No matter whether you swing donkey, or elephant, are a Hillary-lover or a Fred Law & Order Thompson bandwagon jumper, you gotta go see Barack Obama speak just once.
The senator for Illinois came to woo Seattle for the first time as rock star presidential candidate tonight. The crowd didn’t quite fill up the Qwest Field Event Center, but it didn’t really matter once he sauntered on stage with an easy, smiley, “Hey Seattle!” as the first lady of soul sang “Think” in the background.
Obama told the raucous crowd that he’s running for president because people want a “new America.” He said these people include “Black folks, Hispanic folks, gay folks, straight folks, old folks and young folks …especially young folks,” and with that the place exploded into so many decibels that Obama had to scream, “THEY SAY WE WANT A NEW AMERICA, THEY WANT TO TURN THE PAGE.”
The place may not have been packed, but it was filled with a considerable amount of 20- and 30-somethings paying $50 a head to hear 46-year-old Obama’s “this is our time” message.
“Citizenship is about more than conspicuous consumption. Patriotism is about more than allegiance to a flag. Politics is about rolling up our sleeves, about wanting to do better,” he told them.
Obama’s an amazing orator of ideas. He speaks the stump with the passion of a preacher and the authenticity of a guy who’s never heard of a public opinion poll. What he doesn’t do so well, quite yet, is dabble in the details. He gave a preview of a laundry list tonight: universal health care, better schools, a green economy, and ending the Iraq War. But quickly got back to the big picture.
“I’m confident I can lead and I’ve got a vision for the future, but I can’t do it alone. This campaign has got to be a vehicle for all of your hopes,” he pronounced to the adoring crowd, before signing off with, “Thank you Seattle. I love you.”
Maybe it was the tinge of gold on everything on this unusually perfect early June evening, or the fact that it was Friday afternoon and the M’s were playing next door, but on this night it almost felt like hope is enough.