Sunday, September 14, 2008

Palin in Carson City

I was hoping to get off this subject for awhile and get back to economic matters, but with Governor Palin's visit to Carson City on Saturday, well, you know I had to go. I'm really getting hooked on seeing candidates in person. Not for the star power, but seeing the human being, as opposed to the flickering image. I should probably leave you in suspense until the end of this story, but the short version is, this lady's no pushover. When she says she's going to Washington to "shake things up", I believe her. I believe she is capable of it.

I got to the Pony Express Pavilion about 12:30, having only a vague notion of when things were going to start. 2 hours standing in line talking with a guy named Jay from Sparks, and people watching. Then another 2 hours standing in the pavilion, mostly trying to guess who was with which security detail. Jay and I had a pretty good spot to the left of the stage and on the "rope line".

One of the more interesting security teams was a group of 5 men dressed in desert khaki with pockets for extra ammo clips. They were big guys, tall and wide. With buzz cuts and wrap shades, they looked like some sort of survival team. The kind of guys who could live for months in the outback, eating bugs and drinking water made from their own urine. When one of them got close enough to read his badge, it said Tahoe-Douglas Bomb Squad. So much for the survivalist thing. Maybe they eat bugs for a hobby.

The highlight of the pre-speech speakers, I think, was Barbara Vukanovich. She's like the Queen Mum of northern Nevada Republicans; the Every-Grandma; the living link to a time when Reno was a truly small town, when Sinatra was driving a Thunderbird and when stealing horses was still a hanging offense. We love her and she loves us.

Missing from this group was Governor Gibbons. Hmmm. I can't imagine what he had to do today that was more important than this. Boy, has his career taken a dive. I sense a coup coming in the 2010 elections, but it's too soon to tell where it will come from. Congressman Heller is the most obvious choice, but he seems too much of a party loyalist to mount an insurrection. I think it will come from lower down in the ranks.

Finally, after Lt. Governor Krolicki's speech and a rousing version of "Johnie B. Goode" and "Pretty Woman" from the band, some really mean looking guys in suits came in and surrounded the stage. It took the Governor and her husband several minutes to make their way to the stage. Of course, they came in from the opposite side from where I was. Todd, her husband, had been up on the stage earlier and nobody recognized him. At least I didn't. He's an easy going guy who has a bemused "I can't believe I'm here" expression.

Governor Palin's speech was a mix of lines from her original speech when she was first picked, some lines from the convention speech, and some new lines. It was a positive speech with no Obama-bashing. There wasn't a single sentence that wasn't met with a loud cheer and extended applause. I don't doubt that she could help a guy pick out a nice quality hunting knife at the local gun show, but she seems more like a business woman to me. The kind of person who could wade through a government accounting report and spot the problems. She's no-nonsense, confident, and direct.

Throughout the audience were a number of teenage girls. Too young to vote, but they all had "the look". It's the look that I used to have when dad would take me to the Giants game to see Willy Mays. This thing is bigger than a single election.

After the speech she came our way. As the crowd surged forward, I dropped my McCain/Palin sign that had been handed out to everyone earlier. There was no hope of bending over to pick it up, so I didn't get her autograph. No big deal. I learned long ago that I'm not an autograph collector. After the crowd thinned out I got my sign back, so I now have a sign with tattered edges and several foot prints on it. I did get to shake her hand and tell her she's terrific, so I was happy with that.

Jay, who had his hat signed by McCain at an earlier rally, now has both names on it. He was pretty pleased. Something for the grand kids. There was also a guy there with an old high school yearbook. Palin remembered him. She seems to genuinely enjoy meeting people.

It still seems strange to me that the local politicians don't seem to want to mix with the common folk. All those voters in one place and none of them made any effort at all. They seem to be content with the $100 wine and cheese affairs and the hell with everybody else. They all came in, sat down, gave their speech and went home. Little wonder people think of them as elitist.

Later, Jay and I went around to the exit. Chuck Yeager, of X-15 fame, who had been on the stage earlier was hanging out there. We got to shake his hand too. He doesn't do autographs. At 85 he is one grizzled veteran. Governor Palin probably spent more time shaking hands, signing things and meeting voters, than she did speaking. We didn't get to meet her again, but all in all everyone went home happy.

4 comments: said...

Democrats have a puzzle with a code name "Palin Problem". They have to solve it, and to do it effectively, because the prize is the White House.
Sarah is everywhere these days. No matter, if there are negative responses, rumors and resentments; or praises, support and encouragements. She filled media, and not only in America. Palinmania is spreading all over the world - everybody has their opinion on the new political celebrity of US.
The Palin avalanche is winning against Obama inundation. How should Democrats defeat her? Would it be better just keep their line of campaign and ignore populist idol of Republicans? Or should they put out their claws, oppose her and show her the real politics? - give advice to Democrats, if you think there still is an effective advice for them...

Ryan Jerz said...

Thanks for the writeup. She's a fascinating character, for sure. And I'm starting to understand that she really does represent a major change. Not the cliched slogan of change, but one that might involve people who never pay attention to actually pay attention. Everyone wants to talk about this right now. I actually thought of going to see her and I'm pretty much against those types of things.

Local So-and-so said...

Advice to Democrats? The only Democrat who listens to me is my mother. My only advice to her is to do what she thinks is right.

Mr. Jerz, I know your idea's on political blogs, and for the most part, you're right. I would still encourage you to go to something like this. It's free and you don't have to jump up and down waving a sign and yelling if you don't want to. You could just observe. I'd be interested to hear your take on them. I've been following your blog for some months now. You're way ahead of me on all this stuff.

Ryan Jerz said...

That's why I was thinking about going. I said to my wife that I really hate the idea of these things, but I also haven't been to one, so I really don't know. I'd love to check it out and see what it's like. I also think that I would want the first one of these that I attend to be for someone who really could have an impact on American history. Obama or Palin both represent that, so if the opportunity arises again, I think I might give it a shot.