Senator Barack Obama, who has just won the majority of pledged delegates and is very likely to be our nominee, will be in Tampa today at the St. Pete Times Forum. If you’re going to be here in our neighborhood, and at the rally specifically — and I really wish I was — arrive early. Like, now.
I am under no illusions — the Senator from Illinois has some work to do here. He followed the rules set by the Democratic Party, and now grassroots Democrats are angry with him for “ignoring” this state in the primaries. They’re even madder at the party for “disenfranchising” them by excluding their votes — punishment for moving the primary date — from the convention in August.
Never mind that Obama was, as I said, following the rules laid out by the Party. Never mind that there is virtually no question anymore that the delegates from Florida — and our partner in political “crime,” Michigan — will in every likelihood be seated.
Never mind. A lot of Democrats are mad.
But political time is different than normal people time. It stretches out, thanks to the 24-hour news cycle. So, not to be a jerk, but four weeks and three days, seems like nine weeks and five days. One day may seem like a week and the second day may seem like five days and the third day may seem like a week again and the fourth day may seem like eight days and the fifth day you went to see your mother and so that seemed just like a day and then you came back and later on the sixth day, in then evening, when we saw each other, that started seeming like two days, so in the evening it seemed like two days spilling over into the next day and that started seeming like four days, so at the end of the sixth day on into the seventh day, it seemed like a total of five days. And the sixth day seemed like a week and a half.
The point is, a lot can happen in a little amount of time. And between now and November, there’s a whole lot of time.
Both The Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times editorial pages take Obama to task, at varying degrees, for not being available to Florida voters sooner. And both raise legitimate issues which Senator Obama must address in order to begin to at least satisfy Florida voters. The Trib leads off with trade, and the Times leads off with gas prices and the environement (actually, if you get down to it, they’re both really environmental questions). It doesn’t take much to believe that Obama will do more than just provide satisfactory answers to issues like Social Security and the environment. Given the opposition Democrats face at the top of the ticket in November, I expect that Obama should be able to win them over wholeheartedly.
It appears the local newspapers have done a good job of reflecting the mood of the area, maybe even Florida as a whole. Democrats — and Floridians — are ready to have a serious conversation about serious policy issues, and they are willing to listen to Senator Obama. Starting today.
UPDATE: Tampa Bay’s 10 is reporting a line at the St. Pete Times Forum that “stretches out of sight.” Sounds like Obama, and his area hosts, Congresswoman Kathy Castor and Representative Keith Fitzgerald, are going to have a good day.