Obama Visit To San Francisco: Protestors Few, But Vocal

As this blog post is written, President Barack Obama’s undoubtedly holding court in San Francisco’s Masonic Auditorium. And while a substantial crowd turned out to see him, well into the 2,000 range if not more by estimate, there were some protestors. Frankly, only a handful of them and far out-numbered by Obama supporters.

Including this blogger.

The San Francisco Police officers I talked to said that everything was orderly, or as one cop put it: “Well, we haven’t had to arrest anyone and take them to jail.” Which makes an officers job easy: all they had to do was stand around and watch, and there were a lot of them who did that.

Police and security were all around the Masonic and the Nob Hill area, from two blocks uphill to two blocks downhill, and even on the roof of the theater itself. Everywhere you looked, security was superbly visible.

I didn’t stay long enough to get a glimpse of the President’s vehicle, but I did have a number of on video conversations.   Most notable were with people I disagree with.  While I talked to folks who support Obama as I do, it’s fun to chat with people who have different points of view.  Some understandable, others worthy of challenge, and some just plain, er, different. 

Here’s one example.

My first talk with a man I see at almost every notable political event I’ve attended in San Francisco and Oakland over the years. He’s a small Asian gentleman who carries a sign that reads “Thornburgh” and other words, and when you talked to him years ago, would say “Oja Wallah, Okgie, Gaga.”

Well, that’s what it sounded like to me.

Now, he’s much more intelligible: “Well, I met Channel Five and some of the news people, and told em about the populations of other galaxies that – that I’m the movie star.”

Well, at least that’s an improvement over year’s past.

More serious and far more intelligible was the group of Armenian-Americans who say President Obama has not kept his campaign pledge to recognize The Armenian Genocide on the eve of its 96th anniversary.

The woman with the Statue of Liberty crown said “I’m pretty sure he’s (not recognizing The Armenian Genocide) because the American Government has very good relations with the Turkish Government.”

I checked this, and according to the New York Times, President Obama did acknoweldge the terrible event, but did so without alienating Turkey. Obama said:

“On this solemn day of remembrance, we pause to recall that 95 years ago one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century began. In that dark moment of history, 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire.”

While that’s not enough, and does fall short of his campaign statements, it went a long way beyond what other American presidential administrations have done. For example, Bill Clinton worked to block an Armenian Genocide bill from passing the house, and Obama’s statement directly used the word “genocide” whereas Clinton’s statement of April 24, 2000, and of years before, did not.

But that’s the thing some Liberal activists don’t see with President Obama: he’s good at moving the needle in the direction they desire on most issues, but they want him to push the thing all the way to redline. Thus, the source of much of Liberal angst about Obama. Not in this corner, however.

Almost nothing the President has done has disappointed me, except the Economic Stimulus Package: it should have been 1.2 trillion or 1.5 trillion in size, not $800 million. The problem was former Economic Advisor Larry Summers deliberately hid the bigger package from the President, because he and other advisors didn’t think Congress would go for it because of its’ size.

That was dumb, played to the overall “dumbing down” of America, and got us into more trouble, because now, after the 2010 Midterm Election, it’s harder to get any stimulus through because of a set of massively thick-headed Republicans who either forgot or didn’t learn basic macroeconomics.  Someone needs to tell those knuckleheads the “G” in GDP = C+I+G+(E-I) stands for GOVERNMENT!!

But I digress. 

The economic conversation spilled over into my talk with a nice man by the way of Michael Lyon, who did not support Obama in 2008 (or anyone) and says today that Obama is “captive” of corporate America, and wants to reduce Social Security.


Mr. Lyon said on video he would be open to be proven wrong, and here it come, his reason for change of his mind.

According to The Huffington Post, Obama said he would not slash or reduce Social Security benefits. Where Mr. Lyon got the opposite idea, I do not know.

But, at least Mr. Lyon’s open to listening. That’s more than I can say for a lot of “birthers.”

And Donald Trump.

Stay tuned.