Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.
Until yesterday, lots of Southern Californians who gleefully cast feel-good votes for Barack Obama in 2008 didn’t know what Michelle Obama really meant with that quote. They got to find out precisely what she was talking about at rush hour, though.
Specifically, when Michelle’s husband showed up in Beverly Hills for a lavish Democrat fundraiser (minimum entry: $2,500, and top end entry: $30,000) at the home of “ER” and “West Wing” producer John Wells, virtually all of Los Angeles’ west side was shut down starting around 4 p.m. It took four hours for many Angelenos to make it home:
With traffic snarled for hours Monday around Hancock Park and beyond during President Obama’s visit to Los Angeles, many people simply abandoned their cars and tried to walk home. But some north-south streets, including Hudson and June near Wilshire, were closed even to pedestrians.
That led to some angry confrontations between LAPD officers and Hancock Park residents.
One man, who did not want to give his name, said it had taken his wife four hours to drive home from Brentwood. Another man trying to walk west on 6th Street to his office shouted at the officers blocking his way and told them he wished he had voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Obama’s opponent in the 2008 presidential race.
Carlos Garcia, a 25-year-old waiter from Miracle Mile, had the misfortune of setting out on a run about the time the area went on lockdown. He had planned on a four-mile run, but it turned into 5.5 miles as he tried unsuccessfully to get back home, ultimately waiting 25 minutes at a yellow police tape barrier.
“They waved me through, but then they stopped me coming back,” he said. “I can’t believe they did it during rush hour on a Monday.”
A motorcade believed to be the president’s finally left Hudson Street at Wilshire several minutes before 8 p.m. Fifteen minutes later, officers reopened the barricaded streets to traffic.
Inside the Wells home, meanwhile, Obama was sounding familiar, if ironic, refrains given the exhausts from the idling cars on Olympic and the Santa Monica Freeway…
“On energy, we’re willing to compromise on a whole host of different issues, but we’ve got to have a strategy that starts reducing carbon because we want those clean-energy jobs built here in the United States, not in China, not in Germany,” Obama said at a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“What did [Republicans] say — ‘No, no, we can’t’?” Obama added.
Meanwhile, the president extolled the virtues of Democrat congressmen and Senators who have supported an agenda which he described in glowing terms…
“We have been able to deliver the most progressive legislative agenda — one that helps working families — not just in one generation, maybe two, maybe three,” Obama said.
With polls showing Democrats in serious trouble during an anti-incumbent election year, Obama said that helping Democrats get elected in November is his “focus over the next several months.”
“I hope you understand why we’re here tonight,” Obama told the crowd at producer John Wells’s home. “It’s not to take a picture with the president. We’re here to make sure those who took the tough votes are rewarded.”
Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit has some of the reaction from members of those working families touched by Obama’s visit with the Spielbergs and Streisands, and it just doesn’t appear the subjects appreciate their emperor: