You Have The Power!
What a crowd at the Dean rally. 5000 people crammed onto Church Street, our pedestrian mall. Looks like it was at the intersection of Church and Bank (I recognized the jewelry store where I got my wife her engagement ring). Maybe my friends who were at the announcement can share their thoughts, but in the meantime, here's what I saw through CSPAN's lens...
Battle of the Signs
Probably the image that will stick with me the most was a big sign on a long pole held up in the background by either a Nader supporter or a GOP agitator.
One side read:
And the other:
It was a huge sign, optic yellow, with big, black, block lettering. I was really hoping someone would get word to Howie that this was going on. Would've been cool if he'd turned around and engaged the fellow: "Welcome back to the party!" and/or "Are you going to help Bush win again in 2004?"
Instead, resourceful souls eventually got going. A couple folks moved a ladder around and stood on it with Dean signs, though that wasn't very effective. Near as we could tell, somebody must've gotten some gardening bamboo from Pier 1 down the street, attached a lot of Dean signs, and shoved those in front of the Nader sign. Some sticks had 3 signs, some 4, and one had 3 across and 3 down. The guy didn't leave and kept moving around, which was distracting. However, by then his sign was pretty much covered up. TKO.
A thought just occurred: clearly the Nader dude showed a bit of foresight, creating a sign readable from a distance, sticking it on a long pole so it could be seen over the stage, etc. Hopefully Nader voters are foresighted enough to give up on Green in 2004.
was pretty good, IMNSHO. A few stumbles, and while he clearly had the thing memorized, he did consult his notes quite a bit. A lot of content from his standard stump speech, and he made a reference to today's Supreme Court decision on affirmative action
. Dean was appropriately passionate. I think that's one of the things I like the best about him. Very engaging. Still needs to work on the applause lines a little, but that's just another minor cosmetic thing.
Was That Howie or Jesse?
I really liked his closing, despite its being reminiscent of Jesse Jackson's "Keep hope alive!" x 3 pattern. "You have the power to..." is I think a very, uh...powerful message. I can't solve America's problems--you can. I like the idea of being empowered myself. I don't need a "father knows best" president.
One populist-like thing I would like to see him change is the "Take Back America" line. Sounds too much like the "Take Back Vermont" crap
we heard around here from the homophobes who hated the civil-unions law he signed. Rather, let's "Take America Forward", as some Vermont bumperstickers have suggested for our state.
Please, No More Dancing
When he was finished, Aretha Franklin was revved up on the sound system. Lots of hugging, handshaking, and arm raising. One thing I don't want to see in the future is Howard Dean dancing on stage. That goes double for Jim Jeffords, who was doing leg kicks! If the country sees more of this, I think the campaign is doomed.
It's Hot Here
On the whole, I still wish I'd been there, but given that I actually don't like crowds, and it's 358 degrees Kelvin, I'm probably happier at home. Still frustrated and disappointed, so in a little bit I'm going to take it out on my bike. Just my 19.3 mile "maintenance loop", with hopes of completing in an hour for a season high average speed. It'll be the hottest day I've ridden this year, so that might be a bit aggressive given my week+ layoff. We'll see.
Keep hope alive,
PS--If you missed it, you can see the rally on-demand after 6PM today.