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A Hard Day's Election

By John Fox · March 5th, 2008 · Editorial

When you read this, the Ohio primary will be over. As I write, it's cold, windy and rainy outside on Election Day, a dreary end to a furious battle here between Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

You'll know whether Obama wrapped up the nomination or Clinton emerged as the latest "comeback kid" or if the campaigns will trudge on to April and Pennsylvania. (Look for coverage of the election results here.)

No matter the outcome, the last few weeks in Greater Cincinnati were undeniably exciting. In just a matter of a few days, Clinton held a public rally at Cincinnati State, Obama rocked UC's basketball arena, John McCain hosted a Republican Party rally at Memorial Hall and Mike Huckabee made appearances in the northern suburbs.

Clinton packed a Skyline Chili restaurant, Bill Cunningham got national media attention for his "red meat" political attacks and McCain further alienated conservatives by apologizing for Willie's rant.

I attended the Obama event, primarily because I was scheduled to interview him afterwards.

It was exactly how media pundits had been describing Obama's public appearances: a Rock show.

Like a concert, Obama's event didn't start on time, the crowd resorted to entertaining itself, opening acts were tolerated and the highlight probably was when the star first walked on stage. He got thunderous response when he played his "hits," the campaign rhetoric focused on change, and polite attention when he wandered into new territory.

With Obama's image fed to the scoreboard video screens above the basketball floor -- a la a concert at Riverbend or US Bank Arena -- the rally was exciting, engaging and electric. I'm sure the UC students in attendance particularly felt the Rock show connection.

The parallels between music and politics have been in my head for a while. I've always been the kind of music fan who tried to find unknown bands and soured on them when they got "too popular." I'm the same way with politicians.

I've voted for plenty of third party candidates and tended to back presidential long-shots like Bill Bradley, Howard Dean and Bill Richardson. I moved from Richardson to John Edwards in this Democratic cycle and settled on Obama, offering CityBeat's endorsement of him two weeks ago.

I have to admit to being shocked and bothered this past weekend when The Enquirer endorsed Obama, too. I felt a little like a teenager finding my parents singing along to my favorite Punk Rock CD. Whatever.

Like music, though, politics can actually draw generations together if you're willing to share. I try to get my kids interested in some of my favorite bands -- mostly to no avail -- and now I'm involving them in the presidential race and the issues.

I was proud when my 3-year-old son told his daycare teacher the other day whose picture we had on our door, courtesy of a campaign drop-off: "Ba-wock Obama." As proud as I am when he identifies The Beatles on his favorite shirt.

CONTACT JOHN FOX: jfox@citybeat.com



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