I had previously asked for the day off, but had no plans. Then Sarah Palin's campaign stop in Dover, New Hampshire was announced, at the high school. How often do we in NH get to see a major-party candidate after the primary? Not often. So I did the website magic to print myself a ticket, and I was off.
Parking was about a mile away, and I walked. Mostly Republican signage all the way, but some irate Democrat did a big homemade one near the intersection of Route 108 and Back River Road:
Ah, someone was absent the day teacher went over the difference between "infer" and "imply." And apparently saying (never mind "inferring") that Governor Palin is a racist and unchristian is OK; noting Obama's (factual) ties to William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn is out of bounds. Irony is lost on these people.
But this turned into a minor theme for the day. For example, at the turnoff to the high school, a bunch had set up camp with their batch of homemade signs. Typical: "HATE IS NOT A FAMILY VALUE!"
Oh, really? Gee, I thought it was. Now I'm going to have to rethink that.
I wonder: do Republicans do this kind of thing at equivalent Democratic Party events? What kind of mentality does it take to show up at these things and (essentially) tell all assembled that they're a bunch of evil racist haters?
But that sort of thing was a minor irritation/entertainment. Mostly attending this event was about standing. Specifically, standing in a long line for a long time. I'd gotten there kind of early, and things were running late. Rumor had it that the Secret Service was taking an extra long time to "sweep" the gym, where the event was to be held. In the meantime, party people worked the line, selling buttons, handing out stickers, asking for volunteers. Jeb Bradley, who is running to retake his House seat from the woman who defeated him two years back, shook approximately everyone's hand. I also got shaken by gubernatorial candidate Joe Kenney.
Eventually we moved, though. Slowly, since the entire crowd had to go through metal detectors and professionally shooped with a magic sniffing wand by a polite but firm Secret Service agent. Finally made it to the gym for … much more standing! Sarah was running late, having been delayed (it was claimed) by Air Traffic Control. In the gym, activists were still busy, handing out pompoms and placards.
After a bit, Jeb Bradley and Senator John E. Sununu got up on stage and worked the crowd. Jeb introduced John, and John gave a short speech using the phrase "big-government liberal" approximately 137 times. But he also reminded people there about the legislation he sponsored a couple years back to reform Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (which garnered McCain later as a co-sponsor) which was bottled up by Congressional Democrats. This is a good thing for both Sununu and McCain to hit over and over again.
But then we were back to waiting. Loud country/rock standards were played for what seemed like an hour. Because it was, like, an hour.
Finally, Sarah's "Straight Talk Express" bus pulled in—we could see it through the open gym doors. Yay! At last! And soon enough: color guard, pledge, anthem, introduction by Jeb Bradley, and then it's Sarah striding to the podium amidst the crowd going nuts.
Yes, she looks just about as perfect in person as she does on the tube.
She has a pretty good speaking style. She schmoozed us, telling us all what a great state we live in, wishing "Live Free or Die" was Alaska's motto too, which the crowd loved. (So did I, truth be told.) It was a positive speech, entirely devoted to praise of John McCain and traditional GOP values. I'm pretty sure she mentioned neither Obama or Biden by name. People looking for her to "infer" that Obama was a terrorist were no doubt disappointed.
Also: If you believed recent efforts by the MSM to paint GOP rally crowds as violence-prone knuckle-draggers, you would have been disappointed by the Dover crowd. About as rowdy as things got: on the 87th repetition of "big government liberals" phrase by John Sununu, some guy yelled "Socialists!"
No, that wasn't me.
Although the Governor delivered her speech well, there were a few things that grated:
- she railed (briefly) against Wall Street "greed and corruption"
and kind of handwaved about McCain's plan which will (somehow) bail out
the honest hard-working folks, but (somehow) avoid bailing out those
fat-cat plutocrats. Shortly after, she had nothing but praise for
the "private sector."
Better not think about that too hard. Just keep saying: well, at
least they're better than the Democrats.
She noted McCain's pledge to balance the budget at the end of his first
term. Not going to happen, and it's an insult to intelligence to
Equally intelligence-insulting was the claim that a McCain
administration would impose "energy independence" on the US. And she
said it as if it were not only possible (which it isn't), but
a good thing (which it isn't). See here for a brief Cato takedown.
For more on Sarah's day in the Granite State, Granite Grok has detailed and excellent coverage of her Weirs Beach event. (Dammit, Mark Steyn was there. I would have gone to Weirs Beach just to meet Mark Steyn, never mind Sarah!)