Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hillary Sent Me: Clinton Comes to Grand Rapids

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Time to confess something that I never published until now - I voted for Hillary in the primary.

Why? Mostly because she stayed on the ballot, which I saw as a gamble at the time, albeit a calculated one. Up until the last few days before the vote I was still undecided though. Was hoping the Democrats would come to their senses, pull out, and go with a caucus instead of a short ballot, and I would have voted for Edwards. But when it became clear they were going to go through with this, I started leaning Hillary. I also toyed with voting for Mitt to mess with the Pubs - but then someone sent BFM hate mail, telling us not to vote for Hillary, and that sealed the deal.

You see, you don't get to bully me into doing what you want me to do. I can and will do the opposite just to piss you off. So Hillary got my vote, a vote made out of spite - but a part of me felt good about it, too. I like Hillary; I never carried that grudge that some on the left do. I was down on Edwards and the others for pulling off the ballot. I don't care what the party here did, I don't care what other state’s Dems were saying, I wanted someone who would stand up to all of them and be here. And that was Hillary. (and a few others) Don't give a damn what her motives were. I also don't want to relive the whole thing. The primary season is over, towards the end I started not to care who won; I was just so tired of it all. But I never published that vote, because quite frankly, I didn't feel like taking the bullets from the Kool Kidz for it. I wanted to talk about alternative energy instead.

So we get to June. Her concession speech moved me so much so I had to write a brief diary on it. I thought it was a real class act. My appreciation of her really rose with that speech. Was hoping she would get VP, but Biden is good, too. Didn’t have a problem with it. That's Obama's decision, and I respect it. But on that convention floor in Denver, as Hillary was rallying the screaming crowd, this crowd that obviously loved her so - all at once, the enormity of what this woman had just been though really sunk in for me. Like a ton of bricks.

Can you imagine what it must be like to be "inevitable"? To have the presidency within your grasp, and watch it slip away? I can't. I don't want to. It would be devastating. Any normal person would crawl under a rock and just hide away from it all - but Hillary isn't a normal person. She’s steel. She picked herself up, put on a smile, and she went out there fighting, still fighting for what she believes in, Flordia, Pennsylvania, here, wherever they need her - and that is to be commended and honored.

Today, she brought it to my town, and I couldn't be more thrilled.

I knew I was in for an interesting time when Rick Albin walked up to me and said, "Are you wizardkitten?"

Um, yeah.

"You wrote some really vitriolic things about me..."

Oh dear. Yes, I did. But Rick, that was before I knew about the rest of the Michigan media. So, I fell all over myself apologizing for the rotten things I said a long time ago (just shows how that stuff sticks with a person, see Hillary story above for proof), and we had a very nice chat about the convention, and media in general, and blogs, and the internet, and all sorts of things. After seeing him so many times this year, it was good to "officially" meet him. And get the chance to apologize. Maybe someday I'll do the same for Skubick.

I got there a little before the gates opened, and there was quite a line waiting to get in.

Down the Block

Peter Luke estimated the crowd at 500 - that sounds about right. Lucky me - I finally met Peter Luke today as well. Once again I fell all over myself with a member of the media, this time with me approaching him, and profusely thanking him for his work. Don't ever quit, please write a book. "Who would buy it?", he asked. He might have a point - hard to believe state politics would be a big seller, but I sure would love to hear the things he knows. Anyway, we chatted for a bit as well, talked about the chance of Kent County going blue - I honestly don't know. The city will, but can we outweigh the very red suburbs? All depends on turnout, and given the enthusiasm I have seen from Dems this year - it's a possibility.

Peter Luke

Today was a magical day for pictures. Sun was out, the risers were close - and I ended up with so many good pictures of Hillary out of this that I didn't know where I should start. They put a big 'ol flag out there - how does it get any better than that? I mean seriously.

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Got some great close-ups.

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And crowd shots.

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And she gave a rousing speech, voicing "full throated support" to Obama and Biden, and the AP's Dave Eggert provided more details in his write up on the Grand Ledge appearance. Said basically the same thing in GR.

"We cannot turn over our country with these deep deficits, with these serious economic problems, with the international challenges, to the same team that got us into this mess in the first place," Clinton told more than 1,000 people gathered at a park in this town 10 miles west of the state capital.

"There's no doubt in anyone's mind that Senator Obama understands the economic challenges we face as well as the need to change the way we do business here at home and around the world."

She said the "day of reckoning" has come for voters. She called Republican George Bush's presidency the worst in U.S. history. She added that Republican John McCain is a friend she respects.

"But I do not believe that the Republicans should be rewarded for what they have done to our country. Think of it that way," Clinton said.

You can listen to the GR speech here. Her only mention of Palin came with this-

"If you care about the economy, about our energy future, about health care, about education, about Iraq, anything you can say: No way, no how, no McCain, no Palin," Clinton told the Grand Rapids crowd.

After she was done, she signed autographs for the people who ringed the front row.

Signing Autographs

And she also took the time to walk over to the risers and shake hands with a certain member of the paparazzi. She didn't have to do that; she was on her way out, had places to go and other people to talk to - but she saw me standing there, pretty much by myself, and went out of her way to come over and grab my outreached hand.

Class act.

Thank you Senator Clinton, for all you do. You are an amazing woman, and I'm proud that I voted for you.

Hillary Sign

More pics in the Flickr set.