Hollywood actress and part-time Tellurider Daryl Hannah was also on hand Monday in support of environmental policy change.
“All of our problems we face can be dealt with the existing technologies we already have,” she said. “The people are ready.”
Indeed, the people may be ready to confront global warming or “planetary destabilization” as Orr put it, but are the politicians, in particular the presidential candidates ready? We shall see.
LODO – “You’re going to age 20 years in the next four days”
That was the conversation I overheard late last night between two suited security employees of a swanky 16th Street Mall hotel. From the looks of it, the two had escorted the man from the hotel’s premises for reasons I don’t know. He simply didn’t belong there. The man had obviously been talking about the arrival of the DNC the mob scene that comes with it.
Almost eight hours earlier Carlos, Anne and I had arrived at the same hotel to pick up our press credentials – a task that went all too smoothly. In the massive subterranean ball-room system that lies beneath the hotel, well-dressed people from all parts of the country gathered to sign in as either a delegate or as a member of the press corps. The three of us found our designated room for our credentials.
“They are ready for you,” the man said while guarding the windowless room. I entered leaving Anne and Carlos behind. Apparently they only wanted me, their point of contact.
“Take a seat and relax,” one of the two men who sat behind a long desk. Both were wearing tweed. I had wondered how tight security was going to be. Apparently from the looks of it, they were certainly going to make sure I wasn’t a threat.
“Telluride Watch huh?” The man on the left said. As I found out later, I wasn’t the only one nervous about my inquisition at the time. Both Anne and Carlos had watched me go into the drab room to take a seat in front of the two officials.
“What are they asking him?” Anne said to Carlos. “It looks rough in there.” Neither could relax as they were sure they were next to be questioned. Security must be tight and we must be on our toes. My inquisition continued.
“How was the drive over?” The man on the right said.
“Good,” I answered. “Took a while, but we made it. How are things going here?” I tried to ease their tensions by striking a conversation. Maybe they will like me.
“Oh things are going well, pretty quiet really,” he answered. I looked around. I was the only one in the room despite several other inquisition stations that had been set up. “This is all very exciting isn’t it?” Apparently the two men weren’t after me at all. They were simply being friendly.
After some good chatter and a few signatures later, the passes were issued and an all-too friendly fashion. No problem. Either they really liked me, or handing out passes simply wasn’t that big of a deal. I triumphantly left the room, passes in hand. Carlos and Anne both showed relief in that the conversation was kept friendly with the DNC press officials and that they didn’t have to go in and speak with them. Our view of the security situation suddenly changed when we made it outside.
The 16th Street Mall was as crowded as I ever seen – especially at 3:30 on a Sunday afternoon. What became very apparent as we entered the scene is that the Denver Police is taking security very, very seriously. In the period of about five minutes we had witnessed a large pack of armored patrolmen, complete with helmets, visors, BP vests, clubs, and a large quantity of blue zip-tie handcuffs, march past us. Then, to our right, eight mounties marched by. A white rental van pulled up and eight more troops came out of the sliding door – all equipped with the same riot gear.
They were surrounding us at all angles and I wondered if something was already wrong. As I soon found out, the scene we had just witnessed was the scene at every corner of the 16th Street Mall. Hell, a riot tank with six patrolmen surrounding it was parked at one corner.
Passes in hand, we made it further north to the Sugar Cube Building – the place we would be staying for the next four evenings during the convention, courtesy of Telluride local Grant McCargo, whose company developed it. Thanks Grant!
The Sugar Cube couldn’t be better situated for visitors looking to catch a Rockies game or a night out on the town. We sat, planning our week ahead, on the balcony of our unit watching the many, many flight patterns of what I think are National Guard helicopters. I certainly felt secure…almost to the point where it was scaring me.
“Is this a glimpse into the future,” I wondered. When you bring this many different people into one area, the security is a must but is this what national security is really coming to? Foot patrols at every street corner?
We later made it out onto the street for more people watching. Downtown Denver, as any large urban area, attracts people from every walk of life. Put on top one huge political festival (in Telluride terms) you add even more diversity. Anti war protesters, young Democrats, uncoordinated buskers, panhandlers, dopers, off-duty cops, and well-suited businessmen and women all crowded the streets. Obama supporters. McCain Supporters. Anne and I were taken back when an oversized, jacked-up 4X4 truck cruised by with “NoBama” written on the tailgate. On the sides it read, “Obama cannot save America’s soul. Only God can.” Out of the window two young, 9 and 10-year-old kids waved as if they were in the 4th of July Parade.
“Jeez,” Anne said. “They are starting them young.” The truck was a harsh reminder to us all that Obama’s campaign of hope and change is certainly has a battle ahead of it. With that, as I finish this tirade on Monday morning in the café portion of the Tattered Cover Bookstore, I look forward to three hours from now when the political oratory begins at the Pepsi Center. Whatever is said, it must strengthen this campaign. After all, God, isn’t running against Obama, John McCain is. I think we have all seen in the past what people will do, democratically or not, to win.
This past spring, I read an article in the March 20th addition of Rolling Stone for a paper that I was writing about Barack Obama as the hero of American politics. The cover of the magazine showed Barack in a sort of supernatural portrait against a bright, almost holy, cloudy background, with a headline that read “Barack Obama: A New Hope” followed by, “Exclusive: inside his people-powered revolution.”
The article, “A Machinery of Hope” by Tim Dickinson, offered a comprehensive account of Obama’s unprecedented commitment to grass-roots campaigning. It opens with a brief account of Adam Ukman, a campaign organizer who has helped Obama to victories in both the Iowa and Utah primaries.
“Our job is not to run in here to tell you how it’s going to be,” Ukman said to a group of campaign volunteers in San Marcos, Texas. “This is your campaign. Not our campaign” (qtd. in “Machinery”, 36). Democrats have heard that it was “their” campaign in previous elections, but this time Obama is literally handing them the reigns, as David Axelrod, Obama’s chief campaign strategist explained:
"When we started this race, Barack told us that he wanted the campaign to be a vehicle for involving people and giving them a stake in the kind of organizing he believed in. He is still the same guy who came to Chicago as a community organizer twenty-three years ago. The idea that we can organize together to improve our country – I mean, he really believes that." (qtd. in “Machinery”, 38).
In the time that has since passed, Obama has secured the Democratic nomination, and he has not faltered in his promise to run a campaign of the people. In an email about a week ago, the Obama campaign wrote that they would send a text message to announce the VP pick. Unfortunately I deleted the email, but again, the gist came back to the people. “This is your campaign, you’ve worked for it, you deserve to know first…” something like that. It is this sense of involvement that Barack offers that I am so drawn to. He has stirred something among America’s youth that really hasn’t been seen from a Democrat since the Kennedys. As I wrote in my last entry, my fundamental faith in democracy lies in the people, and that is a sentiment that Obama has clued into.
But the true brilliance of Obama’s campaign lies in his strategy of involvement, and this is how he has so successfully glued himself to the youth. When I learned of the VP pick, I simply turned on my new 3G iPhone, ran a quick email check, and boom: “Carlos – I have some important news that I want to make official. I’ve chosen Joe Biden to be my running mate.”
This unwavering faith in the general public has changed the face of politics. Those who assail Obama’s campaign as empty promises of change need look no further than the current success of his campaign, which has brought a very real change to the political sphere, leaving old politics behind. “We’re seeing the last time a top-down campaign has a chance to win it,” said Joe Trippi, the mastermind behind Howard Dean’s 2004 Internet campaign. “There won’t be another campaign that makes the same mistakes the Clintons made of being dependent on big donors and insiders. It’s not going to work ever again” (qtd. in “Machine”, 42).
Combining the modern networking capabilities of the Internet and cell phones, with a loyal belief in everyday Americans, Obama has created a political climate in which the individual can get involved, and they have. “That’s the magic of what they’ve done,” explained Simon Rosenberg, president of New Democrat Network, a political group that supports progressive Democratic candidates. “They’ve married the incredibly powerful online community they built with real on-the-ground field operations. We’ve never seen anything like this before in American political history” (qtd. in “Machinery”, 37). Dickinson explains that this marriage “has shattered the top-down, command-and-control, broadcast-TV model that has dominated American politics since the early 1960s” (“Machinery”, 37).
Attributing Obama’s success to a “stylish appearance” and a “flattering” of the youth is selling his achievements short. He has built his campaign around promises of change from the status quo – the divisiveness and ineffectiveness of partisan politics, big money campaigning – the politics of cynicism. Through his campaign he has looked to the people to help introduce a new brand of politics, a politics of hope, a grass-roots politics that asks every American to work for change.
(Three Days Until Convention)
TELLURIDE – The political epicenter of Senator Barack Obama’s campaign is taking on the great city of Denver. For those of us who have lived in Colorado, or even the West, for that matter, hosting the Democratic National Convention in Denver will be an unparalleled addition to its rich history – no matter what the outcome. Speeches will be delivered in Denver that could be historic. For that, I think, we are all somewhat prepared. What we may not be prepared for is the gigantic five-ring circus of a party that will be taking over the Mile High City.
Naturally, of course, I am excited to observe this aspect of spectacle as well. I have always felt at home in the downtown/LoDo bar scene. I was lucky enough to have the keys to a high-rise studio my parents bought while I was serving my time at the University of Northern Colorado and Denver became a regular sanctuary – for study or play.
The nightlife in Denver, as in most metropolitan cities, is as diverse and vibrant as you want to make it. The regular every day Joe in his cheap business suit will find solace in places like the ESPN Zone, The Cheesecake Factory and the Hard Rock Café.
Others may choose a less corporate scene like Josephine’s on Larimer or the Irish favorite, Duffy’s, which lies in the shadow of Denver’s World Trade Center building, just off the 16th Street Mall. For me, it’s the Paramount Café that does it. Yes, the beers are overpriced but they are also oversized and certainly cold. Plus they have Heineken on tap, which served with a heavy dose of 16th Street people watching, can make for an evening of pure relaxation and enjoyment.
From the sports bars that line Blake Street to the hipster jazz clubs further east, Denver has a place for everyone to rest their weary mind with an ice-cold brew, purple martini or sweet-vermouth Manhattan.
What will the thousands of the attending liberal political poll cats will do when they flood into the sunny city next week? My guess is these people will, in all ways, know how to party. The various caucus meetings being held throughout the days at the Pepsi Center, the Denver Convention Center and other venues will certainly generate a serious thirst that evening.
It’s also my guess that when the sun goes down and the bars fill, the real politicking beings. Drinks served. Deals made. The mouths will certainly be running, and I, for one, hope I am up to speed and will be able to keep up with these people. The experience will certainly bring a perspective – one that I hope I find agreeable.
I will not fulfill my duty as an objective reporter at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Denver. I go as an observer, as an American, like so many Americans throughout the country, who has been inspired and encouraged by Barack Obama's platform of hope. I am aware of the dangers that lay in such a platform; a presidential candidacy cannot be built solely atop a noun, just as a war cannot be fought against a noun.
But let us not discredit Obama's call to the audacity of hope. In his candidacy thus far, he has made American politics better. He has restored a sense of involvement and excitement that for many, Democrats especially, was lost in politics on the morning of June 5, 1968, with the assassination of Robert Kennedy. Obama's candidacy has already extended past our shores. In Berlin, he stood before the biggest crowd of his entire campaign, not far from where the Berlin wall once divided a city. "The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand," he said. "The walls between races and tribes, natives and immigrants, Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand."
We live in an age of separation, an era of walls. And in such a time, hope, though only a noun, is a very powerful one. Hope has inspired more Americans to vote in the Democratic primaries than ever before, it has already begun the not-so-long-ago futile task of tearing down walls – between nations, religions, parties and people. It is my own sense of hope that draws me to this Convention. My hope for the audacity of hope.
McCain has zeroed in on Obama's celebrity, equating him with America's most superficial tastes and interests. But isn't that what we need in American politics? A candidate who can mobilize the masses into political action and interest? Our founding notion of democracy depends on such involvement from the people. Politics have reached an age of public un-involvement, and it has failed us. The public majority has disowned our most recent administration, with a simple disclaimer: "We didn't vote for him." But that is at the very core of a democracy. In principle, this is a government by and for the people. We sacrifice that privilege by not going to the polls, but more importantly we fail democracy, we fail this country's founding doctrine.
Honestly, I don't fault the American public. I acknowledge the seeming futility of mounting any sort of excitement for any politician in my lifetime thus far. For decades, far too many Americans have sat at home, frustrated, or unable or unwilling to choose between two, white-haired, white-skinned, talking heads. And I can't blame any one of them.
This is at the crux of Barack's call to the audacity of hope; an audacity of restored faith in American politics; a celebrity, that however superficial, is paramount to the success of our political system: public involvement. A candidate that is truly, we hope, for and by the people. That said, over this coming week, Obama will officially receive the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Only time will tell, whether this celebrity is worthy of our hope.
(Four Days Until Convention)
TELLURIDE – Has John McCain’s never-ending bashing of Barack Obama worked? Really? The pasty, old, waxy-looking Republican candidate has not shared any leadership ideas with the nation lately, just Obama bashing. And if today’s headlines read true, it is working.
According to a Reuters/Zogby poll released today, McCain has taken a five point lead against Obama, 46 percent to 41 percent. It’s McCain’s first lead in that monthly poll since the race began. Those of us who have been following the daily poll headlines have been enjoying the lead Obama has had over McCain since the two grabbed their respective party’s nominations. But now, with four days left until the start of the DNC in Denver, Obama finds himself trailing, in this one poll, at least. (Others show Obama’s lead as holding steady.)
As this election year began to steamroll ahead while the country continues to go down the path of the worst Republican leadership since Richard Nixon (or maybe worse?), I thought that this year’s efforts to get a Democrat into the White House was an absolute shoo-in. No sweat, I thought.
How can the good people of this nation let another greedy Republican win another election? It simply won’t happen, was my answer. It can’t.
Well, today’s polling news has me worried. Is it really this close? How can it be that close? Are people really that wretched to vote for McCain? Well, some of the national pollsters are saying that the good people of this country want a president who will be a good manager of our country’s economy. Nearly half of voters said that the economy their top concern and recent polls are now reflecting that McCain is the better manager of our economy.
I am no economist and I tend to look the bigger picture, but I have news for you. You can’t manage and economy if the economy is already broke…and this is something John McCain has no experience with.
Sure, he may be able to manage the equity of his 10 houses or the large sum of money his wife brings in every day, but can he manage a country that is broke? And if he can manage an economy so well, why is the country currently broke? You would think he could give some of his sound advice to his Texas buddy who is currently steering this economy down and into the pits of hell.
So what is it about Obama that has me so enthused to vote for him on Nov. 4? For one, it has been eight long years of eternity that our president and vice president have done nothing more than look out for large corporations and their ever-growing tax breaks. At least by voting for Obama, there is a chance that he may not do it. I know what McCain will do. He has been a leader too long, doing too many things that fistfuls of dollars have told him to do.
By the way, did anyone see McCain’s answer to Rick Warren’s question of what “number” McCain believes is the definition of rich is? $5 million, he said. Really, that answer alone showed me that he is so out of tune with the citizens of this country. I wonder what his definition of poor is? $100,000? $50,000? Give me a break people, this is the guy that wants to manage our economy! He doesn’t even know what a working family makes in a year. This the kind of leader these polls have suddenly said is leading the race for the White house? Shit. We are doomed.
The big question about possible vice presidential candidates, especially Obama’s, is soon to be answered. A secret source told an AP reporter earlier today that Obama will be campaigning with his VP selection on Saturday in Springfield, Ill. The experts are telling us all that possibilities remain Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. My take? At this point I don’t care who they are or really what they stand for…they must, however, springboard Obama into the White House and find a way to win.
Me being a sporting type of guy, when I am clueless as to who I think will win, I head strait to the Vegas sports book for answers. According to one bookie, Biden has 13/5 odds, Sebelius has 6/4 odds, Bayh and Kaine are both set at 6/1 odds. Hillary is still in the game with 9/1 odds and Ron Paul isn’t in the game but has odds set at 419/1.
Many people, including myself, would like to see General Wesley Clark be the next Democratic Vice President. He sits at 12/1 odds in Vegas. But who knows at this point who Obama will select? Maybe he has a magic rabbit in his hat and will surprise us all.
If I had to gamble my life’s savings, which isn’t much, I would have to go with Kaine – only because he seems to fit the Obama campaign’s “time for a change” profile so well. Unfortunately, if Kaine is ultimately selected, he will be more fodder for the Republicans and their inexperience talk express.
Regardless, I hope, whoever is selected in the next few days or hours will be working on getting this nation together at next week’s convention. Hopes, dreams and good money are all riding on this selection at this point. Everybody now knows that the Democrats aren’t going to run away with this election and the VP candidate will be the next step in proving to the country that victory is not only possible, but a guarantee this November.
By Gus Jarvis
TELLURIDE – With less than a week to go, the countdown to Barack Obama and the Democratic National Convention in Denver has begun. Rather, it began quite some time ago, even years ago for some, but for me, there are simply days left before the spotlight shines on Denver and covering this massive event has started to weigh on me.
How do Carlos, Anne and I cover the most important and exciting convention we will probably ever experience. How do we cover it in a way our readers will find different than what will already be inundated in their heads by every television news organization? What can I write that isn’t already being said by the heads on CNN, NBC and The Daily Show? Sitting at my desk in Telluride right now, six days away from the start of the convention, I have no clue what it will be like and what we will experience. What I do know is that this certain spectacle will alter our thoughts, mentality and physical well-being and we will be there to report, of course, as professionals.
Carlos and I have been issued hall press credentials while Anne will be our acting base with her parameter pass where the regulars of the U.S. and world press corps will be filing its many, many stories throughout four-day event. I had no certainty of getting the passes when I applied for them several months ago but was somewhat surprised to find that we had been accepted. The Watch will be rubbing elbows with the pros of the national press.
Given the circumstances of the current race for the President of the United States of America, I certainly support Obama. He is the last hope to end a seemingly dark, dark period of American history. That is the fact of the matter. But I haven’t always felt that way.
My political season started off at our local Democratic and Republican caucuses here in San Miguel County last February. I remember it was one of those heavy snow nights in Telluride where it was a pain in the ass to go out because of the slick and treacherous roads. This did not stop the Obama faithful from coming out in droves to the various caucus precincts in town.
I showed up in support of Sen. Hillary Clinton. I should have known my candidate was in trouble that night when an Obama supporter excitedly told me that my precinct caucus had been moved to a larger room because the turnout was so great. Voter turnout great? At a caucus?
“Mmm,” I thought. “The Democrats in this have really had enough of bullshit Republican leadership. Everyone and their grandma are going to turn out and vote this year for a Democrat. There will be nothing to stop us now.” I followed the direction of the gleeful volunteer.
When I finally made it into the precinct above the fire station, the room had already been packed like a can of sardines and divided into good and evil. Of course, I took a seat on the evil side with just three other Clinton supporters – all middle-aged women. There I sat, facing every well-known citizen, environmentalist, butcher, mechanic, teacher, bus driver, government official, and street musician who were looking at me like I had just committed a cardinal sin.
“Join us!” They jeered. “We can’t be stopped! Come on over. Obama is change!”
The two or three who hadn’t yet decided looked at the Clinton side and then looked back to the Obama side and finally went over with the mass encouragement.
Instead of making any last-minute decisions, I made my vote count for the Clinton side and immediately and quietly slipped out the side door into the frigid Telluride night.
“Gimme a Bud,” I said the man behind the bar in a pub that was just a few steps away from the caucus. Ski season was in full swing but there seemed to be nobody drinking on that particular Tuesday evening. As I sat there nursing the beer, I wondered exactly what it was about Obama that made him so popular. How could a junior Senator from Illinois get so many people to take that leap of faith and support his candidacy?
I supported Clinton for her experience and brilliance and still do. Obama’s experience was the big question mark in my mind and yet so many others across the country and the world have answered it themselves.
Now, seven months later, I will be going to the heart of the Democratic Party with that same question – unanswered – in my mind. I know he can talk the talk, but can he walk the talk he has so successfully given us? The world is watching this convention to answer this question as well. We are taking a risk by supporting such a candidate.
Not that the risk for voting for Obama is anything like the risk of voting for John McCain. We know what he will do and how he will rule the roost. He may say different, but we certainly know how he acts. Voting for what McCain says he will do is an even bigger leap of faith, one that I believe is futile.
The DNC will be all about easing not only apprehensions of Obama’s leadership ability but the lingering question of can he win on Nov. 4. Even those who have wholeheartedly given themselves to the election of Obama have some questions looming in their heads.
The best of the best of the Democrat world will be in Denver next week to display their best oratory and persuasive skills. Michelle Obama. Hillary and her sidekick Bill. The vice presidential nominee, who will be announced via text any day now. Bruce Springsteen. And finally, Barack Thursday. They will all be there to show us that a change for the better is in the air and that it will happen. It will be the show, to show America that the Democrats can and will win this November.
What a scene it will be.