Obamapalooza – Day Three: No Balloons

I’ve always been a sucker for a good speech, ever since I heard JFK’s inaugural address as a fourth grader. “Ask not what your country can do for you, etc.” really stuck in my young impressionable mind and turned me into a politics junkie.

 I listened to many memorable speeches as the sixties wore on. Jack, Bobby and Martin Luther King always had the best material, and it helped that they were skilled orators. As they all died young, those speeches are their legacy and their words are as revered as the gospel to this day. They never had to face the ravenous press later in their careers and utter less inspiring lines like “I am not a crook.” 

As the years passed, there were still some gems to be found. Jimmy Carter’s Law Day speech inspired me to vote again after skipping the Nixon/McGovern contest. If there were any memorable speeches during the ’72 campaign, they are mostly filed in the trashcan of history.

But Jimmy looked like a toothy tongue-tied dwarf next to Ronald Reagan. The Gipper had the best writers in the business, and he had been fondling cameras for forty years. His TV address on the plight of Solidarity at the hands of the brutish Russians moved me to put a candle in my bedroom window. Thankfully, the curtains didn’t catch on fire.

The next speech that caught my attention was in 1984, during the Democratic convention in San Francisco. I was drawing cartoons for The Chron at our artists’ headquarters upstairs at the O’Farrell Theatre. The Mitchell Brothers had set up banks of televisions so we could see the coverage from every network. The room was full of pimps, prostitutes and other political types, but we all stopped what we were doing when Mario Cuomo gave the keynote address. 

Cuomo was animated and articulate, and hammered on the themes of fairness and compassion. Everyone agreed that his star was on the rise. Unfortunately, he peaked too soon and eventually got fired from his job as Governor of New York. Today, I couldn’t give you one quote from that speech.

Which brings us to the present, and Barack Obama’s climactic final address to the troops as they trudge home to fight the good fight. It was mostly rehashed promises from other speeches, but brilliantly executed. If there was any truth in it, it was his assertion that we are the change. If we keep going the way we are, the future will be grim indeed. If we can’t find common ground, it will erode from under all of us, Republican, Democrat, and Middle Earthers like me.

Due to the last minute change of venue, there was no traditional balloon drop. After the President’s standing ovation, the room fell silent and Cardinal Dolan came on to remind everyone that abortion and homosexuals are uncool in the eyes of the Almighty. No wonder they left God off the platform.

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7 Responses to Obamapalooza – Day Three: No Balloons

  1. Robert Lovejoy says:

    Finally watched Obama’s 2004 speech after hearing it is the best speech of the century so far. Think he was just a state senator, but one good speech. Fell asleep during Obama’s 2012 speech. Was it as flat as they say? Sorry, Mr. President, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
    On thing Crabb wrote that stuck me: “If we keep going the way we are, the future will be grim indeed.” Yep, the jobs report this morning looks gloomy. 360,000 people just disappeared out of the jobs market. Where did they go? Not on unemployment , not on Social Security. Did the rapture happen while Obama was speaking? Maybe alien abductions. Not again! With the economy producting 90,000 last month AND the smallest labor force in a generation, I think Crabb is spot on. Grim future. If Biden and Obama call this a recovery (since 6/09), wonder what their idea of non recovery is?
    Don’t know if Romney can do any better, but it can’t hurt to find out. Like Clinton said the other night “No Democrat President can fix this economy.” Ok, I added on small word.

    • Ryan Mount says:

      Other parts of the world, were not celebrating. Not the hope and change they were hoping for:


      It’s easy to smile when you don’t have hellfires coming at you, ain’t it?

    • Robert Lovejoy says:

      Pictures of the Nevada County Celebration leave this viewer with several questions. Where are all the people of color? How come I am not represented? Where is the diversity? How come they all look middle aged and white? Is this the face of the Democrat party? Are they consuming adult beverages and driving? Did they bow their heads in prayer at the closing of the convention? Guess it does not matter one lick now that we are in the post racial era. Maybe the drinking and driving matters. Maybe praying for a designated driver.

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        Middle aged? If you think that crowd was middle aged, you too are on the AARP mailing list. Elderly is more descriptive.

        And yes, very white and well fed.

      • So I guess the local LE and CHP were not on the job last night? Why not look it up before making false accusations? For the record I had one Margarita and one full dinner, and then had an hour of shooting before I left.

  2. What do you expect in the second whitest county in the state where the average age is 10 years above the state average?

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