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The Northern Alliance Radio Network will be attending the Patriot Rally this evening in the Twin Cities. Hugh Hewitt will host an evening that intends to rally Republicans and to review the issues at stake in the mid-term elections. The Patriot will have Senator Norm Coleman as a special guest, plus the potential for a couple of surprise guests. I'll try to live-blog from the event, and I'll have the camera along with me.
UPDATE, 7:30 PM: I just got a connection to the Internet here at intermission. I'm here with a lot of terrific people from the MOB, including Brad, The Lady Logician, the Buddhist Republican, and many more, including my NARN compatriots.
We've just heard a great slate of Republican candidates, including Mark Kennedy, Alan Fine, and Michele Bachmann. Michele had a tremendous motivational speech reminding us of the stakes involved in the election; she's always inspirational on the stump, and even better in smaller groups. Fine did a great job reminding us Keith Ellison's connections to CAIR, and Mark talked about family and the importance of economic and national security. Senator Norm Coleman ended the first half of the evening with a characteristically engaging speech, reaching across the broad spectrum of American political history to tie some key themes to this election.
Now Hugh is taking the stage again, and I'll be live-blogging the second half.
7:35 - Opening with an anecdote about meeting Ronald Reagan after the 1976 GOP convention, taking off his jacket. He's setting up the Q&A that will start 30 minutes from now.
7:36 - Wants us to thank Eric Black for engaging his critics, sincerely. If more reporters would do that, it would shake the scales from their eyes on their bias.
7:39 - Polling news. Pollsters are like golfers, and the Strib still hasn't posted a handicap. "I just don't believe them ... they've been consistently wrong for the last six years." The polling is not nearly as bad as the MSM tells us, Hugh says.
7:41 - North Korea has changed the story lines, and it will take a couple of weeks to see the effect.
7:43 - Successful governors do not lose re-election bids, and Tim Pawlenty is one of the four most successful governors in the nation ...
7:44 - Hit jobs on Alan Fine show that the Strib is worried about Keith Ellison as a candidate. Political communication has become so quick that people cannot stay fooled for long. The voters know about Ellison's connections to CAIR and the Nation of Islam, and the Strib can't stop it.
7:47 - Hugh: "Most political reporters cover politics the way I cover sports ... as a fan."
7:48 - Be wary about polls that go against the "feel". Pawlenty is one example.
7:48 - Republican candidates have increasingly returned to the winning agenda: Win the war, confirm the judges, secure the border, and so on.
7:49 - "Our base is not stupid. They're not going to stay home." Bush hasn't even gotten into the fray, and he's the best closer that the GOP has had in long memory.
7:52 - Three examples of sixth-year midterms. In 1958, the GOP lost 49 seats. In 1974, they lost 49 again, giving the Democrats 299 seats. In 1986, they lost five House seats. The Senate GOP caucus got narrowed to 35 in 1958, and lost seven seats in '86. He feels the trendlines are much better now.
7:54 - He's an optimist about politics because he's a pessimist about the world. The lunatics running the asylums in Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea require strong leadership.
7:57 - How many people would vote for Speaker Pelosi and Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy because of Mark Foley? (None raised their hand.)
8:00 - We are going to focus like a laser on two things: the war and the court. Four Supreme Court justices could retire in the next few years.
8:02 - Hugh called me out from the podium to dispute my characterization of him as an eternal optimist. He says he just knows what it's like to really lose, having seen 1974 and 1986.
8:05 - Col. Joe Repya gave one of the first questions, after having gotten a standing ovation. He tells us that the Lancet study is out of left field, and he's spent the last two years in Iraq. Hugh says, "Where are the bodies?"
8:09 - Laura Hemler asks a great question about campaign fatigue. They're having a tougher time getting volunteers, and wants tips on how to enthuse people again. Hugh says it is exhausting. We have systematic advantages in money and the fact that we're correct, but having to win every single race every single time wears people down. He reminds us that we've experienced nothing compared to the people facing the real bullets, and we should keep that in mind.
8:15 - #1 issue is national security, above all things.
8:17 - Another questioner points out that he's seen few Keith Ellison signs in south Minneapolis. Fine says it shows a DFL in disarray, and he thinks Sabo has put out the word that he's supporting Tammy Lee. Fine thinks that will give him an opportunity to take the seat.
8:18 - What effect have the blogs made in this election? Hugh says it's huge. He got us up out of our seats for a nice ovation, but he believes the Saturday radio shows have made a big impact on local politics, Fine says the Internet has been a tremendous tool for democratization. "Thank God we've got the blogs."
8:22 - A good question from a high-school senior about how to get young people to consider the conservative point of view. Hugh warned about the creeping cynicism of the Daily Show crowd, and told the student to get his friends to volunteer for a campaign just for the fun of it
8:27 - Hugh says we won't get much mileage out of the Reid land-deal scandal because it's just too complicated for an election cycle. It may blow up later. We'll see.
8:30 - Mitch Berg gets the last word at the question (actually, there were two more), but miscounts the syllables in "mariachi". He wants to know how much shelf-life national security issues, and will we have to give on social issues to win the White House. Hugh took a quick poll of the audience, and Mitt Romney took about 90 votes, Rudy 60, Frist a dozen or so, and McCain only eight. (Tancredo, thrown in as a last-minute addition, got three very vocal votes and a big laugh.)
8:38 - Hugh says the primary is over, and it's time for the GOP to pull together to support their candidates. He also empahsized that Democrats are our opponents, not our enemies, and that he has no desire to be the mirror image of Michael Moore ... but then, who does?
This event is typical of those Hugh has staged in the past. It's a lot of fun, some great political rhetoric, a good deal of humor, and fantastic engagement with the audience, He's on his way to Colorado to continue boosting Republican candidates, and warns us to start working on supporting our own.Sphere It View blog reactions
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