2008 Pioneer Square Gets “Fired Up!” For Obama. Kind of.
posted by December 11 at 10:50 AMon
Posted by Ryan S. Jackson
He was an older gentleman in a slighty-tattered windbreaker and a USS Missouri ball cap, and he left precious little doubt over whether he would be caucusing for Senator Barack Obama next year.
The tirade opened with a vivid recounting of the 9/11 terrorist attacks (“I saw them jump from the towers!”) before devolving into a spirited, “Fuck your Obama! I said fuck your Obama… your Osama!” He then proceeded to take Obama’s supporters gathered in Pioneer Square on a guided tour of the America-at-War greatest hits: Germany, Japan, the Cold War, Iraq War 1. He also didn’t want anyone to forget Pearl Harbor.
It was the single real moment of conflict in the Washington State For Barack Obama rally that kicked off at the corner of 1st and Yesler at noon yesterday. Obama is set to swing through Seattle tonight for an event at the Showbox in SoDo, and the press release listed the Pioneer Square event as a “Welcome to Washington, Barack” celebration.
Eighteen very cold people had shown up by 12:30 and were engaged in a vigorous sort of sign waving and cheering, often in competition with a nearby man in the tattered Santa-outfit singing “Frosty the Snowman” at the top of his lungs. This seemed in no way to dent the spirits of the volunteers, and for the most part the passing city residents responded well. A sign that said, “Honk For Obama!” soon added car horns to the chants of the supporters and the increasingly hoarse Santa of Yesler Avenue.
I had found myself with Taylor Montgomery, an Obama volunteer who had come to Seattle from Denver with some of the Obama staff. Sporting a pierced eyebrow and wire-rim glasses, he turned into something of a camera magnet among the media who had shown up.
I asked him what had drawn him to Obama rather than the other candidates. “Well I really do think it’s his message. Edwards and Hillary have known factors, like everyone knows who they are and kind of know what they’ve done. I think there’s not a feeling that they can change, and make things change.”
A couple of the people I talked to said they had their political awakening during Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign, and you could sense some easy parallels in their hopes for change in the Democratic party. The most interesting aspect, however, seemed to be the enthusiasm with which the supporters claimed Obama could bridge partisan issues without compromising his core ideals. If Dean’s candidacy was in part powered by people who respected the fact that he wouldn’t compromise to the then-electorally-rampaging conservative majority, it appears that many who came out yesterday seemed to respect the fact that Obama would try to effectively work with an electorally-tarnished conservative minority.