Sunday, October 31, 2010

Republican enthusiasm, edited videos, and defective hippies

On Friday and Saturday, I attended several get-out-the-vote rallies for our Republican candidates and thought I'd share some of the photos and stories with you...

Friday, there was a large rally for Marco Rubio at the Marks Street Senior Center.  As is common at these rallies, staffers were passing out stickers supporting candidates.  Marco's team had a new one I hadn't seen before, but really liked:

We have a new shiny arena, and on Tuesday, we are going to get a new shiny Senator!
State Representative Scott Plakon's daughter Jeanne sang "God Bless America" to kick off the rally and then also sang her own version of "Tomorrow" from the Annie soundtrack.  She changes the lyrics to say "November" instead of "tomorrow."  I've been watching Jeanne sing this song all year.  She used to sing, "I love ya, November, you're only eight months away!" but on Friday she could finally sing "I love ya, November, you're only four days away!"  That got an extra big round of applause.

Here's Jeanne singing "November" at the Orange County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner back in March:

YouTube | Jeanne Plakon  - "The Sun Will Come Out November"

The Republican candidates appeared together on stage - Marco Rubio, Jeff Atwater, Adam Putnam - apparently the new uniform is blue shirt and khaki pants.  They even made several jokes about how they all looked alike:

The Republican Party is so united this year, our candidates are color-coordinated.
Marco Rubio gave a great speech, thanking everyone for supporting him.  He also talked about other races, commenting how great it was going to be "to trade in [an] Alan Grayson and get a Daniel Webster."

One of the reasons I respect Marco so much is that his message has not changed since he got into the race.  In early 2009, I had the privilege of being invited to lunch with several other Central Florida Republicans to talk with Marco about his Senate campaign.  At that point, Charlie Crist was pretty much acting like he had a crown on his head.  I had heard Marco speak at events before, but had never had a chance to meet him directly.  He just plain impressed the heck out of me.  Solid mix of intelligence and common sense, natural political instinct, easy sense of humor, confident but not egotistical (unlike some people, cough cough, Charlie, cough cough).

After that lunch meeting, my decision was easy.  I was on Team Marco.  I hosted a fundraiser in July 2009, one of the first in Orlando for Marco (maybe even the very first).  I remember getting a lot of phone calls and comments about it, asking why I was supporting him when Charlie was "definitely" going to win, and Marco was "inevitably" going to switch to the AG race, Marco was too many points down and "could never" win, didn't I want a political career, etc.

Well, even at that point, every time the media ran a story saying Marco couldn't win because Marco was polling at "X" and Charlie was polling at "Y," Marco's "X" got higher and Charlie's "Y" got lower.  Add that to the easily-observable reality that every time people heard Marco speak, they didn't just like what they heard, they loved it.  And again, he's been faithful and consistent in his stances, see this article from WDBO from the same day as my fundraiser.

I still remember parts of the speech Marco gave at that July 2009 fundraiser (kicking myself for not videoing it!) and was thinking about it while I listened to Marco on Friday.  Same ideas, same goals, same principles.  In a political era where Charlie pinky-swears on national TV that he's a "Jeb Bush Republican" only to abandon the party, flip flop on pretty much everything and everyone (he's now promising Democrats that he will caucus with them), Marco's steadfastness and reliable conservative principles are a giant breath of fresh air.

Side note: how weird - not to mention totally creepy - is it that Charlie called Meek at 4:50 am?  He's so desperate, he's now resorting to political booty calls.  Another thought...first Charlie tried to bully Marco out of the Republican primary, last week he tried to bully Kendrick Meek out of the race.  If current trends hold, Alex Snitker better watch his back, he's next!

At the end of the rally, I shook Marco's hand and told him while I had been confident that this day was possible last year when he was 20 points down in the polls, but now that it was actually here, it felt even better than I had expected.  Big grin from Marco for that comment.

I then went to a rally being held for Daniel Webster at the corner of Bumby and Colonial.  Webster is touring around District 8 with his truck, calling it his "F150 Tour."   I parked across the street and walked over to join everyone.  There were a lot of people there, including a large number of families and children.

View as I walked over to the Webster rally, intersection of Bumby and Colonial
Part of the Webster crowd.  Couldn't get them all in the shot, people behind me and more to the left.  Truck was parked to the right and people all around it too.

Last light of the day shining on Webster's face as he gets ready to give his speech.  Hopefully Tuesday will see the sun set on Grayson's tenure in Congress too!

Webster gave a great speech to a very enthusiastic crowd.

My next Congressman
Right after I took this picture, things got...interesting.  Several Grayson supporters, about 3 or 4 guys, showed up and started yelling and trying to interrupt Webster's speech.  One guy in particular was extremely aggressive, getting right behind the truck and waving his sign behind Webster.  Well, as the Sentinel has already reported, Bruce O'Donoghue (Republican primary candidate for District 8) went and took the sign from the guy.  A Webster staffer quickly went over and calmed the situation down and had Bruce give the guy his sign back.  Bruce walked away, the guy went back to hopping up and down and yelling, a little further back than before, no big deal.

The Sentinel article has the video, so you can judge for yourself...except...notice that the video cuts from right after Webster starts talking to when Bruce approached the guy.  The video editor completely cut out the part where the guy was practically climbing on the truck and waving his sign right behind Webster.  This may not have been a particularly well thought out move for Bruce, but holy heck, he didn't hurt the guy, it was over in seconds, I just don't understand the fuss.  Considering how close the guy was getting to Webster and how aggressive he was acting, I was honestly a little worried about the guy's intentions and was glad that he kept a little more distance after Bruce snatched his sign.

Of course, in the delusional and self-important worldview of Alan Grayson, he is screaming bloody murder about one little sign getting snatched, folded and then handed back, saying that it was an example of "the increasing number of incidents of violence perpetrated by right-wing supporters."  Excuse me?!  What "incidents of violence?"  You mean the tea party movement rallies, where we go around with trash bags afterward and make sure there isn't even a gum wrapper left behind?  The gatherings of Republicans where we do wild things like say the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the National Anthem? 

The Webster crowd included, as I said before, a lot of families and children.  The Grayson supporters that showed up were shouting a lot of ugly, aggressive, offensive things even with those children there.  Grayson clearly didn't have very high standards in who he hired.  Yes, I said "hired:" several of the so-called supporters admitted to us that they had been paid to come and protest.

Contrast that to this video showing the hundreds of volunteers who showed up to walk for Dan Webster a few weekends ago:

YouTube | 1000 Patriot Walk

The funny thing was, most of the Grayson people didn't show up until the event was over and the crowd was dispersing.  There were only 4 or 5 of them who made it before the speeches were over.  There were about 2 dozen or so by the time I had left, but the sun was setting and the crowd was dispersing. 

The really funny thing was that these hired protesters were total amateurs.  Besides being very late, they didn't seem to know what they were supposed to do, milling around confused.  Several of them tried to start chants but they had trouble getting everyone to yell the same words at the same time.  They pretty much just gave up and went back to yelling insults at women and children.  We all saw the irony in the situation, and I commented that I was disappointed in them.  "They just don't make liberals like they used to.  I thought they knew how to do street protests.  We got the defective hippies!"

Regardless, the whole scene just illustrated the vast, vast difference between Dan Webster and Alan Grayson.  I was very proud to fill in the bubble next to Webster's name last week during early voting, and I look forward to being even prouder when I can call him Congressman.

Photo taken by Todd Catella, who describes it as "I see the sun rising on a new political day!"

[more coming later from the Jeb Bush rally Saturday...]

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Sarah, for giving us 'the rest of the story'... Most news outlets forgot to tell us everything, as usual. Based on watching the video, there was just one person, and he wasn't saying much.

    Grayson will stop at nothing, absolutely nothing. Here's hoping that on November 3rd, he'll be LAME DUCK Congressman Grayson.


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