While Senator Obama was the star of the show called "Women For Obama", the other star was the website itself "BarackObama.com."
On Friday September 7th San Francisco played host to an event called "Women For Obama." Some newspapers described the event as "Senator Obama's attempt at courting the Women vote." Well, first, for all who were there, it was more than an attempt - it really hit the mark. Second, it drew over 3,000 people, some -- like myself -- paying from $25 to as much as $2,300 to see hear, and greet the Senator. Third, like every Obama event, it was more than a political speech, it was part happening, part teach-in, part love fest, and part convention, with the Senator as ringleader.
But the real star is the system called BarackObama.com. This social-network's ability to bring vast numbers of people together for an event, and plan one, is the real "other story" of this campaign's amazing success. But more about that later. First let's focus on the main story.
One has to attend an event like this to really tangibly understand the impact he has on people. Senator Obama is the best example of how individuals and the human sprit that rests in all of us matter. When some of the mainstream media asks "Is America ready for.." I automatically know the person asking the question is either inhuman, blind to the human sprit, or some combination of both.
The event itself was put together by a vast combination of people, lead by San Francisco District Attorney Kamela Harris, and a group of people called "Women For Obama," and of which my friend Rosa Cabrera (who started another online group called "Rise Up For Obama") was part of -- and gave a good speech.
But the most impressive aspect of the event to me was the number of college-age young women who were there -- at least a thousand of the 3,000 people. Moreover, many adults brought their kids to see him, so the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium had a vast combination of little ones running around.
Obama's speech started off almost pro-forma, but then he got rolling. He talked about familar themes like ending the Iraq War, but attacked the idea of his "lack of experience" by explaining that at times having too much experience -- in Washington -- causes one to make mistakes, like the Iraq war. Obama also emotively talked about his mother's battle with ovarian cancer and how she was more worried about her medical bills than her own health, thus fueling his desire to have Universal Health Care for all Americans.
Now, back to the real "second star" of the event, other than the Senator himself -- the thousands of people, many representing online groups formed on BarackObama.com, which came together to form a successful presentation.
When the story of this campaign is written, it will be of how everything from event planning to fundraising was driven from a great website system that's frankly without peer. It doens't just allow people to find their friends, it's really developed to faciliate quick event planning -- all the way down to rasing money -- which is why Obama's money totals are so high. While I've not seen official figures, I'd conservatively estimate this event pulled in about $300,000. I was told that almost all of the attendees pre-registered, which is proof of the effectiveness of the BarackObama.com system and the groups that have spawned from it.
The website system is the Obama campaign's secret weapon, and its' only secret because many in politics still don't understand how to use the Internet -- but the Obama people and volunteers do and they're getting better at it each month.