Thursday, June 13, 2013

Herding Democrats

Yesterday's visit from President Barack Obama was certainly jollier than the recent trip related to the dead and maimed from the Boston Marathon bombs. He came to support US Rep. Ed Markey's bid to move to replace John Kerry.

Despite a nearly three-hour wait to get into and kill time in a very hot track-and-field gym across from Roxbury Community College, several thousand Dems, pinkos, and locals who just wanted to be part of the excitement did stand in lines, had previously filled out forms and waited for free tickets, did herd outside, did file dutifully through the chutes, did wait and wait. They got political rewards.

I actually had gotten a couple of those tickets, but I also ended up wangling a press pass. Mine was at the bottom-feeder level, blogger and podcaster. There were national folk video recording. There were local puffballs like Jon Keller, who seems to live to announce how insightful and important he is (he is neither) and local true pundits like David Bernstein, who actually is insightful and not ego poisoned.

Folk were sweating, campaign and DNC staffers were handing out tiny bottles of water, but figuratively everyone was cool. The doors had opened on time at 11 AM but Obama was not due on stage until at least 1:45 PM.

Fear not, like a good pre-game show, theater started a little after noon with stuff...lots of non-stop stuff. A cute kid led the pledge, a very talented local student sang the anthem, several Bostonians, including the country sheriff and Markey's local campaign head, started firing up the thousands.

I know these were their moments,but the real action and political appetizers started with MA Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz. She's highly accomplished, a solid progressive and it doesn't hurt that she is both gorgeous and very pregnant.

I haven't seen or heard much of her remarks today, but they were in turn funny, rousing and insightful. Click the arrow on the player below to hear a five-minute clip from Sen. Chang-Díaz' speech.

She differs from most remarks on both sides of this campaign in several ways. She in fact differs from both Markey and Obama. She came from a really local, really pragmatic political view.

She softened up the masses with jokes about how she wasn't due for another eight days....and she waved her absentee ballot form that she had in case she was in labor on June 25th. Then she cut to the teamwork motif that has been lacking in this campaign, at least to my awareness.

Markey has not stressed that he'd be a one-two punch for Dem values with Sen. Elizabeth Warren. He should. He only says that GOP opponent Gabriel Gomez would cancel out Warren's vote. Chang-Díaz worked the teamwork theme from several angles for him. She first noted that big Massachusetts liberal victories came from widespread teamwork, including marriage equality, CORI reform and healthcare reform that spread nationally (she welcomed Obama for joining in).

In a great take on the current race, she made a credible call for GOTV efforts. First in Spanish, then English, she said that Gabriel Gomez was not the only Latino in the race, then pointing to the audience and herself. She called for at least as big a turnout as last November's that send Warren to the Senate.

Markey wasn't on stage, but I hope his minions paid attention and informed him.

For the big show, Obama was pretty damned good. He was on at least his B+ game. There was show cutesy stuff, as there was with Markey, about the Boston/Chicago Stanley Cup Final teams, but the POTUS quickly got serious.

NECN has his whole half hour, which is worth a watch and listen. Click here for that.

Big Dog Next

What I'll watch for now is Bill Clinton's endorsement of Markey this Saturday in Worcester. I can't get to that but I definitely want to compare it to his pitch for US Rep. Steve Lynch three years ago in Boston. That one surprised and appalled me. It was all about Clinton when it should have been about the candidate.

In contrast, Obama was focused and balanced yesterday. He started, continued and ended with specific reasons to campaign for and vote for Ed Markey. Where the President inserted himself into it, the point was that "I need Ed Markey" in Washington to pursue the big goals...shade of Chang-Díaz' teamwork.

I'll catch the video of that show and see who's the hero of those remarks.

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