Seattle Travel Blog› entry 20 of 33 › view all entries
February 8th, 2008 – by: Adrian_Liston
Today I went really early to Key Arena with Luke to line up for Obama. The public transport system was chaos with 21 000 people, even hours before and hours after bus after bus was packed full. I couldn't believe the security around the event - they told people no backpacks, but didn't bother to search anyone (and everyone was wearing heavy coats) or even have a metal detector. Considering we sat there for hours until he turned up they had plenty of time to do decent security checks on the way in. Fine in Seattle, but I hope he gets better security in other parts of America.
It is a good crowd for Obama, he has huge support among young professionals who are the most likely to turn out for events (and to caucus for that matter - Hillary's support among the middle and lower class workers does not translate as well at caucuses). From the support for Obama today and the Seattle demographics this state is a sure thing for Obama tomorrow. It is so easy to feel good about Obama's candidacy, he has overcome so many odds to get where he is, but doesn't seem bitter at all about his life experiences.
So Obama was a great speaker. He talked about the excitement of voting without George W. Bush being on the ballot, he talked about how awful it was watching his mother die of cancer while having to struggle through the insurance forms. He said he would fix health care within his first term of office, and end the war in Iraq in 2009. He was happy to directly attack the judgement of John McCain, and said he wanted to work to secure nuclear weapons and start to talk to America's enemies. He noted that despite Bush's policy, millions of children had been left behind, and that was unacceptable in America. He said he would close Gitmo, guaranteeing a fair trial, and he would ban torture. Hardly revolutionary stuff at any other time in American history, but today it was greeted by wild applause.
A girl in the crowd at the front fainted and he threw her his water bottle and sent security down there to help get her out of the crowd. He addressed his weaknesses, said some people are surprised that he is going for the job so young, why doesn't he go and get experience in Washington DC and have the hope baked out of him. His answer was that America needs him now, and not in twenty years time. He said that some people thought hope and inspiration were great, but not enough. He answered that hope was not blind optimism, and he understood how hard it was but the vision was essential if he was to move there. He kept on reiterating that he was against the war from the start, and stated that America needs to regain its moral position in the world.
Overall I was fairly impressed.
I'm not really convinced that Obama is a better candidate that Hillary. Hillary has far more policy detail, while Obama is better at conveying inspiration over his goals, but essentially on policy points they are identical. In terms of symbolism, both Obama and Hillary are ground breaking, Obama being the first to have a chance to break through institutional racism in this country, Hillary succeeding against the less vicious but more persuasive sexism that is alive and well in the form of promoting "traditional families". At the moment they are neck and neck in the primaries, I think Hillary has the advantage of greater name recognition, but Obama has the advantage that his core demographic are far more likely to be politically active enough to vote in the primaries than Hillary's core demographic is.
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