Wednesday, February 20, 2008

When Politics and Basketball Collide

Just going to make an observation, and let you all figure out if it has any symbolic meaning:

1. Senator Barack Obama spoke to a large crowd on the home court of the Houston Rockets last night. The Rockets, playing at the same time on the road, defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers to keep pace in the NBA Western Conference playoff race.

2. Former President Bill Clinton spoke to a large crowd on the home court of the University of Houston Cougars tonight. The Cougars, playing at the same time on the road, lost to the UAB Blazers, probably blowing an invitation to the NCAA Tournament.

Is this a sign?

Why Obama Will Carry Texas (and with it the Democratic Nomination)

I was in attendance at last night's Obama Rally at Houston's Toyota Center, home the Houston Rockets, who tallied their 9th straight win last night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

T-Mac, Yao and the gang were upstaged last night on their home floor by the Next President of the United States, en route to his own 10-state winning streak.

That's when it dawned on me: Obama will win Texas.

It's not just about "convoluted" delegate selection rules and the segmentation of the primary voting population. It's about excitement. A level of excitement about a candidate running for President that, I have to say, I have not experienced in my lifetime.

It's about people being ready for a change. The only line I wrote down from last night's speech sums up why Democrats will carry the day: "The last thing we need is the same ol' folks doing the same ol' thing and making the same ol' mistakes."

Obama emerged before a crowd of 20,000 cheering admirers just after being declared the winner of the Wisconsin Primary. How ever you want to slice up the pie, he carried it, save older women. Most of all, he is generating a wave of participation among young or inexperienced voters, as well as disaffected Republicans and independents that will propel him all the way.

Seeing how the crowd reacted to his words last night, I was reminded of a feeling I last had when Bill Clinton gave his acceptance speech at the 1992 Democratic Convention. I knew that they were going to win.

Obama will carry Texas because Latinos are giving him a look.

Most observers think of the Rio Grande Valley when they think of the Hispanic voting population in Texas, but that's an antiquated view. There are more Hispanics in the Dallas or Houston areas than there are in the Valley, they just tend to be younger and less likely to vote on average than those along the border.

But this is not your average election. Expect Obama to carry young Hispanic voters, and a higher percentage of Hispanics in the urban areas than in the Valley or Laredo. Expect him to carry White voters.

Expect him to win African-American voters overwhelmingly, who are likely to turn out not just in large numbers in urban areas, but also suburban and more rural East Texas. Expect him to attract large numbers of independent voters to the Democratic Primary. Like in other states, expect Red State Texas to have twice, or four times, as many Democratic Primary voters than Republicans.

On the first day of early voting yesterday in Texas' largest county of Harris (which includes Houston), three times as many people voted in the Democratic Primary as the Republican Primary. And 11 times more people voted yesterday as compared to the first day of early voting in the 2004 Democratic Primary.

Expect Obama's momentum to carry him into the winner's circle in Texas.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What a Day! February 19, 2008

What else could possibly happen today in the world of politics? I read in this morning's New York Times that Musharraf's party lost big-time in Pakistani elections, and that Fidel Castro resigned.

Wisconsin Primary. Early voting starts today in the Texas Primaries, the big prize on March 4 (along with Ohio.)

Houston ISD State of the Schools luncheon, so big it has to be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Former President Bill Clinton will be here in Houston for a Hillary fundraising event tonight.

A few blocks away, Barack Obama will speak to a "sold out" Toyota Center (tickets were free) for tonight's campaign appearance. When was the last time Bill wasn't the hottest ticket in town?

Apparently, the Rockets aren't the only hot team at Toyota Center. They won their last 8 games going into the All-Star Break.

Obama will be coming onto the Rockets home court with a 8-state winning streak of his own. Assuming all goes well in Wisconsin and Hawaii tonight, he extends it to an even 10-in-a-row.

And I'll be there to see it. Wouldn't it be great if he gave his speech to a packed house in Houston just after being projected the winner in Wisconsin?

Now we just need to keep the Rockets on that kind of pace going into the playoffs. A Rockets championship in June and an Obama acceptance speech in August--that would make for a great summer.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Joe Freakin' Lieberman

What in the hell is the matter with Joe Lieberman? He appeared in a photo in the New York Times today while campaigning with John McCain, who you will remember is a Republican running for President.

But that's not the surprising part. We all know that Sour Grapes Joe endorsed McCain quite a long while ago. And to think I campaigned so hard for the guy in 2000.

(Maybe Connecticut should institute the same rules as Texas, where if you lose your primary you can't run as an independent.)

But what disgusted me most about his appearance with McCain at Faneuil Hall was they guy standing next to him, his apparent soul-mate in McCain adoration.

Phil Gramm. Wow. Does he feel comfortable where he is right now?