Obama Re-Election Campaign Opens State Headquarters Near City Hall
Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign (yes, already) celebrated its kickoff in Philly last night by opening its state campaign headquarters on 15th and Chestnut streets to supporters, volunteers, and the curious—in other words, anyone who RSVP’d on the ol’ interwebs.
“This is the earliest election campaign in memory,” said Kevin Washo, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. If that’s true, it must be for a sense of urgency: the president’s approval rating hovers at 22 percent, while GOP candidates (except Ron Paul) are getting lots of air time, courtesy of the nation’s free and independent news networks.
For most of those at the party last night, Obama is their choice through and through, while for others, he’s the lesser of two evils (say, oh, I dunno, Mitt Romney). But expect this to be a campaign like all others.
“This campaign will be run just like 2008,” said Democratic organizer Sam Jones, addressing the hundreds squeezed into what normally would be a spacious corridor at the new offices. He implied that Obama’s campaign will be grassroots, “Neighbors talking to neighbors.”
And it’ll be just like all other campaigns in other ways, too.
Hyperbole, for one. Citing a hypothetical situation in which a 12-year-old boy wants to drop out of school and his teacher’s too worried for her job to save him, and his older brother who did everything right is unemployed, Councilman Bill Green said, “Barack is going to change all of that for everybody.”
State Sen. Anthony Williams stepped onto the soapbox, warning of the “hollow rhetoric” that he’s “sick of” on news stations. “Since day one, Obama’s been on the job. This country is still at risk. He got some of the most dreaded terrorists off the face of this earth” (without due process, but who’s counting?); “I feel safe every day I walk around in this country.”
And as Williams stepped down and the crowds began shuffling toward the food tables—pizza, hoagies, potato chips, Coca-Cola and Tastykakes, God bless America—the DJ queued up “Celebrate Good Times.”
Carol Trotman, a stay-at-home mom, is a neighborhood team leader for the campaign in Cheltenham. “He’s the president of the people,” she said. “I was worried about banks failing” in 2008, because her daughter was entering college and “I needed loans for my daughter for her to continue her education.” She says Obama did the right thing with the bailout.
“I know Obama cares about America and wants change,” she said. After the financial meltdown of 2008, “he had to stop the things he wanted to do in order to stop us from going into a depression,” she said. “He needs four more years.”
Luci Ryan, a retired schoolteacher, thinks Obama needs four more years, too, but she’s wary about the political system. “I know what politics is all about. He’s a politician,” she said. “None of that bailout money came to us.”
About the free trade agreement Obama recently signed with South Korea, Panama and Columbia, Trotman says, “This is a complex, global economy. I have a degree in finance and international economy. He can make sure that the profit that is made from cheap labor is transferred to our pockets. But we can’t go backward.”
The U.S. economy transferred from agribusiness to manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution, while technology and services started supplanting manufacturing about three decades ago. Now, services comprise 76 percent of American jobs.
As reported by The New American:
The Office of the United States Trade Representative says that the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement will “guarantee access to Panama’s $20.6 billion services market, including in priority areas such as financial, telecommunications, computer, distribution, express delivery, energy, environmental, and professional services,” and notes that “Panama’s strategic location as a major shipping route also enhances the importance of the Agreement. Approximately two-thirds of the Panama Canal’s annual transits are bound to or from U.S. ports.”
Which means businesses that relied on the United States for services can now, freely, go to Panama for the same services at cheaper cost. Oy. (For your information, the agreement was heralded as a victory for bipartisanship.)
But maybe it’ll be OK…
A woman named Maggie who declined to give her last name, supports Obama, as well. “I’m one of those people who would vote for my own tax increase,” she said. She acknowledges that the current political system is fraught with nebulousness. “It’s up to the voter to decide what the candidate is trying to do.”
“Voters have an obligation to try and understand who the candidates are,” she added. So to you, voters: good luck. As for her, she says, “I think it’s essential the president get reelected. He’s accomplished a lot but it’s been stymied.” And on the other side, “The choices so far are not inspiring.”
Obama’s re-election campaign invites the general public to volunteer or join them for a phone bank campaign this Saturday at their headquarters, 42 S. 15th St. on the 16th floor. For info, click here.