Monday, September 11, 2006

Nothing Corny But The Food

Well, that was actually kind of fun. First, let's get the dining review out of the way: The corn on the cob was sweet and delicious; the hot dogs were the plumpest, juciest, meatiest franks I have ever tasted; the baked beans were, to my joy, NOT the kind with the disgusting brown sugar tang; the potato salad was good; and the chocolate/peanut butter brownie chip things were worth the price of admission, as promised. There was a small selection of pop in cans, but no beer from what I could see. The hot dogs didn't pass the kids' taste tests, which meant more for me. Four wieners nearly killed my appetite for dessert; but if you don't go for the dessert, why bother?

This actually wasn't my first choice of things to do on this particular Saturday night. Given extra time, distance, and money, I would have gone to the MOB party in Minnesota. However, given that this is an election year, who would I rather spend time with: Learned Foot or Rick Santorum? Not a difficult choice. I'll do the bloggers another time.

The higher ranking the elected official, the tighter the schedule. Tim Murphy (who does have a campaign site, after all) was in attendance from the start, sitting down to supper with our town's mayor, and leaving shortly after concluding his talk. Those of us who subscribe to his email updates know that, as a Doctor, one of his pet issues is health care in America. Saturday night he focused more on terrorism and energy sources. He's very big on reducing if not eliminating our country's dependence on oil from unstable countries. The last time I heard him speak, he was very much in favor of eliminating environmental laws the prevent us from drilling domestically. This time, he made the case for coal. It's here, it's plentiful; let's use it.

Rick Santorum, on an even tighter schedule, dropped by partway through the Congressman's speech. As you might expect, he gave the stump speech that seems to have inspired the President to beef up his rhetoric, what you might call the "Islamic fascism" speech. In so doing, he showed that he has a good grasp of history. I, for one, have long believed that this war did not start in 2003, or in 2001, or in 1979; it's been raging on and off for hundreds of years, and the Senator is one of the few elected officials honest enough to talk about this publicly. The conflict has heated up in recent years because of the Middle East's oil reserves, which have brought power and wealth to the Islamic world. That is what fuels the war. George Bush didn't start it, and it's not likely that he will end it.

Speaking of the President, Rick said that even though his Senate race is going to be decided based on issues important to Pennsylvanians, the rest of the country is going to see it as a referendum on President Bush. Why? Because of the media. The media is funny that way, especially about Republicans, and super-especially about Republicans named Rick Santorum. There's a lot of "hate Santorum" sentiment going around these days, and it affects a lot of people. As the Senator said, if he believed everything that the Post-Gazette said about him, he wouldn't like himself very much either.

He also made mention of his first run for Congress in 1990. He went door to door in this neighborhood letting everyone know who he was and what he stood for. He fondly recalled that his first campaign office was right down the street. Coming to the corn roast brought back some good memories for him.

He's also running for Senate Majority Whip later this year -- but only if he gets past Bob Casey and the rest of America returns a Republican majority to the Senate. Get out and vote!

The Jedi chick, as I predicted, did indeed speak on Lynn Swann's behalf. I missed most of what she had to say as I had to accompany one of my young sons to the men's room. While I stood in the lobby waiting for the kid to finish, Rick Santorum came out. I thrust my hand into his and said "great speech!" It was "Islamic fascism" that did it for me. Love him or hate him, no one needs to tell Rick to say exactly what he thinks. Having thanked me for my support, he walked out into the warm September night.

The town mayor also got up to make a few remarks but he had finished by the time I got back with the kid. Finally, State Rep candidate Bill Ogden came forward to speak. He had spent most of the evening standing at the back of the room writing on a notepad. Whether he was taking notes on the other speakers or perfecting his remarks, I can't say. What I do know is that he made the same impression on my wife that he did on me. When I pointed him out to her, she exclaimed, "He looks like one of those wrestlers!" (She wouldn't know who Nikita Koloff is.) I was really looking forward to hearing what he had to say. He began by explaining how he got into fitness. Like "Mac", the guy in the old Charles Atlas ads, Bill Ogden had problems with tough guys at the bus stop when he was a kid. "Thank God for bullies," he said. That would look funny on a campaign ad next to his picture. He ought to do it. Then, just as he was about to tie his life experience into his involvement in politics, I had to get up and take another kid to the bathroom. When I returned, Bill had finished.

Several door prizes later, the event ended. We didn't win anything, but the mayor and his wife were nice enough to pass their winning tickets onto my kids. Baseball caps were their prizes. All the expensive fancy prizes went to other people. These are nice caps, though. Better that the ones I've actually paid real money for over the last few years.

The kids were pretty calm, considering. I'm already looking forward to next year's shindig.

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