February 12, 2006

How about some substance with all this style?

In between all the cups of coffee and free meals (not enough of them, by the way), I actually met and talked to some wonderful, intelligent and brave people.

I was particularly impressed with Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project. He was being rapidly hustled past Bloggers Alley, and I managed to get a quick second with him. A truly horrified look came across his face when I told him about the porousness of the Canadian border, and how it leads to stories like this. Stand on guard for thee? I think not. Canada could take a lesson from a man like Jim Gilchrist.

Lt. Col. Greg Parke (USAF) is running for the Senate in Vermont. He came by the booth to shake hands, and was pleased to find a Canadian gal - his wife is Canadian, too. I wanted to talk to him about the Cashman decision, and how it's playing out in Vermont. He says there's backlash, and he is confident that the backlash will help induce residents to vote for better government and better legislation. Sure enough, within hours of having spoken to him, I read this. Shameful. Vermont isn't the only place that needs better legislation.

Anyway, we had a good long talk about a lot of things, including border issues and immigration. And he taught me a little basic Arabic. Very cool guy (he even left me his extra set of batteries for my camera), and I hope to see him again next year, when with a little luck I'll be able to address him as Senator Parke.

Another Senatorial candidate I was able to spend a bit of time with was George Johnson of Morgantown, WV. Mr. Johnson was my seat mate for the Presidential Banquet where we heard Dick Cheney and George Allen speak. Thanks to the crowded tables, everytime WonderWoman reached down for her camera, I had so lean back to far that there were moments when I was practically in the man's lap. How very Blaze Starr of me. I apologized profusely, and we spent the rest of the evening cracking jokes. We had the misfortune at that dinner of hearing Pat Boone get up and sing "Under God" (if he's not singing Enter Sandman, I just don't want to hear it), so George and I joked that we'd get up, comandeer a mic, and sing the Johnny Cash/June Carter duet "Jackson." Believe me, it couldn't have been any worse than Under God. George has serious issues with the kind of tax being paid in West Virginia. Residents are taking home less and less every year, and it's time something was done about it. Eminent Domain is also very near and dear to his heart. From his website:

Though running for the first time, George has run local political races and contributed to campaigns with his marketing skills over the past 2 decades. In 1999, George and his father, Darwin, were forced to take on the state government, which threatened to fund an unnecessary and costly multi-million dollar inland port in Morgantown. This inland port would have destroyed the local dock economy and would have sunk the Johnson's private docking business. The Tennessee Valley Authority eventually came in, sided with the Johnsons, and stopped the project. As a result of this experience, fighting for his family's small business, Johnson has a renewed respect for small businesses everywhere and what they face daily just to stay in business.

George has always been an avid reader of political theory and practice and has developed a deep understanding of and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution. Senator Byrd's complete lack of willingness to actually follow the Constitution on behalf of West Virginians for the past 50 years, along with this summer's controversial Supreme Court ruling of Kelo v. New London, prompted George to throw his hat in the ring against Byrd.

We bumped into each other several times throughout the conference, including after the Ronald Reagan banquet last night (I love Washington - walk into any hotel bar, anytime, and you're bound to find someone running a tab - in this case it was Mike from Red State).

I will leave it at that for now. I spoke to so many people that to put them all in one post would not only be too long, but it would be unfair - I wouldn't be able to give them the attention they deserve.

Posted by RightGirl at February 12, 2006 02:28 PM

Oh I'm so jealous!! Sounds like you're having a fantastic experience...jeaaaaalous! :)

Represent, girl! Cotillionettes rule!

~From the slacker cotillionette. :)

Posted by: Portia at February 16, 2006 02:18 AM