Obama-Reid Coliseum a night of joyous celebration

Politics | | May 27, 2009 at 12:21

Last night the Coliseum at Caesar’s Palace was filled with supporters of Sen. Harry Reid, but it was President Barack Obama that elicited the sheer joy and exuberance that electrified the air.  Broad smiles and glowing faces, strangers interacting like old friends, the mood was one of both relief and gratitude.  So many in that vast audience had worked so hard for so long and now was time for celebration.

The last time Barack Obama was in Las Vegas, he was a candidate.  Last night he was President.  Even he quipped that he was impressed with his room upgrade from his previous stay at Caesar’s.  “We love you!” was shouted from the balcony – undoubtedly true, but for many of us, it is the idea of Barack Obama that we love and the ideas that he represents.  Mention of Sonia Sotomayor, his Latina nominee to the Supreme Court, brought a roar from the audience and a standing ovation.

Harry was, well, Harry – an unassuming guy from Searchlight, not a great orator, not a man brimming with charisma, but certainly a man with enough tenacity and grit to have represented red state Nevada for years in the US Senate, and now to work as Majority Leader with enough success to allow President Obama to list last night an impressive agenda already accomplished.

Say what you will about Harry Reid, he brings in the bacon for Nevada, his visions are forward-thinking, and his roots in working class America keep his feet firmly planted on the path to social equality.  He believes in an America where every person, whatever their background or ethnicity, deserves an opportunity to succeed.  Politics must not be the sole domain of the rich and powerful.  He understands that only by moving everyone forward, can the country move forward.

The evening started with two different local choirs which unfortunately sang without benefit of microphones.  What was the producer thinking – or not thinking?  There certainly is no lack of electronics at the Coliseum. Clint Holmes sang the National Anthem a capella – beautifully and, thank god, with a mike.  Maybe you have to bring your own equipment?  Rachel Yamagata and Sheryl Crowe performed several songs each, probably great for some, but without the universal appeal of Bette Midlers “Vegas at its best” closing acts.  Rita Rudner stepped in as Emcee finally – the first part of the show was loose and seemed to have been thrown together at the last minute.  

Bette and Rita had ample opportunity to throw barbs at our previous President with Rita quipping that ex-Pres Bush was writing a book – a small one – a comic book.  Bette Midler confirmed with the audience “Wasn’t it great to have a President that was actually funny on purpose?”

I’m glad I was there last night.  It’s a wonderful thing to see joy and hope manifested.  There are plenty of problems out there, many that seem without resolution.  A few hours of happiness and unity are a welcome respite.

Related: Create Reid’s campaign slogan and meet Obama