Obama fundraiser: narrow the gap

I attended Tuesday night’s fundraiser for Democratic candidate Barack Obama. The event was held at the Harrison Opera House, which has a seating capacity of 1,632. I arrived around 6pm, when the doors were scheduled to open, and the parking lot was already full. I ran into Portsmouth Delegate Ken Melvin and his lovely wife, Sylvia. We checked in and, with a little assist from Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim and his lovely wife, Beth, headed upstairs to the VIP area.

Governor and potential VP pick Tim Kaine was the host of this affair. One of the most interesting conversations I had was with the governor’s sons, 18-year-old Nat and 16-year-old Woody. I guess it’s impossible not to have politics in your blood when your father and grandfather have both been governor. The two are already showing signs of political aspirations – one as the candidate, the other as the “behind-the-scenes” guy.

Around 7pm, Michelle Obama entered the area and a line was formed for guests to get their picture with her. One of the first people in line was Senator Mame Locke. The line was quite long and while people moved through fairly quickly, it was about 7:40pm before all of the pictures were completed.

Heading downstairs, I arrived after the Bruce Hornsby concert had already started. Even though it was dark, I could see that the facility was almost completely full. Williamsburg native Hornsby did a wonderful job, his mastery of the piano on full display.

Kaine came out to introduce Obama.  It was obvious from his introduction that he knows her well. After a few moment, Obama took the stage. Her remarks centered around the theme of narrowing the gap, between the world as it is and the world as it can be. She drew on an early experience that she had with Barack Obama, where he took her on a “date” to a meeting in a chuch basement on the Southside of Chicago. It was there that he discussed the gap. In her speech, Obama invited us to imagine the world as it can be and what we can do to move towards it. She also urged us to talk to friends and family, and to get people registered to vote.

Perhaps it was the setting, perhaps it was the crowd but this was not a campaign rally. The crowd listened respectfully and interrupted her with applause at the appropriate times, and gave her a standing ovation at the end. For the most part, there was something in her speech for everyone.  As folks streamed out of the theater, I got the sense that people were both excited and determined: excited at the possibility of Obama as president and determined to do their part to help it happen.

By the way – I heard that the event raised about $400,000 for the Obama campaign.

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28 thoughts on “Obama fundraiser: narrow the gap

  1. “I’m sure I don’t need to note that one of them is labelled with the name of the Republican Presidential nominee.”

    Actually, two of them are — the Immigration Reform Bill was McCain-Kennedy. As I’ve said before, if you’re looking for a President that has experience working with the opposition party (or any experience at all, for that matter), McCain is your man.

    “[You’re] a Socialism alarmist who think Democrats are out to betray the American way of life or something, but I’m pretty sure that’s unintentional.”

    No, it’s quite intentional, because that is exactly what I think the Democratic Party wants: “From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs.”

  2. Actually, Anon, I think the Democratic Party is returning to the Populist politics of Huey Long in the 1930’s rather than true Socialism.

    That’s not a defense, a populist is only a socialist who has lost the idealism of youth.

    The Republicans are even worse, they are just elitists faking populism.

    I am really glad to be a Libertarian this year. If I had to belong to either of the major parties, I would throw up first thing every morning.

  3. I am really glad to be a Libertarian this year. If I had to belong to either of the major parties, I would throw up first thing every morning.

    Ah, the freedom of irrelevancy.


    Silence, the charges of “socialism!” are just the same warmed-over one-size-fits-all “communism!” slaps of before. In both cases, those slinging it have so little understanding of it as to make it meaningless.

  4. Hey there, rlewis.

    That reminds me. I guess I do owe you some nose rubbing from our last blog exchange, which was on this site exactly a year ago today (8/7/07). I predicted in that exchange that the Eastern Shore would go to Ralph Northam, while you said Rerras’s support on the Shore was strong. My parting comment to you that day was “I guess we’ll see which of us has got the pulse of the Eastern Shore figured out come November.”

    Given that Accomack went for Northam over Rerras by 54.10% to 45.82% and that Northampton gave Northam 55.08% and Rerras 44.74%, it looks like the person who called this thing right a year ago was… me.

    And now a year later, I’m here to predict that Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States. I strongly disagree with your statement that “The dems have picked the wrong Pres Candidate once again!”

    Barack Obama is the right candidate at the right time in the history of our country.

    On 8/7/08, my parting comment to you, rlewis, is this — I guess we’ll see which of us has this election figured out come November 🙂

  5. Right for what? I’m still waiting for someone to tell me what “vision” he has for this country, and how he proposes to get us there.

    Socialism has been defined as

    [A] stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done with the goal of creating a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community. This control may be exercised on behalf of the state, through a market, or through popular collectives such as workers’ councils and cooperatives.

    Now, with the Democratic Party so intent on controlling the distribution of wealth via confiscatory taxation (“Take from the few, give to the many, and the many will vote for you” or “Tax the rich, feed the poor, ’til there are no rich no more”), including threatening nationalization of the oil companies a la Hugo Chávez, a cradle-to-grave nanny state, and denying the people the means to defend themselves (so that they are even more dependent on the state), seems like a socialist agenda to me.

    If anyone would like to offer another definition of socialism, and show how the Democratic Party does not support such a system of government, I’d enjoy hearing it.

  6. Don — I, too, am generally a libertarian. However, the current winner-take-all system of elections makes it all but impossible for a Libertarian candidate to be elected. The result has been to turn the Libertarian Party meetings into a debating society.

    I also believe that the Republican Party, at least in principle, is more closely aligned with my ideals than is the Democratic Party. That most libertarians feel the same way was made clear in 1992 in the Georgia election for U.S. Senate. The Republican, Paul Coverdell, got only 48% of the vote, the Democrat got 49%, and the Libertarian 3%. However, in Georgia, and only in Georgia as far as I know, one must get a majority, not just a plurality. Coverdell won the runoff election 51% to 49%. Essentially all of the Libertarian voters voted for Coverdell in the runoff election.

    Thus, almost any support for a Libertarian candidate is taken from the Republican candidate. In any other state but Georgia, that would have resulted in the Democrat’s being elected.

  7. Mouse – normally I wouldn’t do this to you but I happen to have the statistics from that election sitting next to me. Voter participation in the ’92 GA Senate runoff election was 55% of what it was in the ’92 GA Senate general election, meaning that at least 45% of all voters who cast a ballot the first go round did not cast a ballot in the runoff. Given that only 3% of voters in the General cast ballots for the Libertarian in the first place, it’s *exceedingly* unlikely that this election proved anything related to your argument. It’s more likely that those voters didn’t turn out at all for the runoff.

  8. Fair enough, dogood, but if all those who voted Libertarian in the first election stayed home, for Coverdell to win as he did, 61.6% of his voters came out for the runoff, compared to 58.5% of Fowler voters. Interesting.

  9. Man, the internet really has failed. Because I cannot find video of this song, which was apparently burned into my brain:

    Let’s put Paul Coverdell in the Senate
    And kick Wyche Fowler out!
    We don’t need Fowler for a minute
    And that’s without a doubt!

    That Wyche Fowler, he’s just like Teddy Kennedy!

  10. It’s actually not too surprising, Mouse. Both Senate candidates overperformed the Presidential candidate from their respective parties in the General, Fowler by about 100,000 and Coverdell by less than 80,000. What happened was a lot of Presidential year only voters came out to cast ballots for Perot, and when they voted for the next race on the ballot (Senate) they broke for the Democrat, Fowler, either for ideological reasons or because he was the incumbent. If you eliminated the Perot voters from the equation, Fowler’s lead would have been about 0.5% in the General election, which was easily surmountable in the run-off.

  11. BTW want to clarify quickly that I don’t mean to imply that the third party voters would have decided the race for the Dem if they’d turned out again or that no third party voters turned out, only that the race was much closer in reality than it was on paper and that it was decided more by turnout among partisan Ds and Rs than by any sort of shift from the libertarian candidate to the Republian.

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