Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Finally, Bar-ack HAS COME BACK to Minnesota (Part Two)

The invisible man can still draw a crowd

While the South Dakota and Montana polls closed and Hillary made her (not really a) concession speech, we were kept in the dark. The scoreboard stayed showing crowd shots (even with a crowd this hype, it got really old after the camera had been around the arena three times,) Obama highlight reels, and that Will I am video (overheard by some people near me: “Who’s that tall one?” “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.” “Who?” “The guy who did the skyhook.” “Ohhhh, him.” Somehow I think that description didn’t help.) Most of the crowd had no idea that Hill Dawg did not actually concede during her speech, as we missed out on the tragic story of the kid who sold his bike and video games so we could hear a medley of songs that included U2’s “City of Blinding Light,” The All American Rejects “Move Along” (a subliminal shot at the Clinton campaign?) and at least one country song that had something to do with America, or at least had “America” somewhere in the hook. Hell, if not for the couple with the binoculars that could see into the luxury boxes (which were all tuned to MSNBC despite the fact that no one was using them,) I wouldn’t even have known that she gave a speech.

Yes, the best shot of her I got was on the scoreboard. Be mad.

Finally, at about 9 p.m. (there were no clocks in the arena,) University of Minnesota communications teacher Joann Syverson gave her introduction. Even though most of the crowd had no idea who she was, her speech went over incredibly well to the warmed up crowd, even though she was playfully booed for admitting she was at one time a Republican. Then she said the words “Michelle and Bar . . .” and at that point my hearing almost stopped (BTW, the purple dress on Michelle was a nice touch.) The X was going absolutely batshit insane. I’ve seen a Senator who got 85% of his state’s vote speak on election night, and I saw George W Bush speak, months after 9/11 (you know, when he was still popular) in a very Republican town. Take the reaction to those two events, combine them with the Minnesota Wild’s first ever franchise victory (which also happened to be the first event at Xcel I ever attended) and you still don’t have the reaction Obama got from that crowd. He could have gone up there to read the warranty on his microwave and people would have absolutely loved it.

Hey, is that John Cand . . . nope, just some blogger.

If you saw the speech, you know what happened. He declared victory in the Democratic race, thanked Hill Dawg for putting up a fight and started in on McCain. At times, the crowd was too loud to even hear him, so I had to turn to the closed captioning on the scoreboard. Around me, everyone was standing. Several times the candidate had to stop and quiet the crowd, like during the Orwellian moment when a random “Yes We Can” chant broke out.

At about 9:45, the speech ended and people eventually filed out of the arena. Aside from being asked to save suffering animals in South St. Paul (isn’t telling me about something that lives in South St. Paul “suffering” redundant?) it was a peaceful walk to my car.

A few months from now, the scene at the X will be quite different. It will be Republicans packing the house to hear John McCain (among dozens of others) speak. And while I don’t doubt there will be some memorable moments at the RNC, the bar has been set pretty high if they want to turn this traditionally blue state red in November.

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