Here's the main thing I learned: I would make an absolutely lousy reporter. After the wireless went out, I variously scribbled notes on paper and in Notepad, and they are pretty much worthless. I missed the names of a lot of speakers, and didn't get any pithy quotes from anyone.
Oh well. Things I noticed:
Overall attitude of the attendees and speakers leaned toward
"pissed off". You know that old Elvis Costello song with
the lyric: "I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused"?
I didn't see a lot of people that felt that way.
Based on nothing but looking around the small park,
I'd guess that turnout was about the same
or slightly less than last year. I wouldn't be surprised to be wrong,
I spent most of my time sitting at the Blogger's Row table,
because, well, it was sitting, and otherwise I'd be standing.
(A list of attending bloggers, unfortunately not all of whom I met, here.)
And I kept hoping that WiFi would magically return.
But this meant I didn't wander around the park like last year. Based on my limited observations, I didn't see any obvious lefty infiltrators. The signs were strongly worded, many of them chuckle-inducing, but I didn't see any remotely racist, and only a couple that might have been vaguely birther.
Probably the worst sign was held by an elderly gent: "BARACH [sic] ENEMY OF USA". Misspelled and overheated. I remarked to a co-blogger: "That's the one that'll probably wind up on the local news." I didn't check to see if I was right, though.
My favorite sign was: "ARE YOU BETTER OFF NOW THAN YOU WERE 4 TRILLION DOLLARS AGO?"
A number of folks had cool Gadsden flag t-shirts for sale. Unfortunately,
everyone ran out of XL pretty quick. I'm not saying the crowd as a whole
could stand to lose a few pounds, but…
But I didn't have to spend money, because
there were plenty of freebies: I could have had dozens of "Lynch Lied"
bumperstickers. (And so can you. Their website is here.) I got a "1.20.13 End of an
Error" sticker too. Jim
Bender, candidate for US Senate, dropped by a DVD in support of his
campaign. Karen Testerman,
running for Governor, was also brave enough to press the flesh
on Blogger's Row.
Grant Bosse was the
intrepid Master of Ceremonies, and he (at least) was able to
crack a few good jokes in between introducing speakers.
- The speakers were good, but there were a lot of 'em, and things got a little repetitious.
Murphy gave a stemwinding speech, inviting audience participation
on repeating the truism: "the bigger the government, the smaller the
citizen". True, and worth mulling. (Skip was, in general, busier
than the button on a fat man's vest. I swear I saw him, somehow,
in three different places at the same time.)
He even managed to snap a picture of me. Click to embiggen,
although why would you want to?
Tom Thompson, son of the late ex-Governor Meldrim Thompson, was there
to introduce the keynote; Tom had a very large ax to illustrate
his dad's old "Ax the Tax" slogan.)
The keynote speaker was ex-Senator Gordon Humphrey
who sat firmly on the "disgusted" side of the Costello scale. He also
had a prop: a toilet labeled "IRS". The symbolism was clear enough.
Probably the other big star of the party was Republican
Congressman from Michigan, Thaddeus McCotter.
He gave a very brief, low-key speech. Uninformed speculation
Cameron of Angry Seafood/Radioactive
Liberty: Thad's gonna run for President in 2012. You know what? So
far, he's got my vote.