Friday night, Barack Obama supporters in the city held their first meet-up at a Gallary Bar on Orchard Street, a sign of the grass roots traction he’s having in Hillary’s back yard. Right when you walked in, a painting of a nake woman’s torso, with strategically placed scoops of Nutella.
I didn’t spot any of the usual Democratic operatives at this party that I’ve seen at DL21C parties and other events. But the turn out was a modest 100 people or so. And after a short video, and raffle for Obama buttons, the crowd died down. But, in the pursuit of a story, I asked a few of the women why they were supporting Obama over Hillary.
Michelle Leffert, a 27-year-old college senior studying Spanish in Connecticut, was in the back drinking white wine and keeping her a-political cousin company (who didn’t want to talk). Leffert said she’s been an Obama fan before tonight.
“I watch CNN every morning when I get ready for school and they were talking about how the senator from Illinois was in Kenya and I didn’t know anything, I mean I knew nothing about him,” she said. He was there promoting AIDS testing, she said. “And I thought he was great, I just fell in love.”
What about Hillary?
“I guess the reason why I like Barack Obama is that he’s not in it for power and to me, she’s in it for power. She’s power hungry,” said Leffert.
No pride, as a women, possibly seeing a woman become president?
“Not at all,” Leffert said, adding, “She doesn’t do it for me.”
One of the night’s organizers, Mohan Siva, a 24-year-old systems analyst also from Connecticut, tried explaining where Hillary and Barack differed on issues.
“I whish I can answer that one for you,” he said. “It’s something we’ve been talking about so we can better understand Hillary’s piece of it. You know, with Barack, what I see as his big differentiating factor is one, he’s very grass roots oriented. So Hillary has better money making capabilities than Barack. So that’s one. And two, his perspective on the war. From the beginning, Barack’s been ‘It’s not a smart war. It’s a dumb war.’ And even to this day he’s still pushing ‘lets get them out of Iraq. It’s not the right war. It’s not the right direction.’ Hillary, Hillary is a little more prudent in that area,” Mohan said. “I would say that’s the biggest difference.”
Which sort of explains why Steaphanie Mollison and Amanda Wolfe, two of the oldest women in the crowd (very early 30’s) were supporting Obama. They were seated on a couch near discarded jackets and book bags.
“I have to be honest with,” Mollison, who works in fashion, told me. “I’ve never really been political. But there’s just something about Barack that I just connected with.”
“He’s really real,” Wolfe, a litigation attorney, interjected. “You feel like you can actually talk to him and he’ll be listening to what you had to say. ”
Why not vote for Hillary thought?
“I’m going to bash Hillary,” Wolfe said.
“I’m not going to bash Hillary,” Mollison echoed. “Before Obama stepped into the picture, I was for Hillary. And I still love her.” She went on to say, “For me, it was like I love Hillary as a person. It wasn’t just because she was a woman. I liked her views. It had nothing to do with her being a woman. Oh my god. I’ve never been a feminist in that respect.”
Would you consider yourself a feminist?
“I would, to a certain extent,” said Wolfe.
— Azi Paybarah