Saturday, March 11, 2006

What if You Had a Rally and Everybody Came?

Earlier today, my wife and I ventured across the river to Deval Patrick's rally at Faneuil Hall. We got there early, but not early enough, as the line was already stretched around the building and snaked around near the statue of old Sam Adams (brewer, patriot). Candidate for Secretary of State John Bonifaz was working the line, as were representatives from Deb Goldberg's Lieutenant Governor campaign (Sam Kelley was at the reception later). I overheard that the capacity of the hall was around 800, so there were at least more people than that ahead of us in the line, because we didn't get in. We were still around the corner when they told us that the fire marshall wasn't letting anyone more in the building. I had mixed feelings about that -- it was obviously great for the campaign, but it was not so great for those of us outside.

That said, the campaign did provide a simulcast for those of us outside and even though the vertical hold on one of the monitors was sub-optimal, there were several hundred people gathered around, all waiting to hear from Deval Patrick. That outside area between Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market looked like a solid wall of people from my vantage point. Not only that, but as the speech went on the crowd stayed, transfixed, and even passers-by were stopping to listen.

Here's the full text of his speech. It was a good one, I thought, and if you have a chance to read or watch the whole thing, I recommend it. Here's one of my favorite parts:

I want more than short-term band-aids. I want more than government by photo op and press release. I want real and lasting and meaningful progress. And I want you to see what I see about what's possible in Massachusetts.

And while we're at it, let's forget about labels.

Who cares whether they call a program "liberal" if it helps someone who needs help and it works. Who cares whether they call a tough fiscal judgment conservative if makes good fiscal sense.

Enough already with "the right" versus "the left." Let's focus on right versus wrong.
Despite the crowd, we ended up seeing a lot of familiar faces, and I'm happy to say that a large Watertown contingent showed up. Also there were Bill from Under the Golden Dome, who I saw, and Mass Marrier from Marry in Massachusetts, who I missed, and both of whom have already posted their impressions of the event. I also chatted with Lynne from Left in Lowell and Susan from Beyond 495, and saw Michael Forbes Wilcox from across the room at the reception, but he disappeared before I could flag him down.

In all it was a fun event, even though we couldn't get in the door. Like I said at the time, it's a great problem for a campaign to have -- too many people. Kudos to all the campaign staff and volunteers who made it happen.