Saturday, March 03, 2012

Hearing Rick Santorum

On Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was in Nashville speaking at Belmont University.  Having lived most of my life in the non-battleground states of Texas and New York, most presidential candidates have not gone out of their way to get my vote.  I'm not sure if Tennessee is a battleground state in November, but it surely is in March and Santorum is apparently doing well here in Tennessee.  I'm not terribly surprised by this.  Most of the time when I hear about a candidate coming to Tennessee it's for $1000 a plate fund raisers in Franklin or something like that.  They surely don't want spares like me running around those events as I don't have $1000 to give to a presidential candidate.  But I couldn't pass up the opportunity to hear what Santorum had to say.

I couldn't leave the house until the girls were in bed and that didn't happen until right at 8 which was when he was scheduled to speak.  I almost didn't go because I thought I'd miss most of the speech, but when I got there I was relieved that it hadn't started yet because he was on the Sean Hannity show.  When he finally got up, he said that he couldn't blow off Sean Hannity and expect to be able to be on his show again.  There's something funny to say here, but I can't think of it right now.



I'm not good at guess crowd sizes.  I've seen guesses of 800 and that seems plausible.  It wasn't as large as I was expecting, but it was a good size.  Some of the students seemed less than 100% focused on the speech- getting up and leaving, looking at their phones, chatting, etc.  Most of the reports I've read about the speech focused on the reaction of the crowd- heckling, boos, etc.  Having never been to one of these before, I can't really comment on whether the reaction was normal.  There were a number of supporters of other candidates there.   The Ron Paul supports that were there were jerks.  I don't mean this as an indictment on Ron Paul, but his supporters were extremely rude and inappropriate.  Some of their comments were completely inane and didn't make sense in the context of the speech.  I don't know if I could ever vote for someone with such stupid supporters.

One of the calmer posters held up by Paul supports
There was some booing and it was hard to tell who exactly they supported, though the best guess I could make was they were Obama supporters.  One of the funniest moments was then Santorum was talking about health care and said, "That's all going to change in 2014!" and the crowd applauded (apparently excited about midterm elections that year).  Santorum clarified that by saying that's when government sponsored health care is to be implemented.  There were some Mitt Romney supporters as well, but they were more polite, therefore they were mostly ignored.  This is the obvious lesson of politics these days.  Act like a jackhole and you get attention.  Act civilly and get disregarded.  I thought Santorum handled the mixed crowd well, mixing ignoring with some answering.  For example, when part of the crowd cheered something about the health care overhaul, he answered them saying that their ancestors who came to America looking for opportunity would disagree with the government mandates. (This is a time I wish I had a notebook to write down exactly what he said because I thought it was a good comeback.)  There were many Santorum supporters as well.  One lady I noticed was really mad that people on floor (like me) weren't standing up and cheering during the red meat parts of the speech.  
 

Mostly, he avoided the social issues that he is known for.  He didn't talk about contraceptives except indirectly in the health care/ religion freedom context.  He didn't talk about abortion at all or gay marriage or any of those issues.  He stuck to talking about health care and energy and, of course, alot of the America is the greatest country in the world and stuff like that.  Standard Republican fare.  

It was a great experience.  I'm really glad I got to go.  I have some political thoughts that I will share soon.  I've recently had what amounts to a revelation about politics and I'll write those here one of these days.

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