Monday, June 8, 2015

BEL On The Campaign Trail With Gov. Rick Perry!

I just spent a whirlwind of a day trip from NYC to New Hampshire on the campaign trail i with recently-announce Republican candidate for President, former Texas Governor - and former BEL guest - Rick Perry. I hit the road with Vito & Vito and PolitiChick Mona Salama to meet Gov. Perry at two campaign stops in Meredith and Nashua to see small first-hand glimpse of what a blur life on the campaign trail is.

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Our first stop was in Meredith, NH where Gov. Perry stopped at the home of supporter Hillary Seeger, who opened her doors and her barbeque to neighbors and visitors who welcomed Gov. Perry  who not only spoke to the crowd on a makeshift stage in front of their garage, but took many questions from the gathering ranging from immigration to favorite color!  

And Governor Perry didn't come alone.  Traveling with him were his lovely wife, Anita (which whom I swapped stories about rescuing our respective pets!), as well as real-life heroes like "Lone Survivor" author, Navy SEAL and bona fide hero Marcus Lutrell and his twin brother Morgan - he himself a Navy SEAL, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Mike Thornton, and whose story is so remarkable that we encourage to read about it on his website, and best-selling author Brad Thor. 

Coming from the "People's Republic of" New York City, I was pleasantly surprised by the informal atmosphere.  I mean, this could have been a cookout in AnyTown, USA.  And yet, there was a former Texas Governor looking to become the leader of the free world, mingling as if he'd known everyone for years.  

This was a scene that could have been cut right out of the Saturday Evening Post - before my eyes was unfolding a scene that was a slice of Americana that is unique to our nation.  


Next stop - a larger cookout and rally at Nashua Community College.  This was more of the typical political rally that I have come accustomed to - reporters, TV cameras and lots of invitees being handed signs and stickers to proudly display as Gov. Perry and Co. ascended a much larger stage adorned with a large American flag.  

To date, Perry is the lone veteran running for President - and as National Journal points out, putting that front and center gives him a talking point others do not have:
Perry's team believes that his military background will be especially pertinent this election as foreign policy continues to rise to the forefront for GOP voters. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted in late April found that 27 percent of Republicans nationally said national security and terrorism should be a top priority for the federal government—more than any other issue.
Though it is a strategic edge to be sure,  the passion coming from Perry is hardly contrived.  In fact, when he took the stage, opening his speech with such fervor and emotion for our nation's soldiers and veterans, there can be no doubt of his genuineness.

Here's a small snippet of that speech:



Yes, the rest of the speech was very good, as you would expect from a Presidential candidate.  And after all the glad-handing and photo-ops, it was time to hit the road.

***

I have to admit: going into this, I wasn't looking forward to the trip as much as I was letting on.  I mean, c'mon!  8 hours of driving?  600 miles round-trip in one day?!? 

But once I got beyond all of that, I have to say that this trip reinforced the greatness of what America is in a lot of ways - and reinvigorated my personal political passion.

As I reflected  while we journeyed back to our home in the liberal abyss, I couldn't help but feel re-charged and actually looking forward to 2016.  Even as cynical as I have become about politics, the moments we took in were like Chicken Soup for my Political Soul.  

I'm even looking forward to our next round-trip adventure. 


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