I attended both Presidential candidates’ rallies in Anchorage yesterday.
Obama-Biden rally – Approximately 1200 rally-goers, lots of homemade signs, voter registration, postcard writing, live band, t-shirt/button sales with long lines, lots of families and dogs (some with signs), outside on the Park Strip. Noticeable racial diversity in the crowd.
Focus of rally: Hope, change, moving forward, getting out the vote, labor, women’s issues, health care, the economy, veterans, Alaska natives.
McCain-Palin rally – Approximately 250ish rally-goers, hundreds of empty chairs, pre-printed campaign signs, t-shirt/button sales, high school band, very few kids, no dogs, inside in a cavernous convention hall.
Focus of rally: Terrorism, military, fear of those who “hate us”, Obama rally is angry and filled with hate, think of all that Alaska will get if Sarah is elected, oil, get out the vote, war. Noticeable lack of racial diversity in the crowd.
Yes, I am an Obama supporter. Yes, I had a rollicking good time at the Obama rally. Yes, I found the McCain-Palin rally empty (on many levels) and depressing. But trying really really hard to be “objective”, that was my take of what I observed.
Here’s my beef. The Anchorage Daily News covered the McCain-Palin rally, as you would expect they would. But, they did not cover the Obama rally. The article on the cover of today’s Anchorage Daily News entitled Pro-Palin Rally Gets Surprise Guests had 535 words. 489 of them were about the McCain-Palin rally, the surprise pop-in from Todd and Piper Palin, and included quotes and observations from the rally-goers. 44 of those words were about the Obama-Biden rally….the rally with four times as many attendees; the rally that flew in the face of Sarah-mania on her home turf; the rally that showed the rest of the country that there is significant support for a Democratic candidate in the state of Alaska. There were no quotes or interviews. Here are the 44 words:
The Saturday [Palin] rally had plenty of competition downtown as Alaska supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama held a rally and voter registration drive on the chilly Delaney Park Strip nearby. Hundreds of Obama fans crowded sidewalks and waved signs as cars streamed by.
The Obama-Biden rally was the largest rally for a presidential candidate in Alaskan history. There were similar rallies held all across Alaska, with hundreds in attendence in Fairbanks, on the Kenai Penninsula, and even in Juneau! In a state where it can be politically risky to “out” yourself as a progressive-sympathizer, a Palin opponent, or…(gulp)…an Obama “operative” as the McCain campaign is fond of calling anyone with a sign, this was incredible. It was, I would argue, the biggest political news of the day.
Alaskans know Sarah Palin, and they just voted with their feet, and their Saturday afternoon. Where did they go? 4 to 1 they went to the Obama rally. Now, don’t get me wrong, McCain and Palin may still win this state. She’s got the “home team right or wrong” vote, she’s got the “Alaska will get more stuff” vote, she’s got the “underinformed voter” vote, and she’s got the extreme Evangelical vote. But she does not have the enthusiastic, engaged, willing to turn out, get off the couch, and do something vote. And those are usually the people that actually make a difference. So kudos to the Alaska Obama campaign for pulling it off, and doing it with positive energy, hard work, and style. So, in my world, here’s the headline in the Anchorage Daily News that you deserve.
Obama Rally Dwarfs Palin Rally in Anchorage. Surprising Lack of Support for Governor.
In closing, my newly invented “Moose Nugget” award goes to the Anchorage Daily News. Not because they didn’t do their job, but because they only did half of it.