Monday, November 3, 2008

From the Indiana Rally for Senator John McCain

The John McCain rally today at the Indianapolis International Airport was incredible! Thrown in at the last minute (Friday, actually), Senator McCain squeezed a rare stop in Indiana into his already busy schedule for the last day before the election. After volunteering to make calls for the campaign over the weekend, I left work early today, picked up the family, and headed to the rally.

We had VIP tickets for the event, which turned out to be unnecessary. Whoever did the planning for VIP ticketing needs their head examined. From what I could tell, the only benefit to having a VIP ticket was being able to sit down rather than stand throughout the event. The VIP seating was behind the stage where Senator McCain spoke, and from what I could see, he didn't turn once while speaking to acknowlege the VIPs behind him. Luckily, my wife caught on to this before the event began -- before any dignitaries arrived even -- and we gave up our VIP status to join the standing throng in front of the stage, where we had a great view of Senator McCain and the other speakers throughout the event.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard got the show started while the crowd waited for the arrival of Senator McCain's Straight Talk Express, followed by Greg Zoeller, current Chief Deputy to the Attorney General and candidate for Attorney General, and Dr. Tony Bennett, candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction. The three presented a strong, united front for the Repbulican party and for Senator McCain.

The surprise of the evening for many was the appearance of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels at the rally. Indiana's most successful, most popular, and arguably best Governor in the state's history signed autographs for the crowd before taking the stage to make some brief remarks and introduce Cindy McCain. There has been much speculation surronding the Governor's conspicuous absence from recent Sarah Palin events in the state, and the Governor's appearance today was a welcome relief that he stands united with Senator McCain for a strong America.

The Republican throng standing on the tarmac at the International Arrivals gate went wild at the first sign of Governor Daniels and started chanting "Our Man Mitch, Our Man Mitch." Governor Daniels is running for reelection this year, and frankly I don't know how he could possibly be defeated. Unfortunately, he has declared that this is the last time he will run for public office, quashing any hopes that he might ever run on a national ticket.

As Senator McCain's Straight Talk Express flew over the crowd coming into the airport, the crowd rose in uproar (unfortunately, we didn't get a picture of the flyover). Everyone turned as the aircraft taxied in behind us, hoping for a glimpse at their hope for the next President of the United States. As a throng of Secret Service Agents and media flowed from the tail of the plane, the crowed waited eagerly for a look at their hero. When Senator Joseph Lieberman, not Senator McCain, exited the plane, the crowd cheered approval at the attendance of Senator Lieberman at the event.

Governor Daniels was joined on the stage by Senator Lieberman and Florida's Republican Senator, Mel Martinez, who apparently joined Senator McCain during his earlier stop in Florida. Also in attendance was Senator Lindsey Graham, Cindy McCain, and the Senator's daughter Meghan.

When Senator McCain entered the stage, the crowd again was in an uproar, chanting "USA" and "John McCain" while the Senator waited for things to quiet down before approaching the podium.

The moment was electric. If you've never been to a political rally such as this one -- for any candidate -- you are missing something that everyone with even the slightest interest in politics should experience. Being there in person was nothing like watching the video played through over and over and over by the talking heads on the cable news networks. Senator McCain was bigger than life addressing the faithful in attendance today, and there was no mistaking their love and respect for their candidate.

I was not originally a supporter of Senator McCain in the early stages of the campaign, when there were some six or eight Republican candidates to choose from. You can search the site archives to see which Republican candidate(s) I supported before Senator McCain, but since the nomination and the GOP Convention, I have come to admire Senator McCain for the American hero that he is.

It is my sincere belief that Senator McCain has never intentionally deceived the American people. I believe he has always been straightforward with voters and has never backed down from his position on the issues. Senator McCain is the strongest candidate going into tomorrow's elections, and America will be a much stronger, better nation with John McCain in the White House than with the alternative.

Which brings me to one more comment before inserting some video from today's rally. There are a few third-party candidates on the ballot in several states tomorrow. And I know that they each have their following of loyal supporters. I have one observation I would like to share with my readers who support third-party candidates.

It is an unfortunate fact that your candidate cannot win the election tomorrow. As much as America should be beyond a two-party system, we are not, and only the two major party candidates have any real chance of winning tomorrow. I admire you for standing up for your beliefs in support of your chosen candidate. However, think of this: when you go into the polls tomorrow and cast your vote, no one knows for whom you are voting. You can cast your vote for John McCain and still say you supported your candidate, because you have been so outspoken in favor of him throughout the campaign. Yes, you can vote for John McCain and still support your candidate. Or, you can cast a vote for your third-party candidate, who doesn't stand a chance of winning, and essentially be supporting Barack Obama. Because a vote for a third-party candidate is a vote for Barack Obama, just as a vote for Ross Perot in 1992 was a vote for Bill Clinton. If your candidate wasn't running, and you had to vote for one of the two major party candidates tomorrow, for whom would you vote? I appeal to you, vote tomorrow as if there were only two candidates, and cast your vote for John McCain. You won't regret it.

Here is some video from today's rally:

video  video

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