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Saturday, January 5, 2008

Obama Wows 'Em At Tosca Cafe

Posted By on Sat, Jan 5, 2008 at 8:12 PM


By John Geluardi

Tosca Café is a great place for a celebration. The bar, named after the Giacomo Puccinni opera about impossible love set against a backdrop of corrupt and abusive government power, was the Bay Area gathering place for Sen. Barack Obama supporters to watch and then celebrate his historic victory in Iowa on Thursday night.

After Obama’s victory was announced, the crowd was jubilant and the bar became very crowded as people who had been watching the caucus results at home came to North Beach to join the celebration.

Framed posters from Italian operas presided from the bar’s high walls, as supporters cheered the election breakdowns that were projected on a large screen television brought in specifically for the event — Tosca’s owner Jeannette Etheredge would throw herself off a high building as the warbling heroine Flora Tosca does in the opera’s finale before she allowed a television to be permanently installed on the premises.

Now I'm no political pundit, but one thing I thought did not bode well for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House, besides coming in an embarrassing third in Iowa, was that when the women’s vote was put on the screen showing that 35 percent of Iowan females of voting age cast their lot with Obama and only 30 percent with Clinton, the women in Tosca went nuts, yelling, hooting and pumping their fists in the air. Some of the men in the room were a little unnerved by the emotional force of the support.

Then former Senator John Edwards’ speech came on and the super political geeks began shushing the crowd so he could be better heard. Edwards kicked off his speech by calling on Americans to take their country back from the greedy corporations who have high jacked Democracy. This idea seemed to bewilder the crowd. You could tell that Edward’s anti-corporate message was resonating somewhere in a deep and forgotten chamber of their Bay Area, left-leaning hearts, but they weren’t sure if it was OK to cheer or clap. Instead they glanced sheepishly at the supporters next to them for behavioral guidance. Wasn’t it that kind of anti-corporate talk that got that crazy Ralph Nader into so much trouble in 2000?

Well it's only the first act and Obama supporters will have plenty of time to figure out how they feel about the corporate lawyers and Washington lobbyists who have been so generous to their candidate. It's early still and the fat cat… errr lady won’t be singing for months yet.

Contact staff writer John Geluardi at

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