Saturday, February 09, 2008

Gt Fired Up - A Rally Tale

Yesterday, I met up with friends Julie and Krista and, lattes in hand, we walked down to the Key Arena for the Obama rally. Doors were supposed to open at 11, so we timed our arrival for 10, hopefully early enough to get a decent spot on line, but not so early as to wait hours in the cold and rain. The line that we could see stretched around at least a building, maybe a whole city block? There appeared to be a lot of students; I was placing the average age to be about 21. Other than the youthful skew, it appeared to be a diverse group.

A little after 10:30 the line started moving and we were actually seated by 11. Every now and then they'd show a campaign video on the big screen center court, but otherwise music was playing. We wondered a bit at the selection; is Obama a country music fan? Does someone think that we are? Who picks this music, anyway?

Around noon or so, people in suits came out and started passing out signs. The first ones were for Chris Gregoire (the Governor who is facing a tough re-election fight this year) who was rumored to have just given her endorsement to Obama. Then came a few "hand made" signs. Then the Obama signs, which is what everyone was waiting for. I actually saw people climbing over each other (practically tackling) to get these. We then saw people actually get on the stage. Finally! And the local campaign directors did a Q&A about what is a caucus and when is a caucus, and then the left to be replaced by the worst speaker ever who talked about how he wrote a song that was turned into a video. He spoke longer about the lyrics than the actual video which was finally shown. Then they left the stage and the same music loop returned. The crowd, which was incredibly keyed up, was ready to cheer or boo just about anyone. There were two teenage boys who were practicing dance moves on the floor who got the biggest cheers of the morning.

We were coming upon 1 pm and were wondering if we'd ever see our candidate when Mayor Greg Nickels came on the stage to boos from the crowd. Nickels is a pretty popular guy, so I was pretty appalled that folks would let their desire for Obama (and probable crankiness of having waited for many many hours, probably without food or water) be directed at our mayor. But he spoke, not too badly, introduced the state's campaign director (Rep. Adam Smith), who spoke, and then introduced the newest member of Washington's Obama Team. Governor Gregoire then came out to cheers from the crowd and gave a pretty inspiring speech about Washington and how Obama with remember us ("when he gets on the plane and realizes that this was made here, when he checks his email the system is from here, when he eats dinner and the potatoes and produce and fine wines are from here, when he gets up in the morning and has a cup of coffee,..."), you can figure out the rest.

Finally, Gregoire introduced The Man and he came on stage to speak. Unfortunately, the acoustics in the Key are horrible and I couldn't understand everything he had to say. What I did hear, however, I really liked, and, apparently, so did everyone else. It's funny how certain points didn't get much crowd support (outsourcing jobs overseas, stuff about working wages for manufacturing), while others (climate change) got huge support - Obama's Seattle supporters have different priorities than those in South Carolina.

Anyway (since it's been almost a week since I started this post), he was pretty amazing. More about the next day's caucus soon...


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