The information I received about the event stated that doors would open at 5:30PM and Giuliani would speak at 6:30PM. Of course I knew 6:30 really meant no earlier than 6:45, but it quickly [sorry wrong descriptive word...insert slowly for quickly] turned into 7:30. Yeah, it was a long boring wait. No wait scratch that, it was an excruciating long and boring wait. A looped track of every stereotypical conservative country song, minus the Dixie Chicks, played monotonously turning the minutes into hours. I knew the wait was getting bad when the songs started to repeat themselves [I know all country music songs repeat themselves, but I mean it literally this time]. I swore to my wife if I had to hear Alan Jackson's Itty Bitty one more time I was going to vote for Hillary; and at the time I was serious. Hell, I am half serious now.
In an effort to pass the time, my wife and I played a game of "Celebrity Look-A-Like." We found a dead ringer of Tim Curry, a so-so John Kerry/Lurch, the real Jerry Springer [I swear to God, it was Jerry Springer...it was a Giuliani rally after all] and not to mention the entire casts of Will and Grace and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy [once again it was a Giuliani rally after all...not that there's anything wrong with that].
Let me make this clear to any Rudy staffer that might be reading this: chairs are not socialist, communist, liberal tools. Chairs are nonpartisan and should be used. When the elderly are leaving because they can longer stand...to...um...stand, it's time to put out a folding chair or fifty. I get; the Rudy campaign wanted their precious press release photo opportunity, however as I reported earlier the Des Moines Register didn't cover the event anyway so they should have at least provided a freakin' chair. I bet Hillary's rally had chairs, if not cots [I would use a Hillary speech to overcome insomnia if it wasn't for the nightmares it might cause]. Photo ops. are nice, but Republicans need to understand they will never have the large audiences that Democrats play to because of one very important reason: Republicans have jobs. Democrats attend rallies in droves, if for no other reason than than to support their gravy train existence. Republican rallies should always show their attendance numbers like this:
The Rudy Giuliani in West Des Moines on Tuesday night event drew over 400 people*For all my bitching, when Rudy finally took the stage it was worth it. He's a politician, I get that; but I like the fact that he's not as polished as most politicians. That's not to say his speech wasn't engaging, just the opposite; but it wasn't perfect. The words didn't always flow and some of the analogies were weak, but it was real. I am tired of perfect scripted bullshit from politicians telling me exactly what I want to hear. I want a leader will to confront me with the things I don't want to hear [but need to hear]; Giuliani is that person.
* indicates the actual number of people in attendance, but does not include the 100, 000 that would have attended if they weren't tired from working all day.
Giuliani is running on his leadership skills, which are vast and certainly unequaled by any of the other candidates in this campaign cycle. His record in New York can not be debate even by the most cynical among us. You can disagree with some of his tactics and decisions [both personal and public] but you CAN'T dispute the results. You can't, so just stop it; will save you the time of looking foolish.
Rudy had a great command of the audience and even stepped out from behind the podium. It was when he was walking around in front of the crowd when he appeared most comfortable. Stick with that approach Rudy. He focused on two things: fiscal restraint and staying on the offensive on the war on terrorism. I thought I was going to tear up...it was beautiful to hear a conservative say such things again. I damn I am getting all choked up just remembering it. Fiscal restraint...sniffle. Once again, while most Republicans will try to make the same case as Rudy, only Giuliani has the results to back it up.
The only other disappointment outside of the chairs, was that I missed all the protesters save one. I met a lady from Iowans For Sensible Priorities who wants to take a portion of the Pentagon budget and use it for social services like universal health care. She showed me a pie chart [which you can view on the website]which was printed on a gingerbread cookie and said we only need a small portion of the Pentagon's money for fund her pet projects. I felt a little sorry for her, because after just a few questions from me she was stumbling for answers. She clearly had a predetermined speech and was unable to work off the cuff. I only asked her things like: which part of the Pentagon's budget, in her opinion, would be suitable for cuts? Border defense? Troop benefits? Homeland security? No response. Then I asked her why we couldn't cut funding to the other side of her graph from such things as social services and administrative costs? She stammered, because "those things are all good." All good? All other areas of the federal government besides the Pentagon are so well managed that no cuts can be made? Again no answer. She quickly left me as a reporter from the Iowa State journalism department came up to us in mid conservation. Unfortunately for her, he grilled her harder than I did.
An event this early in the election cycle is not without it's faults, but it allowed me an opportunity to personally see the man I support for President. It reaffirmed my beliefs. It also reaffirmed my belief that chairs are wonderful inventions and listening to an hour and a half of country music is enough to make me vote Democrat.