a year ago today i was this close to barack obama

he spoke to a crowd of less than 10,000 at the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal City right near Hollywood. it was not a sellout.

earlier that week he spoke to bigger crowds back east. at one event Oprah was on stage with him and people had mixed feelings about her influence. it would be the last time they shared an event like that.

but here in LA he had actors and musicians warm up the crowd for him. kumar from harold & kumar was there, 86-year-old James Whitmore was there. Ne-Yo and The Goo Goo Dolls performed. They all said how much they thought of Obama and what a great job he’d do. i posted a huge story in LAist and included lots of pics.

when it was time for Barack to speak i wasnt all that impressed with him. i had heard him before earlier that year speak at a park and i hoped he’d have injected a little more soul into his voice. i was hoping his words would sing more. but they didnt. the people in the crowd cheered cuz they had Hope and they wanted to Believe. but Obama, as we would see throughout his campaign isnt a snake oil salesman, hes an even-keeled gentleman.

hes not a salesman, hes not a preacher, he’s not trying to push on you something that you dont already want. and it might be one reason that he won. (another reason might be because the other party ran an embarrassing race, who knows?)

but last year at the Gibson, Barack spoke to the crowd and the whole time i thought, could this guy really be the next president? as a black man myself i was sorta hoping that maybe he could pull it off, but as i took the tram down the hill to the subway i had all but written him off. i was all, nice night, interesting lineup of entertainers, but bro couldnt even sell out a place for $10 a ticket that Marilyn Manson could sell out for $50 a head – how is he going to get a country who voted for Bush twice to pull the lever for him?

which is why you should never quit and why you should never count anyone out. cuz not only did he win over Jesusland, but he seems to have won over the entire planet as well. sure there are pockets of doubters, but it seems to me those pockets are just as willing to be wrong as i was.

right before i saw Obama speak a year ago i wrote a post on the busblog, part of which i’d like to share with you:

im about to hear barack obama speak

a black man who’s winning in some of the polls as he runs for president of the united states.

in california just like in the rest of the world, anything can happen, so have your suit ready.

if you are really being you, and not selling out, and not pretending, and not saying the things that you think people want to hear, you might be pleasantly surprised with what people say in return.

i go to enough rock shows to know that the kids dont wanna hear what the last guy said. they dont wanna see what they saw last week.

they wanna see you.

so have your dress shoes ready and have your black socks in em and waiting.

even though he lost to Hillary in California and several other states, it still hasnt really sank in to me that he’s about to put on his Presidential black socks pretty soon. and once again, im pretty happy to be wrong about first and second impressions sometimes.

i know i have a lot of ladies who read the busblog

so i am gonna ask you for direction here

recently there was a little scandal involving Prez-elect Obama’s speechwriter. on his Facebook someone found a picture of him “groping” a cardboard cutout of the next Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. i put groping in quotes because im not exactly sure if you can grope cardboard.

Dee Dee Myers, who in the past worked as the Press Secretary for President Bill Clinton seems quite sure that you can grope cardboard. and finds a lot wrong – if not disturbing with the photo of Obama’s speechwriter and the cutout image. an excerpt from her piece in Vanity Fair:

What’s bugging me is his intention. He isn’t putting his hand on her “chest,” as most of the articles and conversations about the picture have euphemistically referred to it. Rather, his hand—cupped just so—is clearly intended to signal that he’s groping her breast. And why? Surely, not to signal he finds her attractive. Au contraire. It’s an act of deliberate humiliation. Of disempowerment. Of denigration.

And it disgusts me.

Oh, I know: If Hillary can get over it, why can’t I? Her spokesman, Phillipe Reinnes, tried to make light of the incident. “Senator Clinton is pleased to learn of Jon’s obvious interest in the State Department, and is currently reviewing his application,” he told the Washington Post in an E-mail. Obviously, she has no interest in making a federal case out of this particular incident, particularly as both the Clinton and Obama camps work on letting bygones be bygones. She has to pick her battles, and for her this ain’t a hill worth dying on.

But there is a larger issue at stake. At what point does sexist behavior get taken seriously? At what point do people get punished in ways that suggest this kind of behavior, this kind of thinking, is unacceptable? At what point do we insist there will be consequences? Clearly, that didn’t happen during the recent presidential campaign, when Hillary was—as I guess she is now—fair game. The press, the pundits, and the public could say things about her (“She’s a shrew!”) and to her (“Iron my shirt!) that were over-the-top sexist—yet got almost no reaction.

So my questions to the female readers of this blog are these: am i crazy that when i saw the photo of the speechwriter and the cutout, i didnt think anything of it? is Dee Dee putting too much energy into this? is she the crazy one? or is “groping” a cardboard cutout of a public figure an incredibly sexist thing, that as Ms. Meyers suggests should be punished?

im very confused in this matter because as you can see from the photos above, real and fake groping appears to be rampant in the world, especially when theres a camera around and people are feeling free.

top photo by hessiebell, middle photo by Kerplunk Whoops, bottom photo by thatswherebatslive all via flickr

had a hot date with a hot girl last night

while she excused herself to powder her nose the dude next to me clinked my glass as we both watched her walk into the ladies room.

im going to jail tomorrow, he said.

oh yeah?

got popped with a beer between my legs this summer while driving and the bastids want $600.

judge said pay $600 or go to jail? iasked.

yep. i can do three days easy.

ever been in before?

yep, for two months.

ah, so yeah i guess three days will be nothing.

well, he said, its still gonna suck but heres my plan.

i ordered another baileys and a cosmo for my date.

he said, you can show up any time before 10pm and it will count as one day. but im gonna show up wasted and pop a few sleeping pills before i turn myself in. then im gonna sleep all day on the second day. then they let you out around 5pm on the third day, so really, thats the only hard one. that third day.

but its really just a half day, i said.

well, its a full day, i’ll probably wake up at 8am, eat the green sandwich, and bide my time till 5.

i debated whether one should buy a fella a beer after he tells you hes going to jail for dui, but i was at a bar, and he was drinking, and its Christmastime. so i said why not and got him a shot.

my date was taking her sweet time so i said, lemme ask you a question, why not raise $600 somehow?

he said, id have to pee in a cup for a month. no way would i pass that. and if i failed theyd throw me in jail anyways.

my date tapped my shoulder. she didnt want her cosmo. she wanted to get my fireplace going, it turned out. so i downed my baileys and offered her girlie drink to my bro

who gladly accepted.