Tag Archives: Obama

An Historic Election Event at MoonDogs Too

I spent Tuesday night in downtown Port Orchard shuffling between Amy’s on the Bay and MoonDogs Too.
At the former, 26th Legislative District candidate Jan Angel celebrated her 62nd birthday and a slim lead over her Democratic opponent, Kim Abel. Abel, meanwhile, was partying at MoonDogs with supporters and State Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, who would end the evening with a comfortable lead in the race to retain his seat.
I did not plan it this way, scout’s honor, but I happened to be in the Democratic camp when presidential candidate Barack Obama shattered the 270 electoral vote barrier to become this nation’s first African-American president elect. The time was 8:01 p.m.; Obama had 284 electoral votes. Within 15 minutes, by my estimation, the stations were broadcasting news that Republican contender John McCain had graciously conceded the fight.
When news of Obama’s victory broke, cheers and whoops erupted from the crowd in the upstairs room at MoonDogs.
Say what you will about Obama, the fact that Americans elected, by an overwhelming margin, an African American president is an historic event.
The fact wasn’t lost on people like me, 53, who are old enough to remember an all-too-recent time when race was either a stumbling block or a privilege.
Beyond that, Obama’s supporters seem to respond to his charisma (whether that’s enough to run a country in dire economic straits is yet to be seen).
I looked around at the crowd and saw 67-year-old Kay Travatte, watching the screen, hands to her face, tears streaming down her cheeks.
“This means a lot to you?” I asked.
“It’s been a long time,” she said referring to both Obama’s campaign and the last time she was so moved by a political leader.
Travatte, a Gig Harbor resident, was too young to vote for John F. Kennedy, but she worked on his campaign. She held a job with the F.B.I. the year he was assassinated and it took the wind out of her political sails … until now.
“From the first time I saw him talk, he made me want to come forward and do something for this country,” said Travatte of President-elect Obama.
Another woman, old enough to speak with authority, Marcia Loraditch, 62, of Port Orchard, summed it up this way, “We just stepped into history,” she said.

Speaking of South Kitsap: On Vacation with Obama

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and I spent the past week vacationing on Oahu, visiting family and soaking in the Aloha spirit.

No, our paths did not cross, but they easily could have. It’s not that big an island – you can drive from one side to another in an hour or less – and Obama, with his family, immersed himself in island activities, rubbing elbows with the locals (Secret Service agents in tow).

While I sponged off my sister, who lives above Pearl Harbor, Obama and his entourage settled into a vacation rental in Kailua.

On Saturday, while I hiked the Aiea Ridge Trail and lounged by my sister’s pool, Obama jogged on the beach and attended a rally at Ke’ehi Beach Lagoon Park.

Obama jogs

He later played golf at Olomano Golf Links and Country Club in Waimanalo, where his unannounced appearance created a delighted stir among fellow golfers.

According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, “The senator went around to shake hands, smiling, flashing a shaka every once in a while and greeting golfers with the occasional ‘Howzit’ while they snapped photos with digital cameras and cell phones.”

On Tuesday,  I body surfed at Waimanalo Beach and took in the Nuuanu Pali overlook. Obama played basketball with his buddies at Punahou School, his alma mater. He later bought his gang/entourage burgers and fries at the Kua ‘Aina Sandwich Shop (spending $116 and leaving a $40 tip, it was noted) then had a picnic at Ala Moana Beach Park. The fare was (presumably) a little more upscale at a $2,300-per-person fund-raiser that night at the Kahala Hotel and Resort (the second and last official appearance of his trip to Hawaii).

On Wednesday, while I went snorkeling on the North Shore, Obama took in the Pali Overlook and ate shave ice with his daughters. He later visited the grave of his grandfather, Stanley Dunham, a World War II veteran, at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl Crater.

On Thursday, while I did some more hiking and more lounging, Obama went body surfing at Sandy Beach (recommended for “locals only”).

Obama Bodysurfing

He later threw petals from a lei into the ocean on the east coast, where his mother’s ashes were scattered following her death in 1995 from ovarian cancer.

Yes, it was a busy week for Obama and me. But while the press took no notice of my presence on the island, they followed Obama’s every move, checking out what he ate and what he wore, hanging on his every casual word (he was reported to have said of the shave ice that he bought keiki or child-size because, “It is right before dinner. I don’t want to get in trouble.”)

Comparisons to Paris and Britney aside, Obama is certified buzz material.

The question then – surely raised before and sure to be raised again – is whether Obama’s celebrity-like status could be considered a distraction or liability.