Barack Obama is the one Democratic candidate I can remember who started a real movement when he announced he was running for President in 2007. That was February 10th, 2007, and in Springfield, Illinois.
Prior to that day and month, the phenomenon that was Barack Obama started via a social media website that was the Facebook of politics: BarackObama.com.
The original BarackObama.com was a social network, and allowed you to make groups, find or make friends, and create and update your own profile. It was via BarackObama.com than thousands of people became millions, and a network was formed that wasn’t based on television or traditional media, and was an entity to itself.
From BarackObama.com spawned crowds to see then-Senator Obama that were as big as towns: 75,000 in Portland Oregon and 18,000 in Oakland, to list two of many examples. It was a true movement – nothing, and not even the Bernie Sander or Hillary Clinton for President efforts have come close to it.
BarackObama.com, the social media site, was a one-off. It wasn’t replicated for his 2012 run and I think, because the original site started to become what some social media sites are today: a repository for fake profiles and hate speech. While the Obama campaign and us volunteers did a great job of fending off the results of massive popularity, I can see where the cost of maintaining the social network may have went beyond the budget required to do it.
But that was later; at the time, that online system, one I joined with a tiny $10 contribution in December of 2006, was where i found out that then Senator Obama was to speak at the Fairmont Hotel.
So, I and my long time friend Beth Schnitzer, went over to the Fairmont Hotel to see what the Obama fuss was all about.
The result was the video of Obama’s speech, below.
And this is what I wrote, then:
You know you’ve reached star status when — even though you’re a US senator — they just call you by your name and not your title. Such is true for US Senator and Candidate for President of The United States, Barack Obama.
They just call him Barack Obama.
Senator Barack Obama (D) Illinois, appeared as the star of a rousing February 19th fund-raiser hosted by Senator Barbara Boxer at The Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco’s Union Square.
The event drew almost 2,000 people, if not a little more than that number. (And reports with the estimate at 1,000 are just plain wrong. I was there, and I can count.)
What was surprising to me was the number of true voters who turned out. The crowd was most older, white, and liberal, and for the trained eye consisted of some of the Bay Area’s most active political citizens. But to be sure, there was a healthy percentage of younger voters as well — between 20 and 45 years old. And remember all paid between $150 and $2,000, so this wasn’t a free event. It sold out the week before it was set to commence.
Personally, I was blown away by Barack Obama. And I’ve worked for four politicians and donated to several campaigns. Part of Senator Obama’s appeal is that he really has his pulse on the problem America faces and that’s a belief crisis. Our leaders don’t represent us anymore; they stand for their own desires. One doesn’t get the impression that Senator Obama has an agenda separate from that of the American People. He knows we’re suffering from seeing people killed overseas and going without help in a hurricane-wrecked New Orleans. He knows we’re tired of seeing our leaders preside over a vastly imbalanced spread of resources going where they don’t help Americans (the Mid East) while people in the South (Louisiana) are still suffering. He gets that we have a massive leadership crisis, yet doesn’t step in like Superman, he just has the courage to point his hand in another direction and say “This is where we should go.”
I know that’s heavy, but it doesn’t begin to describe how much people are energized by him and his run for president. It’s one thing to hear about it, but you’ve got to be a part of it to understand.
(It’s also to bad that Sen. Hillary Clinton’s staff seems jealous of Obama’s popularity:
He’s the real deal and with the total knack for saying the right words. All of that is evident in this video.
As a note, you may wonder why I chose the theme song to the television show “Friends.” I tried the music as an experiment in part of the video, and was struck by how perfect the message “I’ll be thee for you” seemed to describe the relationship between Senator Obama and his supporters. The theme, like the Senator’s book “The Audacity of Hope” is about hope, and thus is perfect for this video, if not his candidacy.
For more information go to his website at
Can Any Democratic Candidate Match The Excitement Obama Generated, Then?
Right now, there are 12 candidates to be the Democratic Nominee for POTUS, according to a list posted at the Chicago Tribune (I have to make my own). They are Former Gov. John Hickenlooper, Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kamala Harris, ex-San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former Rep. John Delaney, author Marianne Williamson and former tech executive Andrew Yang.
Can any one of those candidates catch fire like Obama did? At first, I thought Sen. Kamala Harris would, but her team didn’t seem to plan for the racist media dump of negative news about her time as San Francisco District Attorney, and it certainly didn’t have a social media engine like what Obama had. Then came Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and then Sanders, and for each, a negative run of news that neither candidate’s staff or fans seemed prepped for.
And if it’s not that, then it’s Sen. Cory Booker, who’s campaign just hasn’t caught fire with the electorate. I recall how Booker was beset with talk that he was gay in 2013 (which now, seems completely silly, which is a sign of progress.) But still the talk was the talk, and the way Senator Booker seemed to bat all of that down was via Twitter messages with a stripper named Lynsie Lee (Who’s a Mom, now!):
The one thing that came out of the stripper news was Cory Booker’s a major Trekker (that’s Star Trek Fan, like myself). Take this entry from OregonLive:
Wednesday a series of tweets between Booker and Lee, who works for vegan strip club Casa Diablo, that show the two have struck up a bit of a friendship on the social media network. They apparently began corresponding after both were featured in a documentary called “Follow Friday: The Film”.
Among the tweets highlighted include Booker declaring that he will be the president of the New Jersey Star Trek Club and Lee chiming in that if he were to ever be President of the United States that she calls dibs on being first lady.
In a direct message exchange released by Wednesday by Lee, Booker says, “And the East Coast loves you and by the East Coast, I mean me.”
“Well now I’m blushing :)” Lee replied.
“Its only fair,” Booker wrote back.
Exciting stuff then; not even a mention, today. The Democratic field is just boring, right now. Maybe we Democrats should consider moving Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez up to candidate for POTUS? Or maybe Senator Harris should start her own version of the Obama social media platform – with modern code, and safeguards, of course.
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media