Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Saturday, September 08, 2007

POLITICAL PLAY of the WEEK: Barack Obama for free

A Political Play of the Week entitled Firestone Salsipuedes was tempting, if for any reason just to use that title.

The angle about Third District County Supervisor Brooks Firestone would have been all about why did he retire to the vineyards, are enough people who count really mad enough at him, who are the credible candidates to take over in January 2009, will Doreen Farr prevail atop a rabble of Republicans splitting their voter base, just what IS Jim Anderson thinking, blah, blah, blah, blah. But somehow this mere Stringer thinks plenty of opportunity for all will be available during the upcoming months to analyze the Third District race, and no doubt by the fourth comment someone will blame Das Williams for something.

The real Political Play this week scored points even before the local game began.

After months of local hype and shallowly hidden jealousy morphing into resentment about the wholly unaffordable swanky soiree with Barry Obama partying with The Oprah at her Montecito Mansion --with no freebie tickets lavished onto pseudonymous blogger commentators-- the plague of disgusting Big Money Presidential Politics seemed to have arrived in Santa Babylon yet again. Some of us instead need to pay the monthly mortgage with that $2300 admission price to see Barry and Oprah.

But then, the announcement was made only three days ago that Barack would meet the masses at Santa Barbara Serious College. Called a grassroots rally at the Obama web site calendar of events, the event later today, Saturday, literally will be on the grass at SBCC, overlooking the ocean and a few oil rigs offshore.

What Obama really says does not matter at this point. It will be a rousing, stimulating, and uplifting speech, like dozens he will make this month and hundreds he has made. Many locals remember Bill Clinton also speaking well to thousands at SBCC in 1996.

Will Santa Barbara have to wait another 10 or 11 years for a Big Dem Presidential candidate to visit again? Will Hill visit soon and also go slumming with the unpaid masses? Hopefully, yes. For Rudy, probably not.

Barack Obama for free. On the lawn. At City College. At noon. On a Saturday. Priceless.
And that is the Political Play of the Week!!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

pardon me, but I was lost about your comment that mentioned the disgraced one term ex-Sheriff Jim Andersen in the third Disrtic free for all coming up. Were you inmplying that the very Sheriff, Jim Andersen, who got thrown out of office by a resounding vote, and still faces issues with the Calif. Attorney General's office for his past actions is actually postering for another public job? Could this really be true.

He still has a lot to answer for concerning the free perks he helped himself to, and had his kids take as well, when he was Sheriff. There's still an open investigation on him, and he wants to possibly run again? I must be mistaken. No one, not even Jim Andersen could be that foolish.

Of course he did a lot of foolish things while in office. He managed to screw up the Michaerl Jackson case, blow up the multimillion dollar sheriff council, alienate long term SBSD staff, so I gouess its possible he feels the calling to be our 3rd District Supervisor.

Brooks, you sure you cant save us by doing one more term?

9/08/2007 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anderson lost his job because he lacked common sense and couldn't make decisions. His election to supervisor would be a disaster.

9/08/2007 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brooks, you sure you cant save us by doing one more term?

I'm not sure I want his form of salvation. He's been in office long enough, time to leave.

9/08/2007 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I think Anderson's problems are all Das' fault. (Am I the fourth comment? What do I win?)

9/08/2007 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on, can win this one in the primary.......let people get to know who you are. Now if silly Bearman would pitch in and help rather than muddy things up.

9/08/2007 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kristen Amyx for Supervisor.

9/08/2007 5:21 PM  
Blogger Citizen Stringer said...

Please people, enter your comments about the Supervisorial election into the posting about Brooks Firestone.
Just scroll down a couple of blog entries.

For the rest of us, what do you all think about that appearance by Obama at SBCC this afternoon?

Would Hillary Clinton exit the stage with this music blasting?

To galvanize
Come on, come on, come on!
Don't hold back
If you think about it too much you might stumble, trip up, fall on your face.
Don't hold back
Don't you think its time you get up, crunch time like a sit up, the monkey pace.
Don't hold back
Put apprehension on the back burner, let it sit, don't even get it lit.

9/08/2007 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Pretty modest turnout - way more for Bill Clinton in '96. They had people come up behind Obama to make it look like there were a lot of people but apart from that the rolling hills of SBCC West Campus were sparsely dotted with people.

Also saw people who can't possibly be supporters of Obama - Republican political operatives like Dick Cochrane were there.

9/08/2007 7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We were impressed with both the turnout and the "standard" stump speech by Obama. Our best guess was 5000-8000 attendees (not at all bad, given just three days' notice). The LA Times (never a fan of Obama) said there were 5,000 there. The hill opposite Obama was jam-packed with folks, and there were lots of ones who were curious but not committed (like us). We ended up being less curious and more committed.

9/08/2007 9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama is a poser. One more opportunity for Democrats to sabotage our own best interests.

9/08/2007 9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6,000 hardly seems like a "modest" turnout. I was there are was very impressed!

9/08/2007 11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that the AP reported about 1000. Are they biased against Obama too?

9/09/2007 12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is the AP story, It says 1500 at Oprah's house and about 1000 at SBCC.

Oprah Hosts Obama in Star-Studded Event
The Associated Press

MONTECITO, Calif. - Oprah Winfrey rolled out the red carpet Saturday for Barack Obama at a gala fundraiser attended by high-wattage stars that was expected to raise $3 million for the Democratic presidential candidate.

The most powerful woman in show business celebrated her favorite candidate with 1,500 guests at her palatial estate in this coastal enclave south of Santa Barbara. Tickets to the sold-out private event went for $2,300 apiece, keeping them within campaign finance limits.

Stevie Wonder performed for guests, who included Sidney Poitier, Forest Whitaker, Chris Rock, Cindy Crawford, Jimmy Connors, Linda Evans, Dennis Haysbert and many others. Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and Halle Berry also were expected, though it was unclear if they were in attendance. The media were barred from the fundraiser.

Visitors were bused to Winfrey's secluded home from an equestrian center about 10 miles away. A solid line of limousines, BMWs, Bentleys and a few hybrid Priuses disgorged well-dressed guests. Some sported stiletto heels despite official instructions to wear flat shoes for walking on Winfrey's meadow.

Visitors were subjected to strict security procedures and relieved of cameras and recording devices. Instructions sent to guests noted that Winfrey and Obama would not be accepting gifts.

Earlier in the day, Obama made a quick, lunchtime stop to speak to a crowd of about 1,000 eager supporters who gathered on a hillside overlooking the Pacific at Santa Barbara City College. It was his only public appearance of the day.

Obama, wearing his usual white shirt open at the collar and sleeves rolled up, shook his way down a line of outstretched hands as the song "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" blared from speakers.

He spoke for about 20 minutes, hitting his core themes of optimism and accountability.

"What's called for is a level of responsibility and seriousness that we haven't seen in a very long time," he told the cheering crowd, which included college students in short sundresses and big sunglasses and older couples in peace symbols.

A woman standing in front of the stage appeared to faint as Obama spoke about Iraq. The candidate paused and asked the crowd to make way for firefighters.

One supporter shouted, "You're a good man," leaving Obama momentarily at a loss for words.

"Well, I'm not the only one stopping to help her," he said, sounding almost embarrassed.

He talked briefly about his last trip to California in August, when he spent a morning helping a home health care worker clean a house, wringing out mops and making breakfast through a program sponsored by SEIU, the Service Employees International Union.

"Listening to her talk about the hardships of her life, talking about her struggles without a trace of self-pity ... I thought, there is the essence of what America is about, this generosity of spirit," Obama said.

Then it was off to a private luncheon and on to Winfrey's cocktail-hour shindig, where a different brand of very American generosity would be on display.

Obama already enjoys the support of Hollywood moguls like David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Winfrey's fundraiser is another chance for him to tap California, which was his top donor state from April through June with a total take of $4.2 million.

Obama has raised more than $58 million for his White House bid. Forbes magazine estimates that Winfrey, the Chicago-based talk-show host, is worth about $1.5 billion.

Winfrey is a well-known fan of Obama, calling him "my favorite guy" and "my choice" on CNN's "Larry King Live" last year before he announced he would run for president.

9/09/2007 12:15 AM  
Anonymous Columbo said...

I saw Obama yesterday on TV...he looked like he dyed his beard.

9/09/2007 6:47 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Columbo, if we are smart enough to elect Obama president, he will bring Barack our once-great America to its rightful status of undisputed leader of the free world. He will also deliver on Bush's forgotten promise to get Osama bin Missin' by the beard. Remember him? You can be excused if you have forgotten, because Bush has caused more damage to our USA by his action on 20-Mar-03 than al-Qaeda did half a dozen years ago this coming Tuesday.

9/09/2007 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A campaign operative boldly announced there were 5000 people at the Obama outdoor rally, but there was no way that was the real numer - more like 1000 - 1500. Maybe they had 5000 inquiries for tickets. The exact number is known because everyone had to turn in their ticket.

Lest we forget, this rally was a last minute window dressing because it was never planned until sufficient elitism criticism was raised about the exclusive and pricey events that were the sole Obama visits to this community.

Nevertheless, it was a nice event and a nice showing by this young man. And it was nice to see what a warm reception his message about his vision of America received - and how much so many of us want to undo the hidious damage done so quickly and so deeply by George W, Bush - the greatest disaster of a President this country has ever seen - yet popularly elected/selected for two painful terms.

9/09/2007 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YUK! Columbo

9/09/2007 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Columbo said...

Am I missing something? We are talking about the caveman who crashed his flying carpet into the empire state building, aren't we?

9/09/2007 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Citizen Stringer said...

Obama spoke for about 40 minutes. We have the technology to record time accurately.

Yes, it was largely a standard stump speech. So what? It was still informative and inspirational for people who have not heard it. Lots of details on the policy positions are at the Obama web site.

That is all why my original posting here noted that the actual speech was not the significance for why this was Political Play of the Week.

The Play was that this "Grassroots Rally" may have been planned hastily to counter the typical criticisms that national political candidates visit Santa Barbara merely to collect big cash. The Play was a good one and scored points for political effect by dampening the growing criticism that only the rich and famous would get to hear Obama at all. Political effect, either smart or dumb, is how a Political Play is defined.

Crowd size was about 3000, with news reports ranging from 1000 to 5000. I have counted crowds many times, and those were dense crowds and the numbers there add up fast. 8000 is too high an estimate, but close to 5000 is not an unreasonable estimate.

The crowd was 1000 just in the pen immediately below the speaker platform. Apparently the AP news writer thought the 2500+ other people up on the hill were just tourists taking in the sun and the view during a picnic.

The hillside was jammed with people. Published news photos today verify that, especially at Los Angeles Times web site in the article by TINA DAUNT.

People were situated to view behind the speaker platform as well as in front. Some typically cynical comments here imply that something wrong with that "Backstage passes" at a concert still count in the attendance tally.

President Clinton in 1996 was President Clinton in 1996. NO candidate is going to top that attendance and that is an amusing comparison but not really relevant. But maybe the Dem nominee a year from now might top the first Clinton attendance, if such a local appearance happens at all next summer.

This was a populist Presidential candidate appearing for free at a public venue in Santa Barbara. Therefore, it WAS highly local news.

National TV news coverage, plus some genius writing by KCOY, showed the Oprah crowds gathering at Earl Warren Showgrounds with a narrative indicating that location was Oprah's Meadow. If so, O had some grody architecture.

Don't worry, gentle readers.
The Political Play next week will throw some Red Meat to the wolves.
Unless the Santa Barbara council election reveals some heroes and zeros, think about the Political Corpse I mentioned elsewhere.

9/09/2007 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Listening to Obama's speech - - it felt more like reading Hallmark cards at a drug store. He says nothing but nice platitudes all packaged in his deep "pack or two a day" smokers voice.

If he was not black he would not even test above 5%. Edwards is the real thing - Obama's a good state senator who has not even proven himself to be a poor US Senator - he is untested and unproven.

And a classic way to lose the White House to some Bush clone.

9/09/2007 2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama hit a home run. No question about that.

His speech, ranging from poignant story to wonkish detail, connected better than any politician I've ever seen, including Bill Clinton.

True, Clinton reaches further into people's psyches, telling them more what they want to hear, but Obama doesn't leave you feeling greasy. In fact, he plainly stated that he won't be a perfect president. But he'll level with the American people, bring folks together and change Washington's toxic ways.

Sounds good to me.

9/09/2007 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody can clean up Washington. Obama should stop pandering this issue.

One can only try to keep themselves clean, but cleaning up an inherently corruptable system should never be promised by anyone.

Creates unrealistic expectations and we certainly don't need any more of those. How about a little more real-politik. Might mean we have finally grown up as a nation and passed beyond our very rocky national adolescence.

9/09/2007 7:56 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

I was there and I think Citizen Stringer has it right.

9/09/2007 11:30 PM  
Blogger MCConfrontation said...

What's the deal with Obama and cocaine? I haven't read either of his books and simply don't know the story, but has he not admitted being a coke addict? Or did he simply admit to using?

9/10/2007 9:48 AM  
Blogger Citizen Stringer said...

The Daily Sound news article today quoted Santa Barbara City police chief (Cam Sanchez) as estimating the crowd size at 5000.

Which Presidential candidate will come to Santa Barbara next, and for free admission?

Unfortunately, had not the Big O been throwing a major bucks party later that day, the other O would not have been here at all.

We probably will not see a Presidential candidate until the flurry of touring a week prior to the Primary election in February.

9/10/2007 11:18 AM  

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