Sen. McCain at New Town

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:04 AM

Well, here's the story. I first heard Sen. McCain was coming to town last Friday. When I discovered he was coming on Monday morning at a rally starting at 9:00 a.m., however, I was disappointed. I have a class at 11:30; I never skip class, but even had I wanted to, I couldn't, since there was a quiz.

That aside, I wondered if maybe just maybe there would be enough time to squeeze in the rally. I've been to rallies in 2000 and 2004, and I really hated to miss the opportunity to cheer on “my candidate” this year. There is something about the atmosphere of a rally which is worth experiencing, and just seeing the living, breathing candidate (and his entourage) is an amazing experience. It makes the race seem all the more personal.

Doors opened at 7:00 a.m., at which point the New Town amphitheater was rather empty, but by 9:00 a.m. it was relatively crowded for an early morning, weekday rally. Rep. Kenny Hulshof (running for governor) started the series of speeches at 8:45 a.m. or so. Amidst live country music from a local band, Mike Gibbons (running for attorney general of Missouri) and my district's U.S. congressman, Todd Akin (a Covenant Seminary alumnus), spoke as well. Finally right before 10:00 a.m., retired Sen. Jack Danforth (R-MO), now heading up McCain's effort to stop voter fraud, and Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) spoke.

Then, nearly perfectly on queue, the motorcade pulled up — you could see it, since this was an outdoor event — and out came Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ). It struck me as interesting that I was seeing two members of the Gang of 14 at once.

After Graham's introduction, McCain started speaking and a few things were striking. He seemed much younger, more passionate, more, well, John McCain-y, then he has seemed in a long time. Sen. McCain's voice boomed as he gestured wildly, defending Joe the Plumber, explained his plans, countered Sen. Obama's “spread the wealth” remarks, and worked his way to the crescendo of “Fight with me […] Stand Up! Stand up and Fight! Fight with me […] Now let's go win this election.”

It ended roughly like his nomination speech, but in person it was even more powerful. It works not just because the words are eloquent, but because the idea of Sen. McCain arguing for Americans to stand up and join him in a fight, fits his personality and his story. “We never hide from history. We make history.” McCain is a fighter, and a genuine American hero, for his service. That makes his call for so effective. While politically I have often had differences with him, I have been and remain confident he is the best man for the job. I supported him in the 2000 primary, and though I did not vote for him this primary season, I'm glad to have him as the nominee. It was an honor to see him in person.

Be sure to check out the photos I posted yesterday. I missed a few of my favorites, which I will post in the near future.

Also Filed Under: Home: Politics: Sen. McCain at New Town

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