Obama In Tampa Today

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.

I digress.

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.

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About Benjamin Kirby

Benjamin J. Kirby has worked in Democratic politics, federal and local government, and issue advocacy for nearly twenty years. Currently he is the Communications Manager for a special taxing authority in Pinellas County, Florida which provides critical services to at-risk youth and underprivileged families. He has served in the non-profit sector, working for a healthcare education organization seeking to serve kidney patients and their families. He was also the Communications Director for the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN), an education and advocacy group dedicated to finding better treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Before healthcare education and advocacy, he served in staff and volunteer capacities in political campaigns, most recently volunteering for the successful Keith Fitzgerald for State House (69th District, Florida) campaign in 2006, and his subsequent 2008 and 2010 campaigns. He advised Greg Galligan for State Senate (39th District, Virginia) in 2003 and conducted research for the successful Mark Sickles for Delegate (43rd District, Virginia) campaign, also in 2003. In 2002, he served as Field Director for Arkansas' first female gubernatorial nominee, Jimmie Lou Fisher, and as Campaign Manager for Jan Schneider’s first bid against Katherine Harris for the U.S. House of Representatives in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. His first campaign was with the Clinton/Gore Presidential Campaign of 1992 in his hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas. During the Clinton Administration, Benjamin served as the first Public Affairs Officer of the United States Parole Commission within the U.S. Department of Justice, where he developed the Commission’s first website. In 1998, he developed a website for the First Lady’s White House Millennium Council. He worked for more than five years serving two Drug Czars as an Administrative Assistant and Scheduler in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He also held a variety of research and administrative positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of Presidential Personnel. Benjamin is seeking publication for his first novel, a love story set against the backdrop of the violent criminal underworld. In addition, he will soon be finishing several humorous essays reflecting on his service in the Clinton Administration. He is also the editor and publisher of The Spencerian, a political blog (http://warnerkirby.blogs.com). His fiction has been published in WordWrights! Magazine, and Apathy, a literary magazine. Born in western North Carolina and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, Benjamin now lives in Gulfport, Florida with his wife and daughter. While working for the Clinton Administration, Benjamin went to school in the evening, and received an undergraduate degree in Political Communication from George Mason University.
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3 thoughts on “Obama In Tampa Today

  1. Many of us feel that all the votes should be counted. Hillary won Florida. You can’t just write that off because you prefer a different candidate.

  2. Hi, Kathleen —
    I feel that all the votes should be counted as well. And as I said in the post, there is every indication that they will be.

    There’s no question that Hillary won Florida. That doesn’t preclude the fact that Obama, our likely nominee, was here in the Tampa area today and drew a crowd of 20,000 or so, and that we ought to do everything we can to get him elected in November.

  3. Are you my stepson, Benjamin Jay Kirby, son of Wanda Inez Kirby Martin?