Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Both the Washington Post and I were in Gate City on Monday

The Washington Post had this article about the Gate City for candidate Jerry Kilgore, and I was there myself. (On that same day, Tim Kaine was down the street here in Bristol, but I didn't get over there.)

I've never been to a political rally in my life, but I figured that we may never pass this way again, sort of like the World's Fair at Knoxville. So, I went. My first impression (never having been there) was how small is the Gate City H.S. gym, what must it be like for basketball games in there, very exciting and loud. There were many older people there, at least half of the crowd looked to be retirement age to me, including the old fellow standing next to me who periodically bellowed, "You said it, Jerry." I looked around trying to count the lawyers I know (5? not too many) and trying to figure out which ones were the campaign people and which ones were the reporters - who were those guys standing at the back with copies of the candidate's speech? Cable guy Ernie Benco grinned down at me from the camera platform at the back of the room, and I had to laugh thinking that the Chester case when I met him was tried 10 years ago. Also in the hall, of the people from that Wise County Electoral Board case, were Paul Varson and Chances Varson (I didn't talk to them). Former Congressman Bill Wampler, Sr., was there, looking like Sean Connery with his white beard, working the crowd as if he was the candidate. The closest to an old-fashioned stemwinder of a speech (as I imagine one to be like) came from Sen. William Wampler, Jr., almost at the beginning of the night - he does well, I think. I thought that the Notre Dame fight song was a fairly ecumenical choice of music for the band to play as the candidate came into the gym.

UPDATE: A reader says: "Gate City High School has used the Fighting Irish song for years, as its own. This is the reason that this particular song was selected."

The substantive parts of the candidate's speech were interesting, some of the rest of it was not, and the funniest thing he said was that he has the worst accent of anyone who wants to be governor apart from Arnold Schwarzenegger. And, when the speeches were over, I watched the confetti fall for a while, then walked over to Jerry Kilgore and shook his hand, said hello to Sen. Wampler, and went on home.

It was exciting, but not as exciting as, say, the time I saw Charles, Prince of Wales at William & Mary Hall, now that crowd was nuts.

Of the substantive ideas in the speech, the one that caught my imagination was the regional transportation authorities. I'm not sure what this means, but it probably means something better than what we have now.

I looked for John Behan when a call was made for Republican elected officials to raise their hands, but I couldn't actually see who had their hands raised, all I could see was the raised hands.

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