Saturday, April 12, 2008

Obama's Big Score

So Barack Obama came to IU after all. There was speculation all week of course - but his campaign never officially confirmed the stop. The closest anyone got to confirmation was IUPD Capt. Jerry Minger telling reporters that his squad had, indeed, been talking to Secret Service. But what does that mean, really? For all we knew, Secret Service was just getting the feel of the place so that Obama could leave his options open.

So in the end, he came - showed up at the Stadium to watch women's Little 500 start, then headed over to Nick's to smile and shake hands for an hour or so.

So why do I care, right? Weeeellll, because it affords us an excellent opportunity to observe first-hand some of the douchebaggery that characterizes Obama supporters. Check this out (from the IDS article linked above):

Freshman Kyle Katz, who got a chance to shake Obama's hand, said he was unsure whether he would vote in Indiana's May 6 primary. But now there's no doubt.

"This guy's going all out," Katz said. "He deserves my vote."

Wha...??? How does showing up at a race qualify as going "all out?" Let's be clear on this - Obama didn't even make a stump speech. He just showed up and shook some people's hands. That's "all out," is it? As opposed to what, one wonders? Wheeling a television set playing tapes of Obama staring off into space out to Little 5 and aiming it at the track? More to the point, what does Obama's "going all out" have to do with whether he gets your vote or not? Shouldn't it, oh, I dunno, have something to do with his policy proposals and qualifications vs. Hillary's?

And then there's Bloomington's own, mayor and stalker, Mark Kruzan:

Only once has Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan, an ardent Obama booster, seen such excitement, revelry and celebration.

"It was the last time we won an NCAA Championship," he said with a smile.

Uh-huh. Becasue it's unusual that Little 5 gets rowdy. But let's take a giiiaaaant stretch, for the sake of argument, and indulge Kruzan's little fantasy that Bloomington hasn't been this fired-up since 1987. It's pathetic, if true. All Obama has to do is show up, and students go crazier than they did when the Hoosiers last brought it home?

That isn't something to be proud of, Marky. Proud would be appropriate to the situation where Obama shows up and, instead of acting like Beatlemania, students actually fired a question or two at him - at the very least a softball like "Thank you for coming, Senator. Now make the case for me voting for you." We're talking about a guy who waved at some already-drunk people during Bloomington's biggest annual bacchanalia. Is anyone honestly impressed with this?

All the same - kudos to Barack Obama and his campaign on two counts. First - it actually does take some pretty stellar organizational skills to pull off a random campaign stop at Little 500 and make it look spontaneous. I'm fairly certain Mark Kruzan has a lot to do with that - though of course I can't prove it. I mean in the form of keeping the whole thing hushed (c'mon, someone besides Minger had to know Obama was coming, right?). Second - for appreciating the atmosphere and managing to get away with a campaign non-stop. It's brilliant, when you think about it. Obama comes at the one time of year when he knows he won't have to make any speeches, answer any questions, or deal with any protestors, and walks right into a school spirit rally and gets himself associated with good times and fun parties without having to do a goddamned thing. Just wave. So Hillary just lost the Indiana college vote, essentially. Nothing she does now is gonna look as hip.

Not, fortunately, that the college vote amounts to anything. I guess Kyle Katz will somehow manage drag his drunk ass out of bed on primary day, but student voter turnout is shamefully low and always has been. Students are good at handing out fliers, hanging banners from windows, drawing chalk stick figures on sidewalks and getting their names in the local paper - but voting? Can't be bothered. Which is why you really hafta hand it to Obama for doing this on the cheap but managing to make it look sincere. Hillary's campaign had to send both Chelsea and Bill - fat lot of good that did them.

Alright, so there are competent people on Obama's campaign staff. Think one of them could fire off a memo with like, you know, some positions on things finally already?


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