A touch of autumn was in the air today, as the Straight Talk Express rolled into Lebanon, Ohio. A sizeable and very homogenous crowd had been waiting patiently since early morning on Main Street USA, dodging the left over raindrops from the night before. Sarah Palin, sporting a cross on her breast where her flag pin should have been, emerged looking fresh, but then she’d arrived the previous day by airplane.
Listening to the Sarah Palin/John McCain stump speech, one would think that Democrats were in control of the government, and had been for the past several years. Both candidates addressed the partisan crowd for roughly 15 minutes each.
Governor Palin opened the pep rally with props for papa John, who stood lovingly mute to her right, and her husband, Todd, who was a little back and to the left, but well within reach, and smiling. She stuck to script repeating McCain’s history, repeating her version of her record in Alaska and promising to reform the liberal government in Washington.
There was never any mention of the fact that the government has been Republican, or that the president is a guy named Bush even though Lebanon was overwhelmingly supportive of Bush in the last election. Obama was painted as a Washington insider, despite his short tenure on Capital Hill, slamming him for asking for more than one billion dollars in earmarks for the state of Illinois.
She promised to shake up the old boy network in Washington, just like she did in Alaska, all the while smiling at the old boy who stood beside her glowing at her feistiness.
The crowd broke into chants of John McCain and Sarah and then USA when McCain took the mike to talk about veterans and the wars and his now familiar POW story. Sporting a baseball cap with Navy emblazoned on it and a blue dress shirt with no tie and the sleeves rolled up to make the black bracelet for Mathew visible, McCain looked as if he was even trying to steal Obama’s look on the campaign trail, by imitating his dress, as well as his call for change.
Neither candidate talked about the GOP social agenda or women’s rights, or specifics about the economy, preferring to stick to the applause lines of more oil, more power and tax cuts. The rally was long on talk, but once again, very short on actual facts or figures or plans.