Reflections on the Rally

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:30 AM

Well, I know I keep promising, so here are some thoughts — scattered as they may be at one o'clock — about the rally on Tuesday.

I've already said it was great. The speakers, who hit on a lot of important issues, including the Missouri Marriage Amendment, where interesting. Save for MO GOP chairwoman Ann Wagner, it was a mostly positive set of remarks too. Ms. Wagner did do a bit of mud slinging, on the other hand, comparing a Kerry Speech to a root canal and doing an obligatory slam of President Clinton. Other than that, though, most of the presentations were purposeful statements of what the politicians hoped to do.

With an estimated 11,000 people in attendance, the arena was almost full and and certainly was full of anticipation. There was a definite sense of anticipation back in November of 2000 at the Family Arena when the then-Gov. Bush came in for one of the last pre-election rallies, but that excitement was far larger now that Dubya is the most powerful man in the free world.

The UMC Church of the Shepherd worship team did a great job. I can't imagine what their Sunday services are like, but they were very good at doing different styles of music including rock, CCM and traditional patriotic. The second group to sing was a bit too rap-like for my taste, but they did get everyone going chanting “B-U-S-H.” I need to look up their name, but I think they might be a Christian rap band.

Then, the speakers quit as did the music groups and we had canned music for a few minutes. After awhile, a man in a black suit came out and placed the presidential seal on the podium. He's arrived! Sure enough, a few moments later, the room grew dark and as dramatic music echoed through the arena, lights made to project “W's” floated around the room and the ceiling turned red, white and blue. “Ladies and gentlemen… please welcome the President of the United States!” Then the spotlight found its subject and President Bush was on stage.

At that point, the president took to the podium and spoke for probably about 45 minutes. In 2000 he presented a great vision and message. Yet his tone and message were far more purposeful and eloquent this time, showing how the events of the last three years had transformed Bush from someone apparently destined for a lukewarm presidency to certainly one of the most determined, interesting presidents in some time.

Negativity was kept to a minimum, with only a few pokes at Kerry. The big poke (and one well earned by Kerry) was about Kerry's ringing praise of the vulgar Hollywood elites and their comments made at a fundraiser earlier this month. How Kerry could listen to people like Whoopi Goldberg make obscene remarks and then say they were the “heart and soul” of America is beyond me. President Bush noted that he thought the “heart and soul” of America was “in placed like St. Charles, Missouri.”

At an earlier, more lighthearted moment, he also pointed to Kerry's flip-flopping. “Sen. Kerry has been in Washington a long time. Long enough to hold both sides on just about every issue.” Later, he joked that if you ran into Sen. Kerry and found you disagreed with his views, you clearly just ran into him on the wrong day.

Bush covered his standard stump fair, including stopping frivolous lawsuits, keeping the U.S. independent of other nations (more specifically, not to trust national security decisions to other world leaders), keeping taxes low, a pitch for “No Child Left Behind” and, of course, lots of talk about Iraq. He pledged to do all he could to keep the country safe and never allow the government to take measures that would make the country less secure “during his watch.”

He also did a small pitch for gubernatorial hopeful Matt Blunt. After making one statement he looked back at Blunt and quipped, “isn't that right, governor.”

Overall, his message came across extremely sincere and assuring of his positions. It was probably one of the best speeches I've heard him give. Being there definitely made it just that much better. After the end of the speech, he took a long time to shake hands, going deep into the crowd, picking up babies, and even — right before leaving — jumping up in the air to touch the hand of someone leaning down from a high row of seats over the doorway.

All I can say is this: if you get the chance to go see the President during this election season, do it. It was an experience that can't be exactly explained by putting a few words together on a screen. You won't regret it, but I think you will regret missing out on the opportunity.

Tags: Politics

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5 comments posted so far.

RE: Reflections on the Rally

Sounds like fun.

Posted by Christopher - Jul 24, 2004 | 12:12 PM- Location: MO

RE: Reflections on the Rally

It was! The president should be back, I’d imagine, in 2006 at the Family Arena for the mid-term elections, you should come up here then. :-)

Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Jul 24, 2004 | 1:26 PM- Location: MO

RE: Reflections on the Rally

OK, so I’ll be mean just for a second… Hope you forgive me, but after the report on how bad the US intelligence seems to work, maybe other nations are better equipped to make security decisions? Right, now I’m done :)

[carefully withdraws, back against wall]

Posted by Flip - Jul 25, 2004 | 1:51 AM- Location: Sweden

RE: Reflections on the Rally

Hehehe, good point Flip. Well, at the very least, others might have better intelligence, although frankly, I wonder how much is in government at all.

Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Jul 25, 2004 | 6:21 PM- Location: MO

RE: Reflections on the Rally

Unfortunately I think the intelligence very often - purposely or not - give the government what the government wants, so quite a lot will depend on the government anyway. On the other hand, I’m no political expert, so I might be wrong :)

Posted by Flip - Jul 26, 2004 | 4:08 AM- Location: Sweden

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