Thursday, October 28, 2004

Hyde Park co-op closing 47th street store (with some useless DJW trivia)

Crain's Chicago Business reports here that the Hyde Park co-operative grocery store (see? The whole world doesn't have to be built around investor returns) is closing its 47th street grocery store, and mentions that the store draws "local luminaries like mystery-book author Sara Paretsky and Democratic Senate hopeful Barack Obama."

I remember one time in early 2000 I was shopping there at 10 at night and ran into Barack in the aisles. He was running against Bobby Rush at the time, and his comment struck a nerve. He said "Dan, I am bone tired. It's one event after another."

And that was the first time I realized how hard it is to run for office. Let alone *win*. It looks easy. But it is hard, hard work.

(Channeling Dennis Miller. .) If you'll let me go on a little rant here, can you imagine how hard it is to stay on message? All day, every day? I think I worked pretty hard on the Obama primary, but realistically, I had a job. So the most I put in (the *most*) was an hour or two a day. And by the last week of the campaign, I grew to hate talking about Barack. I said the same thing again, and again, and again. And even though it worked, it was mind-numbing to repeat the same thing and act like it was fresh. My line was "you know that guy Obama? He was my law teacher. Oh yeah! He's great. Very intelligent. And you know what? He's the only one who has been a senator. In Springfield. Yeah, a state senator. And he's been one of the best. None of the others have been legislators at all. But, you know, they all would make good Senators. But Barack. . .he will make a great U.S. Senator." It was a good pitch. Personal. Differentiated Barack from the rest of the field. But man: I almost ripped my tongue out by March 10th I was so bored of repeating it.

Now imagine you are Barack (or any major candidate, for that matter). And you know what lines work. You know what resonates. Because you say those lines every day. To three or five or eight different audiences. Every. Single. Day.

It's like that scene in The Candidate with Robert Redford that closes out the film, when he's in the backseat of the car, and he says his name (McKay, I think) and his slogan "A Better Way." And he says it again. And again. And then he sticks out his tongue and yells incoherently. Like. . .blagga blagga blah!

No real point to that rant. So, continue on. Nothing to see here.

But, as long as I'm incoherently ranting, did anyone else absolutely not care about the Obama-Keyes debate? I watched every presidential debate. But with a fifty point lead (meaning 3 million votes for Barack and 1 million votes for Keyes), what's the point? They should have included Jerry Kohn, the Libertarian Senate candidate. It's not like the debates will affect the race, so at least they would be interesting. It's a fiction to think of this as a two-person race. It's not a race at all. It's a coronation.

Oh, last one. My Obama 2020 prediction (meaning how high can the Ba-Rocket go by 2020).

Not President.

Not Vice-President.

Not Supreme Court Justice.

Instead: Senate Majority Leader.

If you haven't read Robert Caro's Master of the Senate on Lyndon Johnson's term as Majority Leader, then do it, and then see if you agree with me. One quality of Barack's that gets overlooked is how shrewd he is. He's a great framer of issues and also excellent at making others feel comfortable with him. Now that he doesn't have to deal with some the more (ahem) parochial elements of the Illinois Senate caucus, I think his legislative leadership skills will shine through (he wasn't in leadership with President Jones, remember). Starting in January (and really, already) he's going to be a major force in the U.S. Senate Democratic caucus and will rise quickly into a position of party leadership.

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