Monday, October 1, 2007

Pictures and Stories from Mac Isle

Disclaimer: I will be saying nice and negative stuff about some of the speakers and candidates who were there. As always I try to be nothing but honest with my readers. If something is positive about someone, I say it. If there is something negative about someone, I say it. It doesn't matter if they are Republican or Democrat. Even if there is something positive about one of Mike Huckabee's competitors, it does not mean I endorse them, just giving them a shout out, nothing more nothing less.
I realize that Mike not showing up can be blamed on no one but those in DC who make campaign finance laws. Although if I had had a crystal ball I would have skipped the event and contributed the money to the Huckabee campaign. Thank you for your undrstanding.

I thought I would share some of the pictures I took at the Mackinac Republican Conference and tell ya about all I did.
On the first day my mom was visiting Michigan from Alaska. I wanted to spend time with her and attend the conference at the same time. So I came up with the idea that she join me on the island. We came over to the island on the ferry from St. Ignace. As soon as the boat arrived at the dock there were campaign signs for most of the presidential candidates posted on the dock. After we got on the dock most of the candidates had volunteers holding signs and passed out literature. I met a Huckabee volunteer from Mackinaw City.

Since my mom was not a conference attendee she could not go to any of the festivities on the island. We did a little bit of shopping. My mom decided that while I went to the conference she would rent a bike to ride around the island. I started out toward the Grand Hotel. First I stopped at a Mike Cox/Keith Butler barbecue and had a hamburger. I met some teenagers from Charlevoix who were Huckabee volunteers. I talked to them. They had just heard about Mike Huckabee the previous Sunday. There pastor asked them to help volunteer on the island. They didn't know too much about Mike Huckabee, other than he was a former pastor. I told them a little bit about Mike. I let them know that Mike Huckabee was pro-life, pro-marriage/family and supported the Fair Tax. I thought this was cool that young kids were willing to get involved in politics. I found out from them that there was a volunteer cordinator in Michigan for Mike Huckabee. I got her name and looked for her on the island. They also said that some of the people from the Huckabee campaign were there, but I never saw them.
After I left the barbecue I headed off to the Grand Hotel. I went to register and get my credentials. Then I headed to the Welcome Reception on the Grand Hotel porch. It was hosted by State Senator Jason Allen, 1st Congressional District and Mackinac County. I thought since my county was the host county I should make a showing. I ran into some friends and people I knew and mingled. I was proudly wearing my Huckabee button. I had a nice glass of cognac and some appetizers. While I was talking to some friends, a gentleman they knew told me that Mike Huckabee was unable to show up. Fortunately I already had my drink ;). Then we kinda walked around and while we were standing around Rudy Guiliani was walking around greeting people. I got to shake his hand. I kinda feel bad, my hand was wet from the drink.
I had some time to kill before I was to meet my mom back in town. I walked around the hotel to see what I could. I went into the vendor room. In '05 the vendor area had booths that sold Republican souveniers and candidate info for the '06 election. This year it was just candidate info. This was also where the straw poll voting was. I did not know there was going to be a straw poll. I proudly voted for Mike Huckabee.
While I was in line to vote I met a nice Romney volunteer. She saw my Huckabee button and said her friend likes Mike, but she was unable to come to the island. We were talking and I told her I was planning on going horse back riding. We talked about horses and we both like to go horseback riding. She said she would be attending the Saturday lunch that Mike Huckabee would be speaking at with Mitt Romney. She told me I could sit with her, but I said I would probably be sitting with some friends although I would look for her if I couldn't find my friends.
I walked around the vendor room to see the booths. There was a Fair Tax table and tables for most of the candidates. I recall Mitt Romney having two or three tables, Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul, Sam Brownback, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain had one table each. At these tables volunteers were handing out literature and free stuff. Mitt was giving out the most free stuff.
Then it was time to meet my mom in town. We headed over to the riding stable, only to find out that the stable closed at 5:00. So we went shopping. We ate at this really great restaurant called The Old Yanke Rebel. It had a Colonial theme inside. I ate a really good pasta dish. It had chicken and dried cherries in a goat cheese sauce. I had a nice glass of Pinot Gritiot to wash it down with. If you are ever on Mackinac Island, this is the restaurant to try. Prices are decent and portions are pretty big.
Then after we ate we walked around the island. We thought the last boat to St. Ignace was at 9:00. While we waited most of the people in line were Ron Paul supporters. They started chanting "Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Ron Paul!". Then we saw some security detail along with local police. My mom thought because of all the Ron Paul supporters chanting Ron Paul was coming to the dock. Someone in line said it was Rudy Giuliani.
As Rudy was walking past everyone they kept saying "Ron Paul....!". He went up to the boat and stood around talking to people and posed for pictures with everyone. I found out he was taking the ferry to Mackinaw City. From there he planned to drive to the Pellston Airport. Say what ya want about him, but I thought this was awesome that he would be willing to take a commercial ferry like the rest of us little people. He could have taken a plane from the island. Or if there were no flights out of the island, he could have had a rich Michigan supporter drive him in their boat to the mainland. He got into the indoor captians quarters.

As my mother and I were in line to get on the St. Ignace ferry, we found out the last boat to leave for St. Ignace was at 8. So the only options we had were to stay on the island or take the Mackinaw ferry. We took the Mac ferry and had my grandma pick us up there.
When we hopped on the ferry we thought we would ride on the top deck to get some fresh air and see the Mac Bridge from the top. Well, as soon as we were on top the Ron Paul supporters were being loud and harrassed Rudy. One dude was swearing, while he had his kids with him. But yet he was talking all family values. One chic was saying, "Yeah, you better be scared and protect yourself you bastard!". For real that was uncalled for. I think my mom turned around and told her something. The boat was just starting to leave and moving slow. I did not want to listen to this the whole fifteen minutes to Mac City. I figured if I was to get to the lower deck, this was the time. I said to my mom, "I don't want to deal with this let's go below deck." We up and moved out of there. The Ron Paul supporters were cheering.
When we got down to the lower deck another Ron Paul supporter asked, "So I guess you kinda got cold up there?". I said no. The everyone up there was obnoxious. And she said that they asked her to go up there and shout too. She said she didn't want to be a part of that and I guess she and many of the others in the lower deck tried talking tham out of it. She didn't think it would be right. She said it wouldn't look good for Ron Paul. I guess they all knew that Rudy was going to be there and that's why they all agreed to get on that boat together.
The next day I woke up to get ready, hoping to see the Newt Gingrich speech. I missed the boat to get me over there. So I had to wait for the next boat, an hour later. After I arrived there was a Grand Hotel carriage waiting to take passengers to the hotel. I know, I could have walked up to the hotel. But I thought it would be fun to take the carriage. It was only $4.50. That was a mere $.25 more than a taxi. The Grand hotel carriages are way more grand than the taxis. While I was waiting for the taxi to head up to the hotel I took a few pics of the town and horses. Y'all know I love horses. They are so pretty and magnificent animals.

I did get to the island in time to see the Blogger Conference. It was pretty good. Nick from, American Princess, Robert Bluey and Lunch Bucket Conservative were on the panel. They had interesting things to say about how blogging has changed how people get information. The subject of how people are getting much of their info from the internet was discussed. The panel also discussed how bloggers don't have time constraints or editors to report to. Bloggers don't have to conform to stories that an editor tells them to work on. Bloggers can get information to the readers immediately.
Listeners at the workshop started leaving to get in line to eat at the Romney lunch. I was surprised to see how long the line was. While I was in line there was quite a few camera flashes going off. I was trying to figure out what was up. Someone said that Fred Thompson came down the stairs to talk to people.
I need to explain a little bit about the layout of the Grand Hotel entrance. When ya walk through the front door is the lobby. There is a huge sitting area that is to the front and right of the entrance. In front is a beautiful stair case. Off to the right, after passing some chairs, couches and a little bar area, is the main dining room. The line stretched across the entire lobby. After Fred came down the stairs people congregated and were taking pictures. While I think this was tacky, ya gotta admit that this was a good stunt. He knew that this would be the meal with the largest attendance at the event. He figured that he would get a good audience.
I found my friends and sat down. When I first sat down there was already an appetizer. It was some sort of strawberry puree, in a soup bowl. It was cold. The lunch was really great. Cornish game hen stuffed with a spinach cheese sauce, asparagus and carrots, some cornbread pudding thing was served. I don't know what the cornbread was but it wasn't like the traditional type I have ever had. It needed to be eaten with a fork. It had a really creamy texture. The dessert was absolutely deliscious. It was some sort of raspberry and chocolate cheesecake with a carmel drizzle.
Afterward there were really good speakers, such as Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski, Michigan Republican Chairman Saul Anuzis and Dave Camp. Rocky made thee best speech of all. He was so impassioned about the Republican Party and support of our troops. Find some more info about him and his visit to Mackinac Isle here. Dave Camp introduced Mitt Romney. Mitt didn't have much to say, for a half an hour. I have seen reports of his speech. In print it wasn't too bad. In person it sounded rehearsed and scripted.

I left the lunch to head on over to the Audabon Society. This is a wine and cigar bar inside of the hotel. I had a delicious glass of pinot noir. Then I headed over to the Romney ice cream social. When I entered in volunteers were handing out free stuff. I took a Mitt Romney fan. While I was in line to get my ice cream there was some Huckabee volunteers. In front of me was some young guys who were making fun of the Huckabee volunteers being at a Romney event. One of the guys said, "Where is Mike Huckabee." Another guy said, "He is probably crying because he wasn't invited." I spoke up and said he was supposed to be there but something was up involved with not getting a flight and campaign finance laws. There were so many stories going around the island that I didn't know what the whole story was.

I got my ice cream and sat down with the Huckabee volunteers. I met the Huckabee volunteer coordinator. Mitt Romney was speaking by the time she came to join us. One of the volunteers told her that Mitt was speaking and she said with a sigh, "I've heard enough of Mitt today." I asked her if she attended the luncheon and she did. She wasn't too impressed.

Later I went shopping and had dinner with some of the Huckabee volunteers. I had to be on the ferry by 8. While I was in line to wait for the ferry I talked to a Fair Taxer. He told me to "ask your guy why he wasn't there." Again I told him a little bit of what I knew. He also was at the luncheon and not impressed. I got on the boat. When I got back to St. Ignace and got off the boat I think I saw Dick Morris, but I can't be sure, it was dark out. The voice definitely sounded like his.

Sorry this isn't as exciting as you hoped. It is not nearly as exciting as I had hoped it would be either. I should have put less focus on Mike Huckabee and put more focus on volunteer for Fair Tax.

In conclusion since this is an event that focuses on grassroots I have to say in the grassroots department the winners were Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. Regardless of what I or you think of these two guys, they do have a great volunteer team and grassroots going on. Also same goes for Newt Gingrich. Since he was not running for anything, obviously he didn't have volunteers promoting him. But what he did have was the ability to motivate the Republicans there. Not one person on the island had anything negative to say about him.

The most important thing of the entire weekend and previous week all together is that I got to spend time with my mom and grandma. Candidates will come and go, but family will always be there and they will always be loyal.

God Bless from the Upper Peninsula in Michigan!

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