Sunday, September 21, 2008

McCain-Palin rock Green Bay

OK, maybe "rock" is a bit strong. But with the long lines and overpriced memorabilia, John McCain's and Sarah Palin's visit to the Resch Center on Thursday had all the makings of a rock concert. ... I'm convinced this is what it would look like if Lawrence Welk were to tour with Hannah Montana.

It was a good time, and given what I went through to obtain my "VIP" ticket, it dawned on me the true value of these visits.
One could simply walk into a McCain campaign office and pick up a free ticket that would get you into the seats. But if you wanted a VIP ducat, which would allow you on the floor and possibly within reach of a handshake or autograph, you had to make 100 calls at that office's phone bank.
So while these visits are an opportunity to generate some free publicity in the local news, it's also a way to spark some local volunteers to get out and make calls or knock on doors (to get the tickets). It's all about energizing the base.
So about one hour and countless hang-ups and messages later, I had my VIP pass, and it was off to GB ...

Naturally, there were some Obama backers there. They kept a respectable distance, and at least they were clever. One was wearing a McCain mask (not sure who the other mask-wearer is supposed to be), and the big wooden thing in front of them is a "rubber stamp" that I think actually worked, as they appeared to stamp something on their sign. Let's see the Pro Lifers match that when they crash Obama's next visit.

Barb, a woman I spoke with briefly down on the floor wearing a "Republican" print dress, prepares her sign by scrawling "1st S.B.C.T. mom" across the top of it. It turns out her son is in the same unit - Striker Brigade Combat Team - as Palin's son Track and will be deployed with him shortly. While she was made to give up her homemade sign at the door, she was hoping to catch Palin's attention with this one. As it happens, Palin mentioned her by name in her speech.
Palin and McCain enter the arena.

Palin kicks off, following introductions by state attorney general J.B. Van Hollen, Republican Party of Wisconsin chairman Reince Priebus and 8th Congressional District candidate John Gard, who is shown at the far right.
McCain speaks, and a Secret Service agent obscures a direct sightline of Palin's ass.
McCain works the ropeline after his stirring speech about ... did I mention Palin was standing right behind him? I'm looking over the right shoulder of the lady whose left hand you see here, so if I'd really pushed forward, I might've gotten a handshake with the man ... and then gotten shot.
More ropeline, this with some "ultra VIPs" who got their own little bullpen area. Someone told me they were like wives of state assemblymen or something. ... THAT warrants a personal meet-and-greet!?
Palin and McCain work their way down the runway and out of the arena, but not before shaking some more hands and inking some autographs. It wasn't until I'd taken my spot on the floor that I'd realized I hadn't brought a Sharpie with me. I didn't imagine I'd get close enough. But I'll know next time. And they will be back. After all, Wisconsin IS a swing state!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Let the political games begin

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin cheerfully advising a well-wisher Sept. 5 in Cedarburg, Wis., "If you touch me, this guy here will blow your head off."

In the wake of the Democrats' and Republicans' national conventions, we have officially entered the final phase of Silly Season; the home stretch of the general election.

And silly it is!

John McCain deftly announced his VP pick the day after the Dem convention ended, sparing us from the media slobberfest that surely would've ensued. He even recorded an ad graciously congratulating Obama for his acceptance speech, which happened to fall on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech. McCain's maneuver also thrust the nation's hottest ... ERRRR, most qualified governor, Alaska's Sarah Palin, into the national spotlight.

The Dems responded by congratulating McCain on choosing a woman to get one step closer to the White House than the Dems' own semifinalist, Hillary Clinton. ... Oh wait, no they didn't. Actually, they lambasted and lampooned and have been every bit as dismissive and condescending as one would expect liberal elitists to be. Obama has intentionally mispronounced her small hometown of which she was mayor. Women have decried the choice for assuming that Hillary-backers would vote for her just because Hillary was out. Not to be left out of the liberal hatefest of Palin, Dr. Laura even chimed in about how Palin has no business running for office until her children are adults. So where are the feminists? They're calling leftist talk radio and echoing the National Organization for Women, which not only doesn't defend Palin for being a woman balancing a career and a family, but chastises her for being Pro Life.

McCain wasn't my first choice for Republican president, and as far as my list of VP possibles, I didn't have Palin on top. *snicker* But she was on my list, right there with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. I felt both could be great candidates in '12 or '16 and could have benefited from more time in their respective states.
If McCain was going to choose a Religious Right conservative, then why not Mike Huckabee? He was a governor and is a pastor, garnered a fair amount of votes as the last Republican standing in the primaries, is a fine speaker and smooth debater, and he's funny. This is important because it makes him a frequent talk-show guest and makes him likable; important for a Republican these days.

Anyway, they're not the cards I wanted, but it's what I've been dealt, so the whole game comes down to one futures bet; federal and Supreme Court judges. There are other issues, such as the war on terror, which I believe McCain would prosecute more adeptly than would Obama, but I'm hearing the next president could appoint three SC Justices, and those are appointments that could affect the next 30 years.

Bring on the debates!
Sept. 26 in Oxford, Miss.; foreign policy, nat'l security; Jim Lehrer moderating
Oct. 7 in Nashville, Tenn.; town-hall meeting; Tom Brokaw moderating
Oct. 15 in Hempstead, N.Y.; domestic, economic policy; Bob Schieffer moderating

VP debate:
Oct. 2 in St. Louis; Gwen Ifill moderating