Monday, June 05, 2006

ODP Saturday Night, cont: Random Observations and Memorable quotes.

As of now, those parts of the ODP dinner that didn’t make it into my notes are an indistinguishable blur. Partly I was laboring under considerable sleep deprivation and partly it was a night of sensory overload. I’ll share what’s left in the memory banks, but you should check in with the others who were there. Chris has an omnibus list.

To begin with, understand that the exhibition hall at the Vet is immense. It lists at 65,000 square feet. That’s more area than a football field. Since we were indoors, imagine a room holding a dozen basketball courts with enough space between them for coach's boxes and the Dyan Cannon/Jack Nicholson seats. That’s the Vet. I’ve only been there once before – it’s where they give the Ohio Bar Exam. This time was more fun.

Around 6:30 or so, we hear the first announcement. Welcome, etc. Then they call any veterans present to come to the stage to be honored. So we are standing, looking at the veterans – and for those of us as far back as the bloggers' table, we are peering between the people in front of us at vaguely veteran-shaped dots – while overwrought Chariots of Fire-like music plays . . . and nothing else happens. I’m assuming something was supposed to play on the billboard-sized video screens, but didn’t. A technical glitch, but the effect was surreal.

From that point on, something was happening on stage constantly until the program ended at 10:00. Party leaders spoke. Awards were handed out. Johnnie Maier from Stark County was honored as County Chair of the Year. Given that one of his highest-profile activities was actively campaigning against the RON Amendments, the selection is pretty much a slap to supporters of that effort. Well, it could have been worse; it could have been Jimmy DiMora.

Meanwhile, people on the floor were eating and going about the business of politicking. As Mrs. Editor notes, plenty of candidates and/or campaign staffers came by the bloggers table. Jesse Taylor, who has been handling online outreach for the Strickland campaign, spent a lot of time with us. He's been doing an excellent job and I told him so. A source in the campaign said, “Thanks."

I loved a bit in Joe Biden’s speech where he talks about 9/11 and invites the audience to imagine if FDR or JFK had been president on November 12. I’ve had a similar juxtaposition in my mind for some time.

Great moments in presidential crisis leadership:

A. Lincoln – “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
F. Roosevelt – “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”
J. Kennedy – “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for
your country”
G. Bush – “Go shopping”

All the statewide candidates spoke. I remember little until Lee Fisher spoke. I remember Sherrod doing the canary bit. I remember downticket people going up on stage. I was writing up the Obama Q&A for part of it, and talking to people for part of it and basically none of it has stuck.

Until Lee Fisher took the stage. Someone needs to run a stump speech intervention on Lee Fisher. Lee Fisher needs to understand that he is a nerdy old guy who never was cool even back in the day. He will not sound hip and sounds ridiculous trying to sound hip. As such, he should never again do the following. Ever:
-Quote rock lyrics as poetry. Especially not an entire stanza of Buffalo
Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth.”
-Say anything or anybody is “In tha
Fisher was there primarily to introduce Ted Strickland. Perhaps the idea was to contrast a cosmopolitan Lee with the simple country charm of Ted. Fisher didn’t pull off urbane hipster, but Strickland was all downhome. His wife came out with her guitar to sing a paean to the tune of “Davy Crockett,” intercut with Ted’s one-liners. I remember thinking that if I saw something like that at a Republican event it would annoy the hell out of me. Ted and Francis pulled it off. A friend from Ted’s district says folks down there just eat it up.

Aside from the Obama time, the highlight of the evening for me was Strickland’s pledge on education – “I will be a law abiding Governor and I will make Ohio a law abiding state, and we will do what the Supreme court has told us we have to do.” That brought a standing ovation, the only one midspeech.

So that’s the night itself. I still may have one or two posts left in me.