The Nebraska delegation began the day with a breakfast hosted by big-time Nebraska political consultant Sam Fischer and his firm, Meridian Central. Sam is a heavy hitter in national GOP circles and has built a business and reputation that upstarts like me aspire to. Because of his success, one can almost forgive his rather unfortunate choices of accessorizing with a fanny pack and swearing allegiance to the Oakland Raiders. Almost.
The buffet of eggs, waffles, sausage and bacon, and assorted pastries looked delicious. And I’m told that it was. I slept in and missed the meal, having soaked up too much of the, uh, convention experience the night before. It’s also a tradition in my family to sleep in and miss breakfast on Labor Day. Some people go to the lake, some barbecue with friends, but this is how we roll. Like I said, this is a long-standing family tradition, having started 1 hour ago today.
We stood around the hotel lobby for some time after breakfast waiting for our tricked-out buses to arrive. Standing around and waiting is already a recurring theme here and, apparently, an important part of conventioning.
Lunch for the delegation was hosted at View, a hip eatery in Minneapolis. The menu featured a crabcake appetizer, a watermelon, jicama, and cucumber salad, and your choice of salmon or flank steak. Compared to yesterday’s Big Mac in Des Moines, this was a very welcome dining experience.
During lunch, GOP Chairman Mark Quandahl made the announcement that Governor Heineman had authorized for Nebraska National Guard troops and choppers to head south and help those areas affected by Hurricane Gustave. We also learned that Dave Heineman is the only sitting Governor to have graduated from a military academy. The message, as always – do not mess with Governor Dave Heineman.
As I made my way around the restaurant, a few folks were chatting about the announcement made by VP nominee Sarah Palin today. Her 17 year old daughter is pregnant and now engaged to her baby’s daddy. Some are concerned, some are indifferent. While not an ideal story, I don’t see a huge issue here. The Republicans who’ve gathered in this town are incredibly excited to have Palin on the ticket. Life happens, and stories like these humanize her even more.
We loaded on the bus after lunch to head to the Xcel Center, site of the actual convention business. Traffic stopped about 4 blocks from the building thanks to the rowdy gang of protesters who’d assembled downtown. A video journalist I spoke with said these yahoos were tipping over newspaper vending machines in the street to “redirect” traffic. Another thuggish pair had apparently yanked down a street sign and used it to improve the ventilation of a nearby squad car.
Needless to say, we were stuck on the bus awhile. When we finally got rolling again, our seasoned driver took us on a less than shortcut halfway around the city. I’ve never organized bus transportation for a large group before, but my general advice would be to find a driver who, you know, can actually drive a bus and is moderately familiar with your destination city. Our guy had neither.
To cap this odyssey, we had to disembark more than a half mile from the doors of the Xcel Center, mostly because our poor driver just flat gave up on his sad attempt to get us anywhere close. The 60 of us were left to hoof it the rest of the way, and we all found this particularly defeating when bus after bus zoomed by toward the front doors.
Not all was lost. Our half-mile walk gave us the opportunity to be harassed by an eclectic band of protesters, who had little concern about getting all up in our faces. These folks were apparently chanting, “No More War! No More War!” My guess is that they were referring not to Iraq, but to the lesser-known War on Poor Hygiene. Most of these probable Al Franken voters smelled like the business end of a rotting rhinoceros.
I now sit in the arena, not really sure what I’m waiting for. Most activities have been suspended, but The First Lady and Cindy McCain are apparently scheduled to speak. I’d ask one of my fellow bloggers, but I’m not sure most of these people even know where they are right now. Not to say political bloggers are a strange bunch, but the Vegas number for Invitations I’ll Recieve to Dungeons and Dragons Related Events This Week has just gone from 9 and a half to off the board.
Thanks Jordan! We look forward to your next update. Eat well.