Friday, January 18, 2008

UCSB Hillary Clinton Clusterfuck

Well, let's just say that my chance to see Hillary Clinton -- mere steps from my office cubicle door -- didn't turn out to be the walk in the park I thought it would be. I arrived to find a huge crowd of students and other assorted local yokels, zigzagging around a slipshod police-caution tape maze in the dirt outside one of the campus gymnasiums.

I was met at around 4:45pm by my friend The Bon-Vivant, and it all seemed festive and very "up with people" for the first hour or so. Then, the sun sank beyond the horizon, people started getting cranky and ever-so-slightly rude (in the ever-so-slight way that only Californians -- and perhaps Southerners -- can), the caution tape proved how flimsy it really was, and before we knew it, by 6:00pm, those of us far back in what had started as a "line" were in kind of an amorphous, Clinton-lovin' mashup. I blame the temporary incompetence of the UC Police, CSOs, or whatever other well-oiled bureaucratic units were responsible for coordinating logistics for this hootenanny. When it was obvious by about 5:00pm that there were a good 1500 people lined up for a venue that would only hold 1000-1200 max, someone should have gently told any newcomers that they'd already surpassed capacity and that they should probably not bother joining the roiling mass of humanity.

The only upside? To paraphrase Lerner & Lowe: Thank Heavens for little college-aged boys.

By 6:30, we decided to call it a Noble Effort, but let the heartier souls in the crowd remain to either get inside or get trampled. Hill-woman was scheduled to speak at 6:45, so we assumed the place was already packed to the rafters, and thus some kind of disappointment-soothing supper was now in order.

We listened to Hillary's speech and Q&A while munching pizza and sipping syrah in The Bon-Vivant's cozy kitchen, practically huddled around a radio in what I (having a fit of nostalgia for an era I never lived in) envisioned as a very circa-1940 FDR-evoking moment. That's utter, overblown hogwash, of course, but it was MY fantasy, so shaddup, all you eyerollers!

In the end, I was inspired, while also being reminded of what a minefield the whole business of political speechifying is nowadays. How do you tiptoe around a question like the following from a Latina undergraduate: "What do you think about the idea of amnesty for the 12-to-14-million undocumented immigrants in this country?" I'd have probably answered, "Well, mija, let's put it this way: I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't. Next question?!"

Anyway, Hillary was my woman even before last night. And even though I didn't get to bask at close range in her sensibly-pantsuited aura, the way I had hoped to, she's still my candidate, and I'm aboutthisclose to clicking on the volunteer registration button at

See further coverage from the campus paper here:
-Clinton Coverage: Delay, Rumors, Disorder Frustrate 3,600 Attendees
-Clinton Addresses Crowd at Pavilion Gym

Oh, one final thing: How motherfucking pissed off do you think I was to learn that some bunglicking miscreant actually got one of the precious seats in the audience last night in order to use it as an opportunity to unfurl his juvenile "How's Monica?" banner for his pencildicked fifteen seconds of fame? Waste product!


Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I think this is at least your second reference to Up With People in a week. Fess up; were you a member in the 1980s?

Huntington said...

The Jesse Jackson rally I went to at UCSB's Storke Plaza in 1988 (a mere twenty years ago!) was very Up With People. It's kind of hard to have any kind of gathering at UC-sur-Mer without it turning into an particularly uplifting episode of 90210.

Also: that Monica thing shouldn't shock me, but it does. What are people thinking?

The Angry Young Man said...

Well? How is Monica? This is a legitimate question. Last I heard she was huddling under a raincoat and dark glasses in some London cafe trying to get on with her life under the pall of ignominy that she'll be stuck with for the rest of her days while the Clintons soak up even more power. It's not fair that they get to move on while she's stuck bearing the burden of poor choices that weren't entirely her own. Hillary should do something for her, set up a scholarship fund or something. Hillary is a bad, Eva Peron feminist, having her banished like that. Tsk, tsk. Even Mary Jo Buttafuco (sp?) forgave that bizarre Amy Fisher creature. Hillary needs to acknowledge Monica, and embrace their shared sisterhood, mang!

m00nchild said...

"don't cry for me, Clintonista ... the truth is I'll never vote for ya"

ok. i don't really like her. but the majority of people do. the only conclusion i can draw is that i'm a minority and i hope i'll have civil right in the coming return of the dynasty II (Clinton) as dynasty I (Bush)fades away in complete disgrace.

i'll be voting for Edwards on Feb 5. but i have a feel -- get your gun ready -- that I'll be skipping the Generals this year.

the first time i've ever done that. i'm just too disgusted with politics as usual and see no one really offering me or my community changed. as in changing the tune. not just remixing the old one.

i experienced something similar to your story trying to attend an Obama rally in Oakland last year. total clusterfuck. i don't know why even coordinators can't get these things right.

David Pritchett said...

The question from the floor at this event, regarding immigrant amnesty, was by Blanca Figueroa, a reporter and news anchor at KPMR TV, the local Univision affiliate.

Hardly an undergraduate.

Nice you all could listen live to the event on KCSB radio.

Look up the first part of the thang under Episode 015 here: