Sunday, May 18, 2008

Barack Obama Brings Out Over 75,000 People in Oregon

In some ways, there is a real risk in overstating the "Barack Obama mania" that has spread throughout the United States during the fight for the Democratic nomination. While many members of "Obama-Nation" have instantly taken to the Senator and his message, Obama is still unknown to much of the country. He has, after all, only been on the national stage for less than four years, making his debut at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. And as the results from West Virginia showed, where he doesn't spend a lot of time introducing himself to voters, they still are very unfamiliar with him, and aren't willing to take a leap of faith based on the rave reviews the rest of the country has given Obama. And while it might seem contradictory that some can both believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim (at least 10% of the country according to recent polling) and at the same time think that he shares the views of radical former Pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright, many voters do not see the inconsistency (one, , Ben Smith at Politico first noticed).

Then there are days like today, when Barack Obama brings out over 75,000 people in Oregon. No, I didn't add a zero accidentally, he really did have, at least, seventy-five thousand people attend a speech in Oregon. That's beyond incredible for a person who nobody knew outside of Chicago just four years ago, and who hasn't even officially won his party's nomination for the Presidency yet, much less been sworn in and taken over the Oval Office.

The reason why Obama is so exciting as a candidate, and why he can win where other Democrats couldn't, is because he expands the electoral map by creating so much excitement that 75,000 people take their Sunday to come see him speak. As Obama has constantly said, getting elected means nothing if you don't have a mandate to get things done. In order to solve the problems we fight about year after year, you need more than to win an election, you need to build a broad coalition of citizens who will demand nothing less than universal health care, an end to the war in Iraq, and energy policy which saves the planet and ends our dependence on foreign oil, and saves Social Security for my generation (and more importantly my kids and grandkids generation).

Early in the campaign, when Obama was trying to build up his name recognition in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Dakota, he drew tens of thousands of people to rallies. But that was because Oprah Winfrey was introducing him. Just five months later, though, whether its in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia or in Portland, Oregon, Obama is drawing 75,000 people to hear him speak. It's a level of political engagement and interest we have not seen in perhaps a generation. And it's one that should excite all Americans, because even if you don't agree with what Obama stands for, there's no doubt, anything or anybody who engages the citizenry to care about, and participate in the political process, now that's something, or in this case, somebody with a special gift.

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Paul Kekai Manansala said...

The pictures of the gathering are incredible.

Beerme said...

Yeah, and millions of people vote for one or the other American Idol contestant every week. It makes about as much sense and there's just about as much truth and reality being delivered.

If the man had any substance or experience, it might make sense but as is, no way...


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