Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hail To The Chief

Last night I made it out to see the President stump for Jerry Kilgore. It turned out to be a great night and this morning my voice is so messed up from cheering that I sound like Emperor Palpatine. I think I scared the Dunkin Donuts girl when I was ordering my coffee.

I actually considered not going at all. I needed to get to the gym and take care of some errands and pay some bills. But when I used that rationale I felt like an old man and got angry at myself. So when my coworker asked if he should pick me up a ticket I said sure. We left around 5:30 to drive over to the airport. When arriving I accidentally got in the wrong lane and drove right past the huge line of cars waitng to park. Thankfully the nice traffic man let me turn right in and get some prime parking. There were protestors at the entrance to the airport, just the token "No blood for oil" and "give peace a chance" loonies. But the thing I noticed about them was that they all looked like ragged refugees. I mean seriously when I first saw them I totally expected their signs to say "will work for fud".

Tthere were shuttles from the parking lot to the actual hangar where the speeches would take place. We went through security where the metal detector Lady dropped my iPod on the ground. Thankfully it was in a protective neoprene case and there was no damage.

We got there almost two hours early and the hangar was already crowded, we couldn't even get very far inside at all. And it was a pretty boisterous crowd too, despite the large number of elderly people there. We stood around for a while and the crowd kept getting bigger and bigger. After a while we couldn't tell how big the crowd was because we were just squeezed in and couldn't really see very far around us. They had music playing on the loudspeakers but it wasn't very exciting. But I did think it was funny when they played a Sheryl Crow song, she's been an outspoken (and by outspoken I mean borderline delusional) critic of Bush. The crowd was really ready for the event to begin, the people in front would start screaming whenever anyone walked even close to the podium.

After opening in prayer and saying the Pledge, Bob McDonnel and Bill Bolling came out to warm up the crowd. They just gave their generic stump speeches trying to whip the crowd in to a frenzy. There was also a House Whip there who was a good speaker. After they were done the VIP's were seated in the bleachers behind the podium as the music came back on. After a short wait Mr.Voice came on and told us to direct our attention to the southern sky to watch the arrival of Air Force One. They played some dramatic Trevor Rabin music as the plane landed. It was actually really cool, I couldn't see the plane very well because everyone had been oriented towards the stage and it was hard to turn around to see. But it was very dramatic.

When the President entered with Kilgore the cheering was deafening and went on for a while. Kilgore talked for a few minutes and then introduced the President. Bush is a much better public speaker in person than he seems on tv. He was relaxed and conversational while at the same time being energetic. He hit the basic campaign points and go huge cheers for right-to-life, 2nd amendment, lower taxes, teachers, and traffic improvements. One thing he didn't touch on was the illegal immigrants. I only mention that because everyone else to got on the mic hit on that point pretty hard. He spoke for about 15- 20 minutes then he shook some hands with the people up front and left. It was really awesome to see him in person, I'm extremely glad I went.

I managed to get out early and get on one of the first shuttles back to the parking lot. As I was sitting in the shuttle waiting to move I looked out at all the people waiting and realized how many there actually were. I would say there were upwards of 2000 people. But I could be wrong, it was very hard to tell. Overall it made a nice evening. Oh one other thing I thought was very cool, when we were saying the Pledge and got to the part about "under God" a bunch of younger people literally shouted the word God. It sounded very cool. One other thing that struck me was how superficial the stump speeches sounded. Maybe it's just from blogging and becoming a political junkie that made me want more. I mean they would say "We are going to do " and people cheered, I cheered too but I was also asking "ok how?". I mean I know how they plan to do it because I have been reading up on them. But I wish they would stick some more meat in the speeches. But I guess it really wasn't the time for it. And I'm pretty sure this isn't just a Republican thing either. Oh well I guess you can't have politics without politicians.

Also I saw someone there wearing a Club Gitmo shirt, great stuff.

Check out the The(not so) Daily Me for pictures and quotes from the speech. He managed to get a lot closer than I did.