Monday, May 10, 2004

In a DNC, “Something New,” Fund Raiser on Friday night [May 7], Hillary Clinton, DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe and Senator Dick Durbin appeared on the stage with Democratic U. S. Senate Candidate Barack Obama at the W Chicago—City Center in the Loop. The “Something New,” thing seems to focus on using entertainment industry execs, athletes, hip young professionals and urban promoters to target registering and getting to the polls new Democratic voters in the 18- 35 range. McAuliffe said the event was sold out [1500 tickets] and netted 150K. However, it looked to me like the crowd reached a high of about 400 people by 8:00 pm when Hillary, et al were supposed to speak, and declined to considerably fewer people by 10:00 pm when McAuliffe spoke and introduced Hillary, who in turn introduced Barack Obama [both of whom had just arrived at the “W,”], apparently delayed by Hillary’s flight and Hillary’s Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee funder with Barack-- and perhaps by other events. With the flight weather and other delays, the Event could have gone south really fast; instead the Event, including the press conference with Chairman McAuliffe that preceded it, was well orchestrated in Chicago by DNC Consultant and Media Handler Jennifer Fortney.

Hillary got fairly big applause but, in a way, she was overshadowed by the Senate Candidate who she introduced as someone who will be not just the next U. S. Senator from Illinois, but who will be a great leader for the United States of America. Indeed, if this were a rock event to rock the vote, Hillary clearly was the warm-up band for Barack. As you can see from the partial transcript, below, Barack Obama overshadowed Hillary [and her litany of “issues,”] by what he said, as well as the way he said it. Barack’s speech itself seemed similar to his Primary campaign stomp speech [the Mutual Obligation thing], but he seemed to have a few new twists, a little more style and a better cadence.

Perhaps it is standard Democratic partisan fare these days [and the Rs have their equivalent, mutates mutandis] but it does seem a little bit much to refer to the vision of Republicans, or at least the vision of those in the White House as being based on “intolerance and self interest.” Anyone running a government spends at least a little time, and some would say a lot of time, thinking about how to help those who need it. And, if things should tighten in the Senate Race, that type of language might not be the way to attract independents, or even moderate Democrats. That is, maybe not everyone loves the “sharp elbows.” [See event partial transcript, below].

Anyway, if this were American Bandstand, I’d say Barack’s speech was an obvious crowd pleaser, very elegant [yet, hip], good to dance to and I might give him a 92, at least on style.

Boys and Girls, I know American Bandstand is not too Hip, but it’s the best I can do, tonight. Clearly, I am not “Something New.”
Senator Hillary Clinton: …the young man who I am going to introduce in a moment, who is going to be the next Senator from the State of Illinois…it is not any surprise to any of you that the single largest group of people who are eligible to vote, who do not choose to vote are young people between 18 and 35…you are here tonight, but will you tomorrow and the next day and the next day talk to your friends and ask them, “Are you registered to vote.” I mean, I don’t think it is too personal a question…

There are so many issues at stake, literally life and death issues: war and peace issues, the economy, jobs, prosperity, education and health care, environment, our energy independence, the future of civil rights and gay rights…You have the chance to make history. You have the chance to elect someone who will not only be a great Senator for the State of Illinois, but who will be a great leader for the United States of America. And, by your working to elect him, you will help us to have a Democratic majority in the United States Senate so that [Senator] Dick Durbin and I will be able to do the kind of positive work that will really make a difference in people’s lives—and we won’t have to worry about whether we can breathe the air or drink the water…so please join me in welcoming to the stage the next Senator from the State of Illinois—Barack Obama.

State Sen. Barack Obama: …I haven’t been this fired up since March 16th [Date of the Primary Election]… You know, politics is a sport. And, here in Illinois, we love the sport of politics. We love the horse race; we love the sharp elbows; we love the slogging it out and—all of us love to win. Nothing better than a winning campaign. But, one of the things that Senator Clinton said tonight in a discussion at an earlier event which I think bears on why we are all here tonight is that winning alone is not sufficient-- It is necessary for us to be able to implement the policies that we care about and the values that we hold dear, but ultimately, the reason we get involved in politics is because we have a commitment to something larger than ourselves and we have a belief in a mutual obligation toward each other that expresses itself in government--that we think that every child should have a decent child’s life and we believe that the people who are vulnerable in our society, the aged and the infirm, should be cared for and we believe that when people hit a bump in the road that somebody should be there to give them a hand up, and not a hand-out. And, we believe in a society that is governed by the rule of law and that the Constitution matters…we think it is not enough just to talk about, but we have to act tough and we have to have the courage of our convictions.

And, as much as you may not like the current occupant of the White House, the one thing you have to say is—they are true believers in their vision of America. It is a vision that we don’t believe in. It is a vision that is based on intolerance. It is a vision that is based on self-interest and not selflessness. It gives you the sense that government is designed to protect the powerful from the powerlessness. That is what this Administration believes. The only way that we win this battle of ideas is to take it to the streets- the American people are a decent people and they believe in what we believe in…We have to redouble our efforts, we have to feel a greater sense of urgency. This is the fun part: the hobnobbing and the sifting and the cheesing and the grinning. The hard part is for us to go out and talk to people who are not yet convinced, to not just preach to the choir, to recruit and actively engage- particularly young people who, right now, feel disaffected with our process…

Senator Hillary Clinton [D- NY] and U. S. Senate Candidate Barack Obama [D- IL], May 7, 2004, at the DNC “Something New,” Chicago.