Monday, February 11, 2008

Fascinating Times

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The more I look at this presidential race, the more I am led to conclude that there is no real "establishment" on the right or the left. Certainly not one that is centrally organized and controlled by a few elites of whatever persuasion. There do seem to be clumps of people who share mindsets of conventional wisdom. I do not think people are lambs led astray, but perhaps we have the partially-blind leading the partially-blind, if you will.

Given that keeping a GOP contest in the public eye is good for the presumptive nominee, and given that the purpose of a series of contests is to have a contest up-and-down the line, I find it fascinating that so many want Huckabee to drop out because of math possibilities or impossibilities. Economic conservatives and national security conservatives would scream loudly (and many of them are) if they felt their voices were being short-circuited and discounted; yet, they don't mind suggesting that social, values-based conservatives should be shut down. I ran, and won -- barely -- a city primary against a values-based conservative. These are good honest folks (who may or may not be wrong about a lot of things) with whom I may or may not agree about a lot of things. While it may not be possible to make political alliance with them either within or across party lines, it is possible to garner their respect, but not if their voices are shut down and not heard. Where mutual respect is lacking, there is no hope for consensus about much of anything.

On the Democratic side, there was enthusiasm for this contest from an early date, but the clumps of conventional mindset assumed, sub-rosa I think, that Clinton would prevail at the end. All of that wisdom is being challenged, and very possibly will be replaced. If, as expected, Obama carried MD, VA, DC, and WI in the next eight days -- primary elections all -- I don't believe even the Clinton machine can reverse the momentum and maintain a firewall in Texas and Ohio on March 5.

Newspapers in Dallas, El Paso, Austin, and San Antonio -- and Cleveland -- have endorsed Obama. The juggernaut will continue to pick up steam. But we can't know the scores until the games are played.

We may not like the process. We may not appreciate the viewpoints that prevail. Nonetheless, the collective of the body politic, more-right or more-left, prevails at any given time in the tides of history.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Tides of history...battleground Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

When it was announced on Thursday this week that Obama would rally at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis today, James and I secured E-tickets; Friday morning there were none left. The tickets said that Target Center's doors would open at 1:30pm.

This morning, we received emails from the Obama campaign stating that tickets did not guarantee entry -- first-come, first-served. We headed down and arrived at Target Center at 1pm.

We could see that the skyways leading to the TC from all directions were clogged with people, and we set out to find the end of the line on the street. You can Google TC to look at a map surrounding the place. The line wound around the main entrance on 1st Avenue North, around the corner on Sixth Street to 2nd Avenue North, and then to 7th Street, and then north past the site of the new Twins stadium, past the garbage burner, to Highway 55/Olson Highway/Sixth Avenue North. That's where we found the end of the line at 1:10pm. The line continued to wrap around 6th Avenue, back to 5th Street, and back toward downtown.

At 1:35pm, the line moved forward about 30 feet. By 1:45pm, another 20 feet. Few, including us, were dressed for the weather for such a period of time, and it became clear that we would need to leave early so James could make a 4pm appointment elsewhere. At 2pm, we left our place in line and joined hundreds who were abandoning the effort while hundreds more were still walking towards us -- having no idea how far away they were from the end of the line!

The crowd was a total mix of ages and races. Everyone quietly very happy. One person saying, "Even if I don't get in, I won't be mad because this is spectacular!"

The television news and CNN covered the rally of 20,000 which got underway about 4pm.

Romney also was in town today. Hillary will be here tomorrow. Ron Paul is coming through on Monday.