Friday, March 28, 2008
Obama-mania in Pittsburgh!
Today, Senator Barack Obama made his first major appearance in the Steel City as a presidential candidate. Over 2,500 Obama-starved Western Pennsylvanians packed the historic Soldiers and Sailors Hall on the campus of Pitt to hear Senator Obama's message of hope, unity and change.
In an interesting twist, Senator (and Super Delegate) Bob Casey who is the favorite son of Pennsylvania's first political family, was on hand to introduce and endorse Obama's candidacy for President. Another super delegate of note, Congressman Jason Altmire was in the house as well. I've heard that Hillary's negatives are above 50% in his suburban Pittsburgh district. So does that mean we should expect an Altmire endorsement soon?
Obama spoke for nearly an hour bringing the crowd to its' feet about 20 times, in an atmosphere more fitting of a Kanye West concert. A who's who of Western Pennsylvania was in house including Bill Goodrich, Bev Smith, City Council President Doug Shields, Greg Spencer, Kevin Joyce, City Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess and City Controller Michael Lamb to name a few. I was really impressed by the diversity and enthusiasm of the crowd, I've been to many political rallies and never seen so many "regular people" at a political event before.
It's funny, I've been following this campaign for over a year and thought I knew what Obama-mania was all about. I thought I knew all about it, I must say I didn't then but I do now. It was part rock concert, part mega church service, part sporting event and part self-help seminar. As someone who has spent the better part of this decade getting people involved in the political process, I was excited. To call it electric would be an understatement, it was much more than that. My question is, can that energy sustain itself over time? And I worry about the danger of one person being so associated with a movement. What happens to the movement if there is no Obama presidency?