Friday, January 11, 2008

Apathy, Shmapathy

I don't think that anything can measure the excitement that Barack has created about the Presidential race as does the torrid pace of new voter registrations.

I sent out an e-mail last week to remind people about the looming deadline and to encourage them to participate in this historic election. The replies were all marked by an almost giddy eagerness by people about the election.

In my little neighborhood district office alone, we registered dozens of new voters on just Monday and Tuesday, which was the deadline. First time voters, recent grads still registered in another state, people bringing their roommates in to register, but all people looking forward to February 5th.

(By the way, unregistered voters can still register and vote, but it must be done at the Board of Elections. When registering during the “grace period,” a person needs to show two valid pieces of identification, one showing the current residence address.)

According to Jim Allen, communications director for the Chicago Board of Elections, between January 3, the day of the Iowa caucuses, and January 8, when traditional voter registration closed in Illinois, nearly 20,000 city residents signed up to vote. And the registrations were "heavily skewed" to people under 30, Allen said.

Now obviously, in my opinion, a lot of this is Barack-centric. But what's magnifying it even more is his timing. We have a leader with the charisma to win young people over and the substance to back it up who is hitting the scene in a perfect convergence with the YouTube etc. explosion that has irreparably changed the political landscape by drawing in this same demographic.

The same way that a telegenic John F. Kennedy may have closed the door on a sweaty Richard Nixon during their televised debate (at the old CBS studio on McClurg Ct. btw), Barack is a natural to appeal to the MySpace generation, evidenced only in part by the wave of online contributions received by the campaign.

So what does it mean? If the country stays on the pace reflected in the record turnouts in Iowa and New Hampshire, with many of the new participants being newly-engaged young adults energized by the 'tall, skinny kid with the funny name', we may soon be calling him Mr. President. And I'm good with that.


At January 11, 2008 at 7:40 AM, Blogger Bill Baar said...

Obama may be getting the kids (he has mine) but I can tell you their fickle.

HRC has the working moms, and the working single moms. They're dependable. They're used to supporting people. I think HRC can count on their support too.

At January 11, 2008 at 9:17 AM, Anonymous lake county democrat said...

The way I see it, Obama is 2008's version of Jimmy Carter in 1976. He runs 1) as someone who will "unify the nation" (Cater-Watergate, Obama-Bush/Iraq), 2) as someone outside the beltway and 3) on a great intellect (Carter: nuclear engineer, Obama: Harvard Law).

This extends to policy: Obama literally offers Zbigniew Brzezinski, Clinton offers Madelline Albright. Clinton offers Rubinomics (Bob Woodward's "The Agenda" shows her role in passing the 1993 budget), Obama isn't exactly a deficit dove, but he's less comitted to paygo. I also wish people would stop hyping his Iraq War position -- a candidate from Hyde Park running in 3rd place in the primaries was no more likely to support the war than Ann Coulter would support abortion rights.

Hillary Clinton is a very flawed candidate -- I might vote for Edwards in hopes of keeping the convention open. But Barrack Obama is winning as a rosarch test -- whenever I actually try to talk POLICY with people (compare their health care plans, energy plans (Obama's is better), people go blank -- but they'll call you a racist or worse if you don't support him.

What sticks out most for me about Obama is how he refused to use his immense political capital to do anything substantive (no, I don't count Avian Bird Flu). He stayed neutral rather than buck Emil Jones in the Stroger races. He threw his arms around Daley despite the John Birge torture scandal, and endorsed Dorothy Tillman. A Constitutional Law professor endorsing Dorothy Tillman! Nationally, he stood by and let the 2006 Congressional Ethics bill get gutted when if he had spoken up it could probably have passed as originally drafted. I also feel he backstabbed the Save Darfur movement -- he didn't do squat until George Clooney and Oprah took it up, then became highly visible, then dropped it like a hot potato upon running for office and then taking positions against what most (not all) people in the movement lobby for and what he seemed to endorse at a big Washington D.C. rally.

Of course, all politicians act in their own interest in these ways, but Obama gets a pass that I can't imagine ANY other candidate getting. He's probably going to be nominated but don't say you weren't warned.

At January 11, 2008 at 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you under the impression that the "MySpace Generation" is an ultimately informed and intelligent group as a whole? Remember last election, we had Paris Hilton getting out the vote for Kerry only to eventually forget to vote herself. I'm glad everyone finds Barack such a cool guy-but haven't we learned that presidential credentials should go a little further. This is our nation's president we're talking about, not our senior class.

At January 11, 2008 at 3:48 PM, Anonymous DuPage Saint said...

Wouldn't it be nice for a change to have a president that can string a few sentences together coherently and make you enthused instead of having someone who cannot string a few words, let alone a sentence, together, as we have now. And no disresptect to HRC, but who needs someone hectoring you like an 8th grade librarian (no offense to librarians).

At January 14, 2008 at 10:35 AM, Anonymous lake county democrat said...

To DuPage: So your advice is that instead of restoring the only administration in my lifetime when there was peace and prosperity, I should roll the dice with someone else because he will motivate me, (even though on most of his major policy positions, I prefer his opponents plans). I guess I'm getting old, but I decline (at least for the primaries).

At January 14, 2008 at 1:10 PM, Anonymous DuPage Saint said...

Yeah, peace prosperity, corruption and Lies Lies Lies. She still cannot stick to one story when two or three will do. Everyone always takes her statement out of context or her spokesman misspoke and she did not mean what he said, they spoke without checking with her, sure! Go with the inspiration

At January 14, 2008 at 2:16 PM, Anonymous DuPage Saint said...

PS Bob Johsnon of BET campaigning for HRC said that the Clintons were out helping Blacks while Obama was doing you know what in neighborhood check his book. Bill says Johnson was not alluding to drugs meant Obama was organizing in the neighborhood. Right, if the Clintons or their lackies ever told the truth when caught it would be a first. What a class group.

At January 15, 2008 at 10:44 AM, Anonymous lake county democrat said...

Again, so much for real issues. But to address the "character" issue directly, at least Hillary doesn't belong to a church that named Louis Farrakhan "Man of the Year" and praised him in near-saintly terms. Imagine if Hillary's church named, say, that Rev. Phelps as "Man of the Year" and she didn't issue a statement of condemnation or resign. Whatever. The Dems natinoally are acting like the Illinois Dems and destroying their own -- I can't imagine either a good segment of African-American or Jewish voters bolting the nominee whoever he/she is, especially if the GOP nominates McCain. Which is why at least as of now I'm voting Edwards and hoping for a deadlocked convention.


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