Minnesota has a reputation for being exceedingly liberal (e.g. we were the only state to vote for Dukakis in 1988--you may pause for a moment to hang your head in shame). Despite this inclination, approximately 11,000 Minnesotans came out of their closets and showed up at the Minneapolis Convention Center today to rally for Michele Bachmann and all things conservative.
The rally featured speakers Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Erik Paulsen, Republican Party of Minnesota State Chair Tony Sutton, Sarah Palin, and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Even FOXNews talk show host Sean Hannity was there. It was like Minnesota conservative crack.
It was surprising to note that the biggest "lift" from the crowd came when Governor Pawlenty spoke. The people really responded well to his message, and the excitement around him was palpable. He has been virtually everywhere lately, on T.V. and at events such as this around the country, and his confidence shows. He is beginning to appear as a strong leader, which will serve him well if he does, as people have predicted, run for President in 2012. His introduction and speech elicited more noise from the crowd than Palin or Bachmann.
Thank God for giant television screens. I could hardly see a thing without it because I'm only 5' 1" tall, I was on the floor, and there was a huge dais filled with camera people smack in the middle of it. About half the crowd was in front of it, and the other half behind it. Its placement wasn't popular. An elderly woman approached me and said, "They put the cameras in the middle so it only looks like half the people showed up, those a@& holes..."
It was a diverse crowd.
There were elderly people, babies, children of all ages, guys wearing baseball hats, slim women in pearls, stout women in flannel, and men in business suits and ties. One thing connected all of them: there were smiles on every face and people were polite, friendly and respectful to one another. They were there for the "cause;" the cause being: winning back our liberty and saving this country we love for our children and grandchildren. They must have thought it was important because they came out in huge numbers in the middle of a work day to stand shoulder to shoulder in a large, dim room on an absolutely gorgeous Minnesota spring day.
Michele Bachmann, looking fantastic in yellow, was as energized as I have ever seen her. She seems as comfortable on stage talking to thousands of people as she would be having coffee with friends. She possesses the rare quality of being able to appear caring and gentle while simultaneously coming off as strong, tough and true. It seems uncontrived and natural, and while I don't know Rep. Bachmann personally, I believe it to be her genuine personality. Those are the qualities we need in Washington: a woman who cares enough about her country to fight for it.
FOXNews personality, Sean Hannity, began taping his show live from the Minneapolis Convention Center almost immediately after the "rally" portion of the event was over. He was tossing toy footballs into the crowd, as he does on his nightly FOX show. I was almost able to catch two of them, if I had been tall. And a man.
There were lots of conservative vendors working this event. I didn't get a chance to visit them all, but some that got my attention were:
AM1280 The Patriot was there selling patriotic T-shirts.
Cool Conservative was there with its newest additions to its growing conservative fashion and accessories line.
Space Case Jase was selling hats, T-shirts, and bumper stickers.
Sons of Liberty from AM1280 The Patriot were selling books, inspirational CDs, and pink "virtue" T-Shirts.
There were also various button vendors, who were doing very well for themselves, judging from the crowds around them.
It was a fun, inspiring event. I hope everyone who attended came out of it energized and ready to work to show America that Minnesota isn't just for liberals anymore.