I went straight from Wing Ding to a mini-vacation (last break before local election season), and what seemed like the center of the universe Friday night now feels peripheral compared to the insanity at the State Fair Grounds today.
So I'm inclined to stick with my initial, live tweeted take on events, but a few items are worth re-emphasis.
It was Hillary's night and Hillary's crowd, more so than the Hall of Fame last month in Cedar Rapids. That event drew an Eastern Iowa-Polk County crowd, and was close enough to the People's Republic of Johnson County that Bernie Sanders had a contingent that was competitive with Clinton's.
In contrast, the Wing Ding crowd was much more rural and much more Clinton-leaning. And not only did she rise to the occasion, she epic-trolled the naysayers.
Hillary goes there. Likes Snapchat because "those messages dissapear all by themselves." Wow. Crowd loves it & does not care about email— John Deeth (@johndeeth) August 15, 2015
Hillary: "All the Benghazi conspiracy theories are debunked. It's not about emails, it's about politics." #wingding— John Deeth (@johndeeth) August 15, 2015
She hit all the applause lines ending of course withClinton: "If calling for equal pay and paid leave is playing the gender card, then deal me in!" #WingDing— Ken Thomas (@KThomasDC) August 15, 2015
And in a new line (which will miss the newscasts because of an unfortunately timed coughing jag) she reminded the crowd thatA FATHER CAN SAY TO HIS DAUGHTER YOU CAN BE ANYTHING YOU WANT EVENT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES #drink #wingding— John Deeth (@johndeeth) August 15, 2015
The overall effect was one of confidence and looking ahead to the general election."Citizens United was about me" @HillaryClinton reminds crowd. "Think how that makes me feel." #wingding Bonus points for Field of Dreams— John Deeth (@johndeeth) August 15, 2015
The luck of the draw seems to have put the candidates in polling order with Bernie Sanders second. Sanders in front of a non-Sanders crowd is always a little bit fish out of water, and he seemed to be drawing applause from maybe a third of the crowd. Hillary supporters may have agreed with much of his speech, but kept quiet about it. Yet they stayed in place, perhaps taking their lead from Clinton herself who, in a move so unusual that it had to have been on purpose to send a Taking This Seriously message, stayed in place for all three rival's speeches.
But the audience was willing to give Sanders credit where it was due:
No Keystone Pipeline and single payer getting loudest applause from Sanders, even from people who are clearly Hillary. #wingding— John Deeth (@johndeeth) August 15, 2015
Sanders best new line seems to explain both his own rise and Donald Trump:But biggest applause line: "I voted against the war in Iraq." #WINGDING— John Deeth (@johndeeth) August 15, 2015
The audience departures began as Sanders finished, but it was only a trickle during Martin O'Malley. O'Malley's support seemed smaller than at Hall of Fame, and heavily staff, but the few were loud and were right in front of me. Also, though I missed it because I came in from a different direction, but reportedly O'Malley's sign war game is solid. (Interesting: Team Bernie seems not to participate in this meaningless but harmless ritual.)Sanders "American people are sick and tired of establishment politics & establishment media." #wingding— John Deeth (@johndeeth) August 15, 2015
Lincoln Chafee drew last spot, which was really unfortunate because the trickle out the doors became a flood. Even Loud Bernie Sanders Guy behind me was complaining about it. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton sat patiently and listened to Chafee, even though she was drawing more attention in the audience than Chafee was on the stage.
Which is too bad.
Chafee seemed unprepared at Hall of Fame last month and used less than half his allotted time, but Friday he was far better prepared and much more substantive. He should come off well in a debate, or in another cattle call setting where he lands mid-program.Chaffee: "I never had any scandals. I had high ethical standards. And that's hard in Rhode Island. " Soft critique delivered with a smile.— John Deeth (@johndeeth) August 15, 2015
But back to the frontrunners; Chafee mentioned the president too but before he spoke we saw this tweet:
Another way of saying "only Sanders did not" and noting the Not A Democrat issue #WINGDING https://t.co/zNsv4uz02L— John Deeth (@johndeeth) August 15, 2015
I won't be surprised if the Bernie Is Not A Democrat card gets played more often in the near future.
Down the ballot, the night's big news was Kim Weaver's announcement that she's challenging Steve King in the 4th District. Weaver did not shy away from liberal issues at all in her speech, stressing her union membership and single mom status. It's a very different approach than 2014 nominee Jim Mowrer, who was no Blue Dog but focused on his military experience.
Gary Kroeger and Monica Vernon were on hand from the1st CD, but apparently Pat Murphy was not in the house. And Desmund Adams gave a brief energetic talk about his 3rd CD run.
Rob Hogg, "exploring" a US Senate race, drew an enthusiastic response. In the race for second in that primary, Tom Fiegen got through his three minutes without saying FEET, so I lost a bet, but he did offer more energy than Bob Krause.