Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dem Classics: ObamaLA Grassroots Button

When the 2008 campaign was in its early stages Barack Obama was the insurgent candidate challenging the party favorite Hillary Clinton. Obama built his campaign from the ground up with possibly the largest grassroots movement ever mounted for a presidential candidate. ObamaLA sprang up early in 2007, and it was the largest Obama grassroots group in California. This button was pictured on their website with the words "Coming Soon". After about a month of checking back, it was still not available. A query to the group resulted in the main organizer sending three freebies. This was one of those buttons that had blockbuster written all over it, so my miniscule supply was socked away for future use.  I did hope to buy some when they would eventually be offered for sale. They never were. The chief organizer bolted the campaign for Ron Paul; a bizarre place for liberal to gravitate; and ObamaLA morphed into LA Grassroots 4 Obama.

I contacted the group again, and was told the buttons were gone. A relentless internet search led to the address of the former head of the group. He no longer had any buttons. Maybe it was a small run. None have surfaced in the hobby since, so my three remain the total number for the hobby. One of the reasons it slipped by is few collectors were paying attention to Obama in 2007, and there was this gem right under the noses of California collectors. One had the audacity to question its legitimacy, because he never saw it. Maybe if he hadn't waited for the nomination more than a year later before looking into Obama he might have seen it lurking in his backyard.

This has to be classified as one of the top Obama buttons. First and foremost what it depicts gives it great historical significance. The grassroots movement was a major factor in Obama's victory, and this aspect of campaigning has never been better represented in button form. The quality of this button goes beyond excellent. It was obviously made by a major manufacturer, and probably one located in California. You can see from the scan the boldness of its colors. And finally its rarity elevates its importance. As stated there are only three of this 2 1/4" cello known in the hobby. I still have one extra if anyone is interested.

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