Posted on | December 29, 2011 | 25 Comments
Rick Perry speaks at Smokey Row coffee shop
Pella, Iowa, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011
After days of chasing after campaigns, I find myself in the unusual position of waiting for the campaign to come to me. Rick Santorum will be here in Davenport this evening for a 7 p.m. event, and so I’m hunkered down in the corner booth at a McDonald’s, which will be temporary headquarters of the National Affairs Desk for a few hours.
The National Affairs Desk, 2:10 p.m. CT, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011
There’s news today about the Occupiers, who have announced plans to disrupt the GOP caucuses here:
DES MOINES, Iowa — Five Occupy protesters were arrested Thursday outside the Iowa campaign headquarters of presidential contender Ron Paul as the group continued its protest against Republican candidates and President Barack Obama.
The five were cited with trespassing and later released after they refused repeated requests to leave Paul’s campaign office in the Des Moines suburb of Ankeny. The action came a day after seven protesters were arrested outside Republican Mitt Romney’s Des Moines headquarters, and Occupy spokeswoman Danielle Ryun said more protests, and probably arrests, will come.
“They’re all going to get equal play on this,” Ryun said. “We are very disillusioned with every candidate.”
The protests are part of an Occupy the Caucuses effort launched this week in Des Moines, attracting activists from around the country. Many of them have promised to interrupt campaign activities.
Ryun said the protesters would be going to the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters in Des Moines later Thursday and to other Republican candidate offices Friday.
Eight protesters were arrested at the state Democratic Party offices on Dec. 19. Ryan said protesters would try to get into the offices again Thursday.
Lt. Ben Bowersox, an Ankeny police spokesman, said as many as 15 protesters were at the Paul headquarters. They were told to move to a public sidewalk nearby or face arrest. All but the five moved to the sidewalk.
“Cited with trespassing and later released”? These scum should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law — and beyond. A bunch of worthless punks running around whining about how oppressed they are? I say, give them a nice taste of some real oppression: Tase them, pepper spray them, beat them with nightsticks. Crush them like ants.
But these are merely my personal feelings, and do not reflect the official opinions of the Future U.S. Embassy in Vanuatu.
Yesterday’s drive from Davenport to Pella was fun, especially after I got off the interstate. The black Ford Mustang I’ve rented was apparently manufactured for the specific purpose of high-speed driving on Iowa backroads. From Montezuma to New Sharon to Pella, I was impressed by the power and handling. There are several tight S-curves on that route marked 40 mph and I had no problem taking them at 80.
And the straightaways? Heh heh heh.
Just east of New Sharon, I passed a couple of sheriff’s patrol SUVs parked by the roadside but fortunately I had slowed down on my way through town. However, it made me a little paranoid — “Did the state patrol warn them I was coming? Is there now a statewide all-points-bulletin for this Mustang?” — and so as soon as I was out of sight over the next hill, I floored it. Just in case they were coming after me, I was going to make sure they couldn’t catch up. No way those SUVs could take a 40-mph curve doing 80.
This exercise in hillbilly moonshiner outlaw driving was, however, not merely fun, but was absolutely necessary if I was to reach the Rick Perry event by 3:30 p.m. When I left Davenport, the GPS unit estimated my time of arrival in Pella at 3:58, and so I had a lot of time to make up if I was going to be at Smokey Row coffee shop on Franklin Street on time. Thanks to the mighty Mustang, I made it, and caught the erstwhile front-runner talking tough on immigration:
“Within a year of being sworn in, we’re going to put thousands of National Guard troops on that border while we’re training up thousands of Border Patrols to permanently be in that border. We’re going to put the aviation assets in the air — Predator drones with high-tech ability to look down and know what’s going on, on both sides of that border 24-7. And when we see activities that are suspicious, and we know historically where those drug routes are and where they’re smuggling individuals and weapons and drugs, we’ll be able to respond quickly and we can shut that border down. And my promise to the American people is that that border will be shut down and stopped from illegal activity one year after I’m sworn in.”
The phrases that stuck out to me there were “shut that border down” — stopping just short of Herman Cain’s talk of moats and alligators and electrified fences — and also: “Predator drones.”
Isn’t the Predator a military drone armed with Hellfire missiles?
Because that would be really cool. Zap! Boom! Take that, José!
Here are a few extra photos from the Perry event in Pella:
Here’s the sign-up table outside the Perry event, where they were offering free T-shirts. Unfortunately, I’m not a registered voter in Iowa, so I couldn’t get a T-shirt.
The top of the sign-up table. You can click on the photo to enlarge it and read the sheet: “Precinct Leaders and Precinct Partners — Responsibilities.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t say anything about clobbering those damned “Occupy” protesters when they show up.
It was standing-room-only, and many people at the Perry event were forced to stand outside the coffee shop.
This is the Official Rick Perry Iowa Tour Bus. I’m pretty sure it can’t handle a 40 mph curve at 80 mph, which is what the Mustang was doing on the way back through New Sharon and Montezuma en route to Cedar Rapids, where I caught up with Rick Santorum last night. Here’s video of his post-event press conference, which was brief:
That got quoted extensively in today’s American Spectator column. For some reason, I find it easier to transcribe quotes from video than from audio recordings. Because I’m weird like that. Some extra photos from the Santorum event:
They had birthday cake at Wedneday’s event, held on the anniversary of Iowa’s statehood.
Dave Weigel hard at work, compiling his usual snarky compendium of bias, distortions, out-of-context smears and outright lies for Slate.
One of Santorum’s grassroots activists talks to the candidate after Wednesday’s event. Santorum is the most accessible candidate in Iowa. And that’s starting to pay off:
No time now for me to read that and find out who this “top Santorum supporter” is, or why he’s trying to raise expectations, when the normal political strategy is to keep expectations low enough that you can easily exceed them. It’s almost 7 p.m. CT, so it’s time for me to head over to tonight’s Santorum Surge rally.
By the way, I checked out of the Radisson Quad City Plaza today. The rate was $89.99 a night and the bill for two nights came to $221.58, which might be OK for some of these corporate-type journalists like Dave Weigel, Shushannah Walshe and Chris Moody — they’re living like the 1% on their expense accounts — but won’t do for an authentic grassroots reader-supported New Media guy like me. (See how I did the “Occupy” class-warfare thing there?)
Anyway, I’m looking for cheaper lodging somewhere in Iowa for the next couple of days, if anyone has any suggestions.
But I just called the rental agency and extended my lease on the sweet black Ford Mustang. At $80 a day, I figure I could sleep in the car if I had to, but you can’t drive a motel room. OCCUPY TIP JAR!
Update (Smitty): welcome, Instapundit readers!
- Dec. 29: ‘Everyone Sells Out in Iowa’
- Dec. 29: Rick Santorum Gets ‘The Kind of Optics a Cash-Strapped Candidate Can’t Buy’
- Dec. 28: SANTORUM SURGE: Finally, the Polls in Iowa Are Catching Up With … Me
- Dec. 28: Greetings From the Quad City
- Dec. 28: When the Story Writes Itself
- Dec. 27: The Santorum Surge: Mainstream Media Finally Beginning to See Omens in Iowa
- Dec. 27: Republicans With Shotguns
- Dec. 26: Santorum Gets 4 ‘Clean Kills’ in Pheasant Hunt With Steve King; No Endorsement
- Dec. 26: Greetings From Iowa
- Dec. 25: Memo From the National Affairs Desk: How’s the Weather Today in Vanuatu?