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Mar 04, 2008

Our Man In Ohio #1: Beyond The Phrase

This is the first in a 48 hour series of Ohio primary dispatches from photojournalist and BNN Contributer Alan Chin.

(click for full size)

In an effort to challenge the charge he lacks substance, Obama has shortened his stump speech and conducted more townhall meetings.  This event on Sunday at Westerville High School, with an extended Q and A session, lasted 2 1/2 hours, whereas most of Obama's New Hampshire appearances, more like pep rallies, ran about half-an-hour.  Alan tapped this image specifically for the way Obama slowed the pace and tempered the energy.

Of course, if a photographer was looking for something "Kennedy-esque," those opportunities were still there.  But, as Alan reports, such a shot would not have been reflective of the character of this event.

Democrat Clinton says Obama lacks substance (Reuters)
Our Man In New Hampshire (Alan Chin primary coverage 1/08 - BNN)

(image: ©Alan Chin. Westerville, Ohio, outside Columbus. March 2, 2008.  Used by permission)


This is Norman Rockwell's spiritual source, everyone gathered at the local gym for a special event, special meaning *not* basketball and *not* wrestling. There are no sky boxes here, no "free speech" zones — check that — one free speech zone.

Nearly everyone in the front rows has assumed the same posture, hands clasped together in their laps. Its a position of inner quiet, listening, and respect for the speaker. Hard to believe that attack ads are the preferred means of addressing this audience.

BTW, love the JFK-esque shot, the dazzling subtlety of light and focus that raises the subject from the background. That guy has to have the most famous back and shoulders on the planet.

Thanks to C-Span coverage, I caught Barack's live Town Hall in Parma, Ohio. He spent the first 30 minutes giving much of his stump speech, then broke off to take questions, alternating male and female.

He masterfully wove an answer to the final question, which asked about the use of fear by the government to direct and manipulate the electorate. A previous questioner had asked the Senator for his views on immigration and the prevalence of bias against same-sex couples. In answering about how fear can be instilled to divide us, Barack linked the issues that had been raised earlier, and moved on to stress his skill at working with disparate groups, talking with the opposition in order to improve the situation. Closing off questions at that point, he went on to give the remaining 10 minutes of his normal stump speech.

In a taped Town Hall at Newman Smith High School, in Carrollton, Texas, Obama did shorten the introduction, but it was still his staple commentary. The questions, again alternated side to side, male to female, included a parent among the questioners. The students asked shorter and less complex questions than the adult audience in Parma, but they were pointed and concise, nevertheless. The final one, from a young woman, revealed her sense of aimlessness and powerlessness, and provided the perfect trajectory for a rousing riff on Hope, Obama's trademark theme.

One discordant note for me was the stolid group of men and women behind the Senator. Were they the distinguished faculty? Hardly any emotion, unlike the usual group on stage behind the speaker, and in almost continual view of the camera. Very odd.

The genesis of Mr. Obama's attraction was that he expressed himself as an anti-war candidate; His magnetic oratory quickly propelled him to become the anti-war champion. Finding the message of CHANGE and the chorus, ‘YES WE CAN’ ~ Mr. Obama then soared above all other candidates, (who simply espoused micro-demographic, poll-driven causes for actions), by successfully creating a calling for a congregation : empowering Them!, not simply Him, to become a non-demographic movement; one with the potential to overcome any Republican, or the entrenched Democratic Party's power base = TheClintons.

ie, Obama has no base: Obama! a higher calling for a new, anti-base political movement.

iirc, early on Obama! did not even enjoy the backing of ‘the black-vote base’ ~ because this movement is not so simple as black or white, male or female, rich and poor causes célèbres. Unlike a collection of discrete voter base causes, Obama! is a synergy in which the whole is greater than the ‘simple sum’ of its parts participants. This is called, fwiw, the Gestalt effect.

interestingly, Obama! defined itself as an anti-violence movement = non-negative campaign implicit, thus ~ even though its effect explicit is to render irrelevant, if not entirely vanquish the controlling power basis of Democratic party rulers. Only now are many people beginning to realize this anti-Party realpolitik, imho.

Only now are many Democrats beginning to see just how far the Party's rulers will go to cling to their power bases, when their conceit of entitlement is being successfully challenged. Only now are some in the movement calling: to “Kill The Beast”.

Mr. Obama is new but Obama! is for USA a déjà vu: and The Whole World Is Watching.

YouTube => Baby, Don't Fear The Reaper

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