Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Obama and Clinton
You know its an unusual political season when I can see both former president Clinton and Sentator and presidential candidate Barack Obama within 7 days of each other. Bill Clinton turned up at the ball field around the corner from my house quite unexpectedly and with as much ado as the small town of Hillsborough could muster. Speaking from the back of a pickup truck the Hillary campaigners were trying to look folksy. Its no secret that I am an Obama supporter, but I went to give the ex-president his due. The hype man for the event before Bill spoke was going on about making the "Kool-aid" of the event sweeter. How does he do that? By throwing out t-shirts of course. After throwing a few out he said "man, this Kool-aid tastes a whole lot better." Not a great metaphor, Kool-aid and politics. So having said that he went on to say that the men in the crowd should look around at the women there as they were our future congressmen, senators, mayors and county commissioners. Ummm, its not 1943 anymore. Chapel Hill councilwoman Sally Green was in attendance as well as Francis Dancy from the Hillsborough town board, and the woman who wound up introducing clinton was the mayor pro tem of Charlotte. So another goofy phrase from this guy. After the crowd spelling H-i-l-l-a-r-y alot Bill Clinton swooped in an hour late and gave a fact filled, friendly stump speech. He was touting the Pennsylvania win and urging everyone to go to the early voting location next to the ball field. This is smart campaigning. The attendees could leave and vote for Hillary right there. Bill Clinton has a command of facts and figures which cannot be denied, but when he talks about job creation and the economy I tune him out. Ever since NAFTA and GATT the twenty five dollar an hour job in America went away. Then President Clinton promised these two important trade agreements would strengthen our economy and they have gone on to play a role in most decent factory jobs in the USA leaving the country.
Barack Obama came to Chapel Hill's Dean E. Smith center and brought along 19,000 of his supporters. In one of the biggest indoor events in the Obama campaign, the liberal stronghold of Chapel Hill was indeed a welcoming location for the candidate. (Jesse Helms once threatened to put a fence around it) The evening began with Music from a live band while people showed up hours early for the late night speech. The early speakers on the podium offering support included Congressman Mel Watt and Senatorial fixture David Price. A parade of speakers between 9 and 10:30 that night made the wait for Senator Obama seem interminable. Sam Perkins the NBA and former UNC standout was the next to last speaker. Seems they covered all their bases culturally at Carolina. Finally Senator Obama came out to raucus applause smiling and waving. He went straight to work and kept the platitudes to a minimum. Senator Obama covered the economy (the Bush tax breaks withdrawn, new incentives for the middle-class), the war(S)(let's get out of Iraq and win Afghanistan), restoring American foreign relations and goodwill abroad, strengthening and rebuilding the military, and reminding us all that ultimately this election was about alot of things but it was mostly about the people of America. Senator Obama is not about the quick-fix that solves nothing. Case in point the federal excise tax on gasoline. He was not for removing it. The short term gain would only be about twenty five dollars and the long term cost would be not conserving energy and not developing new energy resources. Hillary Clinton supports removal of this tax for the summer driving season to show her support for the middle class, but I am with Senator Obama on this. No short term "feel good" fixes. Let's solve the problem. All in all not alot of new ground here, not as many facts as Bill Clinton could muster in a nano-second, but very effective and inspiring stuff indeed.