Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The campaign trail runs through Seattle

The Kerry campaign celebrated a five-state primary victory in Seattle tonight, and I was there at the downtown Sheraton with my mom and several hundred others ranging from the wildly pro-Kerry to the definitely-leaning-in-that-direction.

Kerry's campaign had manned the phones Monday night to invite folks to Tuesday's rally at the Sheraton, something they probably regretted 24 hours later as the event overflowed from the grand ballroom into two other event rooms and hordes clogged the vast hotel lobby.

It was a nice opportunity to get a look at the crowd, a mix of mellowed-out old radicals, prosperous-looking yuppies, well-heeled gen-X-ers, and folks from various unions. It was not nearly as ethnically diverse as I'm used to seeing in Seattle, which led me to suspect that Dean is likely attracting the more artsy, diverse and hip contingent.

Prominent Democrats in Washington state have flocked to support Kerry in recent days. (Everyone loves a winner.) The festivities opened with an introduction by Governor Gary Locke, who, bless his soul, gave us a economic analysis of Bush's malfeasance before bringing on the candidate to the beat of Hendrix's "Fire." (I'm wondering, is this the campaign theme or a nod to Seattle's musical heritage?)

Kerry came across calm, upbeat, and intelligent, making a speech that ran down a list of campaign themes. Support for veterans and unions got a lukewarm response; education, jobs, and healthcare a more enthusiastic reception; and the crowd went just wild for environmental protection, the restoration of first amendment rights, tax reform, and crackdowns on corporate greed. Yup, this was Seattle, not Spokane.

Kerry invited us on a journey to rediscover America, and most in the pragmatic audience looked like they were packed and ready to go. I may be better aligned with Dean on the issues, but I'll be at my neighborhood caucus Saturday at 10, casting my vote for John Kerry. The man's a winner, and that's just what we'll need in November.

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