Obama Survives Durham Rain; Floods Romney with Criticism

On Monday, I attended the campaign speech by President Obama at Oyster River High School in Durham. If you want to attend a presidential campaign event, you’re going to have to pay a price. No, I don’t mean an admission price. I mean a price in discomfort.

I’ve been attending political gatherings for over 40 years, and I’ve learned that almost anything can happen. It can be too hot or too cold. Bad weather can cause the event to be cancelled. The featured speaker can fail to appear. Or the speaker can be late – sometimes very late. I attended a political dinner in Pennsylvania many years ago where the meal was delayed until the featured guest , then Gov. Milton Shapp, showed up 3 hours late. At that point, the audience was chewing on the napkins and the tablecloths.

So, on Monday, I wasn’t surprised when drenching rains flooded the road as I drove to hear Obama speak. I was within sight of the high school when I made a wonderful mistake – I discovered that I had left my admission ticket at home, so I had to drive back to get it.
Why a wonderful mistake? Because that meant I avoided standing for an hour in a long line in the pouring rain while I waited for the doors to open for the event. The soggy line serpentined its way down the driveway to the high school, out the entrance, and far down the street. When I returned, the doors were open, and I entered  school without problems only to find a massive crowd (estimated at 1200) sweltering in a huge sauna, otherwise known as the gymnasium (an additional 750 were in an adjacent room). It was hot, and it was humid. My misery was only compounded by the next turn of events.

The event was scheduled to begin at noon, but Obama didn’t start speaking until 2 p.m. That wasn’t surprising. On average, political speakers are an hour late – they want to be sure everyone is in the building and let anticipation grow before they stride to the podium. Given that Obama’s plane had to fly through lousy weather, it was perhaps more surprising that he was there at all.

Obama said that the upcoming election will contrast two fundamentally different political philosophies which has led to a stalemate in governance. Romney, said Obama, argues that we should go back to the failed GOP strategies of the last decade. Romney advocates repealing regulations on oil companies, insurance companies, and banks when it was a lack of regulation of these bodies which led to  economic collapse and recession in 2008.

Romney, according to Obama, would keep all the Bush tax cuts in place, including those on the wealthy, when it is these tax reductions which have ballooned the nation’s deficit. And, he said, Romney would seek $5 trillion in additional budget cuts largely from programs benefitting the middle class, not the rich. Millionaires and billionaires, by contrast,  would be given a $250,000 tax cut. Obama noted, “These policies were tested, and they failed. Prosperity comes not from the top, but from the middle class.”

By contrast, said the President, he favors programs that stress our common interests. “Government can’t solve all our problems, and it shouldn’t. We shouldn’t be in the business of helping those who refuse to help themselves. Caring families, neighbors, friends, and fellow parishioners play a large role in our success.”

But, Obama noted, we should follow the advice of the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln. “Lincoln said, ‘We should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves.’ Together, we have built railroads, highways, the Hoover Dam, and the Golden Gate Bridge. We didn’t do these things for any particular individual; we did them because they benefitted everyone.”

Obama closed by reflecting upon the upcoming election. He expects it to be close, noting that Republicans will spend more money during the campaign than has been spent at any time in American history. Obama notes that the GOP has great message discipline, repeating the same negative points over and over again.
“That may be a plan to win an election,” said Obama, “but it isn’t a way to govern; to create jobs; to restore the economy; or to reduce the deficit.”

When I left Oyster River High School, the rain had stopped, and later in the afternoon the sun appeared. Apparently, the weather gods approved of Obama’s message.

  • hannah

    While focusing on the deficit may just be a ploy to make the hoarders pay more of their fair share by embarrassing lawmakers who might be inclined to pander to their selfishness, a federal deficit “doesn’t matter” as Dick Cheney famously said.
    Our money is worthless, an icon or token of value, which is only significant, if people don’t have enough to mediate what they have to trade and exchange.  And that only happens when the supply of the currency is artificially constrained.
    Why would anyone want to do that? Because putting the brakes on an economy is a sure sign of power–like reining in a string of horses and making them stay in place.
    It has been reported that the U.S. “lost” $40 trillion of nominal value in the crash of 2008.  But, unlike when a hurricane blows or a tsunami carries whole communities out to sea, America’s real assets are still in place. So, the vlaue “lost” obviously wasn’t real.  Which is why the Federal Reserve was able to replace about a quarter of the dollars by issuing some credits.
    Yes, several million Americans are no longer getting paid for their labors, but that’s mostly the result of politicians buying into the “not enough money” scam. Why would they do that?  Because one man’s deprivation is another man’s key to power.
    To be honest, I didn’t like the “balanced budget” blather when Al Gore spewed in the ’90s and I don’t like it any better now.  But now I’ve got some back-up. The Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) people, under the leadership of James Galbraith (son of John K.), have actually formalized an explanation for why, in a sovereign nation which issues its own currency, deficits are irrelevant, except as a political ploy (power play).

  • Chaz Proulx

    I must admit to political laziness. When I heard about the event last week I decided I was going to work–partially because I’m playing catch up and partly because I didn’t want to be uncomfortable.

     When the secret service is involved you know you are going to overheat or freeze. There are good reason’s of course–I’m not complaining.

    So thanks to you and all the troopers that went yesterday! And thanks for the report.

  • mevansnh

    to attend the rally, and walked through the rain, only to be escorted into a stuffy anteroom with a large tv screen.  I turned around and left.  I was very disappointed.  I hadn’t driven all that way to see the President on a television monitor, or to sit in a room with a group of soaked supporters.  I’m too old for that.  Why did they pass out more tickets than they had room for, or better, why hadn’t a larger hall or auditorium been selected for the event?  To say the least, it was a very disappointing experience.

    • elwood

      so I can’t blame Obama too much..

  • chrisv

    They said that President Obama spoke to them in person before he addressed the larger crowd in the gymnasium.  They were thrilled that they got to see him in person, and said it was worth the wait, even with two small children.  

  • JeffBallardforSenate

    Gary,

    It was a pleasure to share the event with you an Lenore!  I couldn’t have asked for better seats, or better seat mates!

    I was wishing I went with a polo rather than suit, but it was worth while and I got some great photos!  Now I just wish I could find a photo of me and the President shaking hands before he went on stage.

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