Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Comments from three friends

Some comments from three friends:
1) From a friend in Dallas:
Just came from Sen. Obama's rally in Dallas...pretty amazing experience.....Had to be 17,000 people in there plus hundreds outside who couldn't get in.  An amazing number of young people (saw some school buses outside where local high schools allowed their kids off campus to attend) and the diversity of the crowd was probably most inspiring.  I really do think he could do well here...he will definitely do well in Texas' major cities.
2) From a friend in Houston:
Houston reporting.

The capacity crowd of 19,000 rocked the Toyota Center with thunderous applause when Obama finally appeared.More than the Rockets get -- basketball, not NASA. Though tickets were free, demand outstripped supply so they were offered for $75 on Craig's list.

Obama spoke off the cuff w/out a TelePrompTer. Gave a rousing speech that lasted 45 minutes or so. We had binoculars. He looks terrific. Lean, young, great smile, confident, poised, funny, and of course a great speaker.

He said. "when I am commander in chief......and "when we move into the White House. We ate it up.

Two lines -- confirmed etkt and standby -- snaked around the arena. One easily could have printed a ticket for a friend. Our line moved very quickly.

The only problem was filling in the time from when the doors opened to when OB arrived, 2 1/2 hours later. They needed Bob Dole or Henny Youngman cracking jokes. The corny "Yes we can" chants got old FAST. The band was OK, but I would have preferred a string quartet. Everyone was bedimming restless when he finally arrived.

But all was forgiven. We we all in good moods and just wanted to see OB.

The crowd was very mixed. Young, older, black, Hispanic, white. An excellent cross section of this sprawling diverse town. More young than old.

He ended with this, then shook hands w/ throngs of people sitting in the first row:

"We will win this nomination. We will win the general election. You and I together will change this country and change the world. Thank you, Houston, I love you."
3) Comments from friend #3:

Spot on comments regarding Clinton.  As always, follow the money.  It seemed increasingly clear that it might all be over when, following Super Tuesday, Obama collected $7.2M in 36 hours while Hillary had to lend herself $5M.  Though the votes indicated a tie, the money indicated Obama had broken through.

As for the Dole comparison, it could be true, but analytically is way off base for the following reasons:

-        Clinton won 50% of the vote, Dole 42%, and Perot 8%; absent Perot, it probably would have been pretty close to a dead heat and winning 50% can hardly be termed a landslide

-        Dole was always dull and a poor campaigner and McCain is neither --- he’s actually an excellent and seasoned Presidential campaigner;

-        While Obama is winning hearts and minds in Democratic Primaries, the general electorate is far more conservative;

-        Until proven otherwise, and Obama is certainly the best one to do it, electing an African-American President, is still a challege --- we still, for example, have never elected a President or Vice-President from of Southern European origin; and

-        Sustaining Obamamania will be real hard as time goes by --- it is worth recalling that the glamour of JFK only began to emerge after he won election and Jackie’s style came into play, and especially after his assassination;

-        Obama’s challenges will be:

o       Tacking to the center once he finishes off Billhillary;

o       Keeping the Pelosi/Murtha luncatic fringe of the Democratic Party in check;

o       Maintaining Obamamania fervor during a hard fought campaign lasting months.

Complacency is always the arch-enemy of success.  The author of the article is caught up in the euphoria.

The Obama camp should be concerned about peaking too early and work hard to figure out how to keep the momentum going.  Continuing to seek ways to broaden his appeal, to expand the big tent, to reach out to Republicans and Independents will be the way to do it --- and he will have to fight Pelosi/Murtha/Kennedy/Billhillary in order to do so.

In the end, the election is likely to be close.  As with all elections in the last 25 years, it will be decided by an increasingly large segment of the electorate which is: 1) independent-minded; and 2) makes up its mind in the last 24 to 48 hours.


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