September 16, 2003

Saturday at the Steak Fry

Last Saturday, I was in Indianola, IA for the annual Tom Harkin Steak Fry. Never heard of it? I hadn't either. But apparently, there were going to be a lot of Dean folks there, and it was only four hours away, and Lee, Vern, Kelly, and Loren were going to be there, and I could visit Kathy too.

I drove over there through some miserable weather, at one point getting so dark that I switched to the radio in case of weather warnings. By the time I got there it was just a light drizzle, enough to be annoying.

As I drove east on highway 92, I pass two guys holding up a sheet announcing a Dean rally at a nearby site. Well, hey, why not. So I went in there, got a T-shirt, hung out for a while. Lee et al showed up a few minutes later and I chatted with them, suitably impressed by the Dean T-shirt they had made in a size-6mo for Loren. And eventually, The Doctor himself showed up and gave a short speech. Woo! I was about ten feet away, and I got some great pictures.

Then everyone trekked over to the main steak fry itself. The mud was unbelievable; this thing is held in, essentially, a field, where it had been raining for the last day or two. And now there were several thousand people walking around on it. Think Woodstock.

Six of the Dem candidates were there. Gephardt had shown up briefly at the beginning and then left (without speaking, I guess) because he had something more important to do (hard to believe). Sharpton just blew the thing off. And Lieberman doesn't campaign on Saturdays, so he wasn't there, although I privately suspect he would've avoided it anyway.

That left the actual liberal candidates. They each gave a five-minute speech. I now think I would be comfortable voting for any of those six, although I feel pretty "enh" for a few of them. Kucinich has great ideas, but he is a terrible public speaker. Kerry's only exciting ideas are the ones he "borrowed" from Dean. It's too bad Braun is such an unviable candidate, because I think she'd make an interesting President---my opinion of her went up considerably after hearing her speak. I actually rather like Edwards. Graham is pure "enh".

Dean was, without a doubt, the most engaging speaker there. He was passionate and captivating, and didn't sound like he was reading something someone else wrote (because, of course, he wasn't). I supported him before even I thought he could win, and long before anyone mainstream thought that, and now I find myself actually supporting someone that looks to be the clear frontrunner. What a strange feeling. It sure looked like more than half the people there were sporting Dean paraphernalia; certainly there were more Dean supporters than for anyone else.

After that, Clinton spoke for about twenty minutes. Good heavens, that guy is a great speaker. He's funny and interesting, and very easy to listen to. He emphasised the importance of supporting your guy now, but whoever won the primary; I take his point, but I reserve the right to re-abandon the Dems if Lieberman wins, maybe also Gephardt. A second focus of Clinton's speech was on getting the word out about just who's getting these tax cuts and who's losing out to pay for them. People just don't know! He also put a lot of stress on building up our clean-energy domestic resources... if that's his current thing, I'm pleased as punch. If he can bring the Clinton Democrats onboard for a few environmental measures, we'll have a much better chance of passing them.

Oh, and the food was great. Back in New England, I would've fully expected to pay $15 or $20 for just the food. $25 for the whole event... what a bargain.

"If you think about it, the Confederacy has finally won the Civil War---a long-awaited victory won by luring stupid Yankees down there with a promise of 5,000 BTUs and a built-in icemaker." --Michael Moore, Stupid White Men

Posted by blahedo at 3:10pm on 16 Sep 2003
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