Caucus surge for Obama 2004 speech

Give Barack Obama a trophy for his speechEverybody who is anybody I know showed up at last Tuesday’s DEM caucuses. I felt so bad for all of them, tuned in, activated, braced to make elections work this time. But to work for whom? Not them. We are indeed lemmings, our legs spinning, our arms waving, our faith unshakable because to not jump off the cliff would be to derail the train without the engineer and be left to organize a can of worms.

The media, the parties, everyone is in election year mode. Get Out the Vote, Be the Change, You Can’t Win if You Don’t Play, the candidates shaking themselves out like Lotto balls coming up the tube. Meanwhile we’ve got our heads down eagerly keeping the turkey cold for whoever gets Bingo. Perhaps our selfless trust in them will be reciprocated by an equal lack of self-interest on their part to help us. Do you think?

My local district caucus on the West Side was positively humming with enthusiasm. It could have been related to people thinking they might get to attend the Democratic National Convention in Denver, or even the State Convention to be held right here. But there also seemed to be an urgency about securing a nomination for Obama instead of for old Hillary.

Out with the old, in with change. Almost no one in my precinct wanted to speak in favor of Hillary, she had supporters but none that dared speak. The posters and endorsements were mostly for Obama, and the enforcement was heavy handed. One woman was told her Clinton posters were not needed in the caucus rooms because the posters there were already 50/50, when clearly they were not.

Another friend of mine in another precinct wanted to make a pitch for Clinton in hope of convincing just one person to tilt her way to reach the minimum required to earn one delegate. Otherwise the six individuals for Clinton would be thrown into the Obama majority. Thus instead of sending one delegate for Clinton against Obama’s seven, Obama would get them all. (It’s complicated the way I can’t explain it, isn’t it?) An Obama disciple approached her to explain that Obama was for uniting the party, not for dividing it, and what my friend was proposing was definitely divisive and not in keeping with the spirit of Obama. Her precinct chairman concurred and my friend was not allowed to speak. There was just that kind of fervor.

I was offered an Obama sticker which I declined. I explained that I wanted to remain undeclared, there were a few of us actually, because I thought we were being given no real alternative, certainly not relative to American war-making. The button giver sympathized with me, and offered instead that she liked the stand Obama had taken on the war in his speech before the Democratic National Convention in 2004. He spoke against the war there, and what he had said afforded her some hope.

I’d have to agree that Obama gave a great speech in ’04. Is that really going to be the basis for selecting him to be president? What has he done since, as a Senator or high-profile contender, all this time? Has he advanced, lobbied, spoken out, championed, appealed, endorsed, raised his voice about anything?!

If Obama’s speech was so convincing, why didn’t Democrats nominate him then and there for their candidate? I agree he was promising then! Now he is a confirmed professional campaigner. Not unlike… Bush! (This thread to be continued…)

What I take to be the lesson of DNC 2004 is to save the decision until all the really impressive orators have spoken, then pick one. Why tie ourselves to a nominee before all the suitors have made their overtures? Especially if we’re going to make our decision based on a speech. Let’s leave our options open. If we’d done that in 2004, we could have had Obama, and none too soon. Let’s do it this year and see who rises to the occasion. At every convention, there’s always a side player at liberty to offer a more interesting sermon.

At the 2006 state convention, soon-to-be-governor Ritter gave the worst speech I’d ever heard. I didn’t even have to close my eyes to wonder if he was a Republican, a Democrat or a Saturn dealer. It was the most bland claptrap, and he’s delivered precisely that in office. The same day, a would-be state representative spoke in amazingly blunt terms and brought down the house. Based on Obama logic, he should have been nominated for governor. I wish he had.

Who’s going to be the Obama of 2008? It wouldn’t have to be an unknown. As I remember, Dennis Kucinich gave an underrated speech at the last convention. Perhaps we should give him a chance to do it again. And he has credentials. Or Al Sharpton, or Jesse Jackson. Give Ron Paul or Ross Perot a turn at the podium as well. Based on one speech we can definitely feel optimism for any such candidacy.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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1 Response to Caucus surge for Obama 2004 speech

  1. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    ‘Humming with enthusiasm?’ The clowns who vote for the Democratic Party hacks each and every time always get stirred up by absolutely nothing. Come on Down! What a group of complete suckers.

    And no wonder the Republicans rob these blind nitwits blind. The DP voting crowd are just so silly and gullible.

    But as your presence there shows, Eric, too many just are not willing to do the hard work of setting up better political formations, so you continue to get suckered into voting DP each and every time. Are you really going to vote for Hillary or Obama, Eric, come time to drink the final glass of Foolaid? Here we are and not even the desert mirage of the Green Party seems to exist this time around. Sad to be an American at this point in life… It’s a life in a lunatic asylum.

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