One last rally for W here in Minnesota before Election Day. There were those who were encouraging me to skip it and work the phones instead for the 72 Hour Task Force Get Out The Vote (GOTV) effort. My captains blanketed the volunteers with pleas to do just that, as our energies would be much better placed in this way rather than standing in line for an hour and then screaming and yelling for the President when he appeared before the throngs.
But I decided that since I'm working the greater part of the 72 Hour Task Force (having arranged to take personal days off work on Monday & Tuesday), I could easily afford to indulge my battery recharge at Target Center. Besides, I've got a blog to write for, for cryin' out loud. What kind of a blog would this be if I didn't cover the rally? I never would have snapped that incredible picture just below this post.
As is turns out, that blanket email to the troops and the drive to recruit volunteers for the phone banks were completely effective. Over 50,000 phone contacts were made at the banks today, despite the rally! We exceeded our goals in phonecalls for the GOTV effort.
I wish I could say that everything went smoothly for me this morning. But it did not. I attended the volunteer training session for this event last Thursday evening. There was a very nice fellow from the national level who instructed us. He told us to enter Target Center this Saturday morning through the "7th Street Skywalk". Well, there are two problems with that. Firstly, we call them Skyways...not Skywalks. But I could easily forgive that. Hey, I know what you mean. But the real problem is that there is no skyway that spans 7th Street. There are but two skyways that access the Target Center; First Avenue, North (on the South end of the building) and 2nd Avenue, North (on the North end of the building). Another volunteer explained to me that the First Avenue, North skyway is connected to a 7th Street parking ramp and this is the "skywalk" he must have meant to identify. This made sense to me, as I've seen a parking ramp on 7th Street in Block E.
We were wrong.
The fellow had meant to refer to the massive 7th Street parking ramp on 2nd Avenue, North.
So, this morning, I hopped off the #28 bus at 8th & Hennepin and entered the Block E facility, rising on the escalator and coming to the skyway that would bring me to Target Center. There was a sign that read, "Due to the President Bush rally in Target Center, this skyway will be closed until 4 p.m. today"
Well, the story gets worse, but I think I've written enough about this tedium already. After a few more hurdles, I finally found the correct entrance and was able to do my job. In the final analysis, I would advise the Republican Party; Hey. When you're organizing a rally, let the locals train the volunteers. They know the turf better.
Just before W entered, we volunteers were allowed to our seats. I got to mine just as the big media screen showed the President and the First Lady deplaning at MSP airport. The Target Center was packed. I had been led to believe there were 20,000 in attendance. But Powerline
reports 23,000 and has some nifty pictures and a fine summary of the events. This is probably true, as I'd later heard that the arena was packed beyond capacity.
Some guy named Tice (they say he's some football guy) introduced the President. I was amazed. The President's entourage traveled from MSP airport to downtown in about 20 minutes. Now that is what we call Executive Power. Needless to say, no MetroTransit bus ever made that trip is such time.
The President was very fresh and on and energized. He seemed in peak form. He was articulate. He was funny. He was endearing. His speech was a Frankenstein (if you'll excuse the Halloween euphemism) of the speeches I've seen him deliver over the past several months. He did what he needed to do in this speech, which is to say, he reminded us of his commitment to defending America, reminded us of his opponent's dismal record and duplicity, reminded us of his rounded platform, striking all the buzzwords that have been incorporated into the campaign strategy. He affirmed that Election Day is just three days off and that some of the most important work remains to be done. Then he said something that brought me to my feet yelling in approval;
"We will win the 10 Electoral Votes of the State of Minnesota on Election Day."
That, folks, is what we have been all about for these many months. I and my fellow Bush volunteers have mostly believed that W will be reelected to the White House. But winning Minnesota is the prize. Minnesota is where we live. Minnesota is the turf of this grassroots campaign. We want Minnesota to be BUSH COUNTRY. When Minnesota is Bush Country, all those Kerry-Edwards signs and buttons will be reduced to mere flotsam. They won't be banners of protest or defiance. When Minnesota is Bush Country, the Kerry-Edwards bumper stickers remaining, weathered and wrinkled on chrome will be statements that proclaim; "This car is driven by a LOSER"
Damn, this is some political process we put ourselves through. I feel so proud to be an American. I just hope the next few days bear that out.
So, 23,000 people were energized outside of their skulls and then dished out onto the streets of Minneapolis. There were some pitiful Democrat demonstrations being conducted out on First Avenue, North. I could already feel the desperation in their spirits as it dawns upon them that they are about to be denied power for another four years. 23,000 vs. 50; nolo conteste.
So, after a quick early dinner at a downtown eatery, I bopped on down to the downtown phonebank. Snarfing up 3 sheets of phone numbers, I phoned approximately 120 identified Republicans leaning toward Bush-Cheney and reminded them to vote this coming Tuesday. Following the script, I reminded them of their Republican candidate for Congress and their local Minnesota Representative on the Party ticket. Everyone I called was ready and eager to vote for W and knew their polling place, or they informed me they already voted absentee.
There were, however, a few exceptions. One fellow I called sneered at me saying, "Oh, I see the fascists have got my number. We're trying to avoid World War III here!"
They know they are losing this election. And they don't understand that we are already fighting World War III...a war that Kerry wants to go back to ignoring.
But we won't ignore it. We will win this election and we will carry on with the Bush Doctrine until the Middle East and Asia Minor are transformed to embrace hope in a more peaceful world. We can no longer afford to ignore tyranny abroad. That lesson was brought home to us on September 11th, 2001. This does not mean we are shielded from danger. Far from it. But we recognize that threats must be met before they fully materialize.
George W. Bush understand these threats. He, like us and unlike John Fudgin' Kerry, was changed on 9/11, and will continue to wage an offensive against our enemies so that they will not be able to strike us again with impugnity.
One last observation. W never once referred to the recent Osama bin Laden threat. This is notable. This mass murderer wishes to inject himself into the American political process, but our president will have nothing to do with that. The themes and ideas on the campaign trail are about Americans and American issues, needs and dreams. We should not allow a madman to play a part in that process. And W's campaign had no part of any such thing.
The American people know this man; George W. Bush. Fear has nothing to do with our decision to reelect him. We will reelect him because he is a strong leader in dangerous times.