Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sarah Palin and Rick... impressive spectacle...

I went to the Sarah Palin rally with Rick today... luckily I have meetings in Houston Monday any way so I didn't have to miss the Super Bowl tonight trying to fly back to Austin... Geaux Saints... Drew Brees really deserved a Super Bowl win... but I digress.

This Rick and Sarah event was presidential level... music, confetti... thousands of people... well oiled production... diversity in the speaker line up including an African American minister and a Hispanic justice... a big brass band... multimedia interactivity... multiple cameras... a live internet stream... Ted Nugent playing the National Anthem in a very Jimi Hendrix type of way... a sign language section... it was crazy how every detail was considered. Will call was a little annoying but fairly efficient... I was not prepared for the chilly weather and having to wait in a crazy long line as they checked each person as they entered... and of course being Super Bowl Sunday was a little odd in terms of timing. Other than that it went very smoothly, and I was shocked there was not a huge group of Medina peeps who tried to disrupt it.

They even had concessions open. I had a pretzel and some popcorn to take in the show.

Even the opening act... an Aggie country singer named Granger Smith... was solid. I have to wonder how much Rick's peeps spent on this event, or if they were able to recoup their money from a private event?

I have no idea what the motives behind this event were beyond just firing people up for Texas early voting, but if this was some sort of "try out" for Rick and Sarah as a ticket sometime in the future it was a big success.

Jason Embry already published a good account of the event (link). Excerpt follows...

In what looked more like a presidential rally than a gubernatorial one — there was confetti and rock music and a slew of television cameras — Palin followed the course that Perry has set throughout his campaign by repeatedly bashing Washington but never saying Hutchison’s name.

“What’s it going to be?” Palin asked the crowd of roughly 8,000. “The way they operate in D.C. or the way y’all get things done in Texas?”

Hutchison has scored the support of a number of Republican luminaries, including former President George H.W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney. But with Palin, Perry scored a A-lister who is more closely identified with the tea-party activists who are playing an increasingly important role in today’s GOP.

Sunday’s was a particularly raucous event in a campaign usually fought through television commercials, press releases and small gatherings around the state.

Christy Hoppe put the number at 15,000, but it was definitely closer to the 8,000 that Embry estimated (link). Although what do I know about crowd estimation? It was hard to tell because there were empty seats in the back of the facility and in the upper deck, but the floor was crammed like sardines... thousands of them... with peeps trying to get close to Sarah Palin. Excerpt follows...
About 15,000 people formed a line that snaked around the Berry Center in Cypress, just northwest of Houston. They've come an hour early on Super Bowl Sunday to grab tickets and see the vice presidential nominee, and oh yes, Rick Perry.
The crowd is big, really big, for a governor's campaign and is more on the scale of a presidential rally.
They even had a blogger section with tables for computers... one of the bloggers in attendance the Libertarian Republican had a good live blog of the event (link). Excerpt follows...
3:10 pm

Sarah and Rick arrive. George Straight blaring...

Folks, it doesn't get any better than this. I am literally in tears.

Oh my, her outfit is wild! Piper w/Sarah. Both standing right next to Ted. Rick speaking. "There's a game going on today, but the real action is here..."
This was a common reaction... people reacted extremely emotionally... I was a little cynical about Sarah Palin going into it but seeing all of the little girls in the audience with their moms admiring Sarah Palin as a strong conservative female role model made even my heart melt a little bit.

There was one part of the rally that I thought was interesting... obviously Kay's peeps scored a big PR win when they got CNN and others to talk about Rick's campaign strategist using the word "retarded" right after Sarah Palin called for Rahm Emmanuel to be fired for saying Democrats who defied Obama were "f-ing retards." Well... she is obviously sensitive because she has a special needs child Trig but maybe a little too sensitive...

Well, Sarah mentioned today that she was in Texas when she went into labor with Trig. She was speaking at an oil and gas conference with Rick, and she went into labor just as she was finishing her speech. She said Rick was the last person to see her before she flew back up to Alaska and gave birth... one of those stories you would never know about. Her bringing up that story seemed to put the issue to rest.

Sarah was definitely drinking the kool-aid... I get the feeling that she got her speech from Rick's speech writer because she had all the talking points Rick uses about Texas being the best state in America. Rick himself seemed to be enjoying it all in a big way and seemed really hyped up. Maybe slightly over caffeinated, but he was definitely on his game. At least he didn't wear that terrible brown 1980s looking suit he has been wearing lately... he had a nice light blue shirt and a blazer.

I also think they may have inadvertently or purposely debuted Rick's new campaign television ad... it was very good, but I don't see it online anywhere and I have not seen it on television yet either... unless it was made specifically for today's event.

My final comment on today's event was that I was surprised just how much Rick went after Kay despite never uttering her name. He did the old trick speech writers use for large crowds where you say things and actually hope people will boo and hiss... "Do you want Washington style programs?" NO!!!!!

"Or Texas solutions?" YES!!!!!

"Do you want someone who has voted for 95% of all spending in Washington, and voted to raise the debt limit?" NO!!!

"Or someone who has cut taxes, cut spending, and runs balanced budgets here in Texas?" YES!!!

I liked that interactivity which is missing from most political speeches I have witnessed recently. Compared to Kay's event in Houston with former Vice President Dick Cheney which drew maybe 2 or 3% of the people that today's Palin event drew (link), today's Perry and Palin rally had to be a real kick in the pants for Kay.

Rick has Kay beat at this point. He just needs to avoid a macaca moment, and if he can close the deal with a good solid positive ad about the strength of Texas he will win on March 2 with no runoff necessary. I look forward to new polling data soon... and after Bill White destroys Farouk in the debate Monday night the general election might as well be on...

1 comment:

  1. The reason for the timing was Palin is in Houston for a paid speech Monday morning. On Friday night she was in Salina Kansas where a sold out venue of over 6,000 people paid $25 to hear her speak at the Chamber of Commerce dinner. Saturday night she was in Nashville for the Tea Party speech. On Monday morning she speaks at a Houston motivational seminar at 9:00 am (Rudy Guliani and Colin Powell speak there later in the day). Following her speech she immediately jets to Redding California where she will speak at 3:00PM Monday afternoon with a second speech at 7:00PM. Both speeches are sold out with over 2,500 at each speech paying up to $100 to hear her. The promoter had to expand it to two speeches because of the unbelievable demand. The week after she is attending the Daytona 500 NASCAR race and then the next day speaking at the Daytona Florida Chamber of Commerce where they have had to relocate the dinner to an arena to accommodate the demand. Then, she is speaking in Little Rock Arkansas for the state GOP fundraiser in a 15,000 seat arena. Given her speaking calendar, together with her FOX work, it is unlikely she can make it back to Texas before the March 2nd election date. Hence today was the only day she could stump for Perry.

    They probably arranged the event as they did because they knew she would draw a huge crowd for Perry - more than he could ever draw by himself. The presence of all the cameras probably indicates the Perry camp was shoting a lot of video from many different angles with the big crowd and the cheering fans to use in future campaign ads and videos.

    You will note that they did not allow people to bring their Palin signs into the rally and passed out "homemade" looking Perry only signs to the crowd.

    As for a future national ticket - forget about it. Although I don't think she will ever run for office again, it's President or nothing for Palin. She will never accept another VP nomination. And if she is on the top of the ticket she will want a moderate to run with her to balance the ticket. However, by 2012 Perry might have morphed himself back into a moderate!


Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.