Peanuts were cracking and boots were stomping Sunday at a Longview rally for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn.
More than 1,000 people attended the event at Maude Cobb Convention Center — which featured a performance by Longview resident and country music singer Neal McCoy.
Karl Rove, former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff for President George W. Bush, delivered a short speech to introduce Cornyn.
With a large American flag as a backdrop, McCoy led the crowd in a rendition of “the Star-Spangled Banner.”
Rick Hulburt, a Hallsville resident, said he and his wife, Mary, decided to attend the event because they wanted to hear what Cornyn has to say.
“The best way to educate yourself is to come and hear the issues,” she said.
Unfortunately I didn't get to take photos yesterday. I usually have my gear to shoot for local musicians like McCoy but they were limiting people bringing in big camera gear to just official reporters (versus freelance).
This rally was packed. The photos at the link above don't do it justice because the crowd photos Michael took were very early on before everything was starting. The center where it took place has a capacity of 1,800 and I estimate it was at least 1,200 to 1,500 (similar to other events I've been to there).
Most were there, however, for Neal McCoy and not Senator Cornyn (and certainly not Rove). Even the local We The People, Tea Party group's leaders were there in spite of what Rove says about them or Cornyn's flip flopping.
The concert was great but I won't go into that because I know you don't care.
As for the speeches. They were very high on rhetoric and flag waving, low on real substance. Cornyn's main two themes were to stop Obama's agenda (he actually used the term 'mitigate' often instead of stop), including Obamacare and to stop 'sex trafficking'. I believe he chose the latter as a rallying point that no one could argue with as a distraction to his not actually doing anything about the former points. Sex Trafficking has also been in the news a lot lately with several special reports so it is obvious he was picking up on a current local theme.
Some things he didn't discuss:
Amnesty and border security. Ironic considering his new anti-Sex Trafficking theme and how much they are related.
National Debt (other than just a passing comment to stopping Obama's spending)
Federal Reserve interference in the economy including the ongoing QE3
Only a passing comment to Obama's using executive power
Rove, however, took the cake in terms of audacity. I actually thought he was a bit more shrewd than he came off. He sounded like he was speaking to a DC or NYC crowd, not an East Texas crowd. His themes were 'working together', 'moderating our image to appeal across the board', and 'not taking radical steps'. Translated, we should play politics. Rove also took digs at the party for not appealing to Women and Latinos, implying we should become a party that plays to groups instead of individuals- just like the Dems.
Both came across great to the crowd. I believe your average voter here was more enamored in seeing what are political celebrities than actually holding them accountable. The overall crowd was also very old. I was one of the younger people there (in my 30s (for now)). Many of the people I saw there and recognized from local events and groups were people who play politics like social clubs. The little old lady who used to head the local RNC so she could have brunches with other old ladies and wear colorful hats really tried to rally folks at the table. (we had long, buffet type tables instead of round seating you would expect from a dinner/concert- this was either due to poor planning or the opposite, possibly planned this way to prevent too much talking among ourselves and more focusing on the speakers.)
I came away from this with no real surprises.
Politicians play politics and they aren't afraid to act that way.
Statesmen are becoming rarer and rarer.
Local politics are still a social club of the retired.
The youth are absent or ignored in politics (we are blowing this one).
I do have a few photos from my camera phone but they suck. I'll post those later.