Sunday, October 24, 2010
Its been cloudy in LA recently. Light drizzle a lot of the time. Its only the end of October and there's already been nearly a half-inch of rain since the 'rainy season' began at the end of September. In a lot of places a half-inch of rain in a month or so would be cause for celebration but here people wander around wringing their hands asking 'when is this going to end?'
But Thursday's weather report showed a gap in the clouds for Friday! The news warned of massive traffic jams downtown because Obama's coming to town! Most of the time when the prez shows up we only get the traffic jam but never get to see him. California is usually a safe Demo state and the national parties use it as a cash cow. They do fundraisers here and ship the cash to the battleground states. Not this year. California is a battleground state this year. Both Babs Boxer and Jerry Brown are long past their 'sell by' date and even in this commie state the granola-eaters are off their feed and much less likely to vote than they were two years ago.
So Obama and the Dems announce an open-to-the-public presidential speech at USC, about fifteen miles from my house. I decided to go and my daughter Emily and her boyfriend Nate decided to come along. We didnt want to take a car into the predicted jam so we drove into Hollywood, parked and took the subway and a shuttle-bus to the event. We went through security in pretty good time.
The crowd was mainly USC students. There were a few always-scowling union types, all with t-shirts identifying the various groups they were associated with. I had had the foresight to wear my union t-shirt which caused puzzlement on a few faces. The Animation Guild Local 839 was a bit of an anomaly amongst all those SEIU and ASCME shirts and even though I could easily drop twenty five pounds as union t-shirt wearing types go I was svelte and skinny. What is it about union membership that makes you bloat? Maybe there's some money in the stimulus bill to study why that happens.
We tried to find a spot where we could see the podium. The event was in a quad, an open square,and whoever put it together hadnt considered the crowd at all. Apparently Obama can only be photographed from one angle, straight on. It makes sense when you consider that he has the two teleprompter screens that he turns back and forth to read from. What this means is that unlike every other event like this that I've ever been to the press stands were erected dead center in the quad. This blocked the view from a large part of the area and squashed the crowd into two packed groups along the sides. The podium was low on the steps of the building behind it. A bunch of people with Hope and Change signs were lined up behind the podium. Nice for the press, bad for the crowd.
We tried to get close but that was impossible so we finally found a little rise where we could get a view of the speakers through the heads in the crowd. By that time the show had started. They always lead off with the local activists. These people mistake shouting for oratory. The males bellow and the females attack your eardrums with shrill, high-pitched cliches that are so stupid that you're embarrassed to be in a crowd that isnt jeering at these idiots.
But the crowd wasnt listening enough to jeer or cheer. They were milling around, yakking, throwing the free water bottles around or just staring stupidly at each other. Not focused on the Center For Childrens Prosperity founder's heartfelt plea for more money from those evil rich people. Apparently the clueless evil rich people like the student body of USC who are paying $40k per annum to party in the groves of academe and who are just fine with their parents getting a big fat tax hike to support The Center For Childrens Prosperity and their ilk. They must have suspended classes that day to get this apple-cheeked, fashionably-dressed crowd of kiddies. Do universities still have classes on Fridays? Its an awful burden on the professors to not have a three day weekend to rest up from the grueling four-hour days they put in during the week and the students need some home time to download their term papers off the internet.
Then a local rock band came on. Fat white guys who did rock, rap, reggae...a wide range of styles, all of it bad. Emily and Nate, hardcore concert-goers, had their fingers in their ears. In the old days these buffoons would have been described as 'schleppers'; noisy, upbeat and awful! But they opened the real event. as the pain in our ears from the 'music' subsided the big names came on.
The first speaker was Kamila Harris, the Dem candidate for Attorney General, a woman so left wing that she had worn out her welcome in San Francisco. Thats left-wing. Her one aim in the campaign is to keep the Blue Staters focused on the 'D' next to her name and ignorant of her appalling record. The crowd treated her flat nasal whining with the contempt it deserved. No applause, no nothing.
Next was Jerry The Jerk (Jerry Brown to you out-of-staters) who has the same problem as Harris; anyone who knows what kind of a left-wing, incompetent, egotistical moron he is will be voting for his somewhat less liberal, possibly less incompetent but equally egotistical opponent. These USC kiddies were conceived long after Brown's disastrous two terms as governor and are too busy downloading free music to pay any attention to politics. Real Hope And Change types, Brown's core constituency. A couple of people clapped.
They should have had Jerry introduce Barbara Boxer but couldnt resist turning it over to another shouting nonentity, Hilda Solis, who completely lost the crowd within two seconds. But Babs arrived at the podium at last and began her rousing rhetoric. Babs is short. Too short for that venue and no one thought to bring a box for her to stand on. She was invisible to most of the crowd and her speaking style is monotonous and boring. Every so often she rises to an atonal squawk at the end of a sentence. Every word was a twenty-five year old potboiler progressivist cliche. The crowd was lost. Nobody came here to see any of these doofuses, of course, but even minimal courtesy was breaking down.
Finally Babs wrapped up and introduced The Man. The crowd perked up like the ears on a doberman when it hears the burglar jumping the fence. He's here! The first burst of actual enthusiasm occurred as El Presidente took his place between the teleprompters. People were climbing the trees in the quad and the crowd compressed forward. The speech began.
How did this guy ever get a reputation as a good orator? He has Jesse Jackson's policies but I've heard Jackson speak and now I've heard Obama speak and believe me there is NO comparison. The speech itself would have been a challenge to someone of Jackson's talents and was lead in the mouth of a much lesser speaker.
It turns out that the car is in the ditch and was so stuck there by the Bushies that when Obama got there he didnt have time to get the car out of the ditch but you see that when you want to move a car forward you put it in 'D' and backwards you put it in 'R'. The college-educated crowd was easily able to grasp this taut metaphor but by that point they werent listening.
OK dont listen to Kamila Harris or Jerry or Babs, that's understandable. But hadnt these people come to see Obama? The biggest cheer he got was when he arrived, always the sign of a bad show. In this milling crowd I was thinking about the driving metaphor...if the Republicans had driven the car forward into the ditch wouldnt putting the car in 'D' make it go deeper into the ditch? That seems to be the direction we're moving in with Obama. But I digress.
The most interesting thing about this whole speech was the complete lack of attention by the crowd. All the pleas to vote and tell all your friends to vote fell on deaf ears. I had gone to the first Tea Party rally on April 15th, 2009 and that small crowd, faced with what we all knew was the coming disaster, was focused and as enthused as it could be faced with the situation we were in. This Obama rally was nothing like that. This was a freak show. The crowd was here to see the Prez, not to listen to boring speeches. They saw him. That made them happy. But applause line after applause line got sparse applause; laugh line after laugh line got no laughs. This reminded me of a speech by Bob Dole I saw in the 1996 campaign. It was that bad.
I know this is anecdotal, that I'm often wrong, but I smell Dem disaster. The people at this rally were not filled with a grim resolve to go out and vote to save the Obamunist agenda. They didnt even have enough resolve even to listen to Obama when he was standing there right in front of them. There was no big traffic jam; the vast majority of the audience were USC students out for a lark. Will they vote? Not like 2008, you can be sure of that. The magic is gone, the dream has failed. The ADHD electorate barely remembers two years ago and they can clearly see the current failure. Obama's excuse that things were so bad when he arrived and that the Dems have made lots of progress fixing it got no applause at all, even from this crowd. They havent fixed anything. On November 2nd they will get skunked. Brown and Boxer will lose. The non-political default Democrats will not show up. They dont even want to think about whats going on around them. Bye bye Babs!