Friday, November 10, 2006

Pawlenty road trip, Part I

I got the call from the Pawlenty for Governor Committee last Saturday evening. Did I know of anyone who might want to join Governor Tim Pawlenty on his upcoming campaign bus tour? Maybe I would be interested? The invitation was hesitant, almost apologetic, as if I was being asked to drive over to Eagan to mow the governor's lawn. By the way, the bus leaves tomorrow at 5:00 pm, and the tour won't be over until 10:45 pm on Monday, almost 30 hours later!

How could I say no?

I quickly discovered that there are two kinds of people on these bus tours: those who think of them as purgatory on wheels, and those who think of them as hog heaven. Even at the end of the tour, I was in the latter group, definitely the minority. I wasn't expecting anything glamorous, and for the most part I was not disappointed. But I met a lot of smart, interesting and, dare I say nice, people in the campaign's inner circle, including the governor and Lieutenant Governor Carol Molnau, and many of the good people of central Minnesota, from Saint Cloud to Redwood Falls to Rochester, and points in between.

Sunday evening, the streets of Saint Paul

Demonstrators chant to each other at The Fitz. (c) North Star Liberty
Our boots first landed on the ground at Exchange Street and Wabasha Street in downtown Saint Paul, where large groups of demonstrators for gubernatorial candidates Mike Hatch (DFL) and Peter Hutchinson (Independence Party) gathered on opposite sides, literally and figuratively. Saint Paul Police Department officers admonished us to get off the streets and onto the curb. We waved our red Pawlenty campaign signs and chanted "four more years," first to passing cars, then to the Hatch people. The Hatch people chanted back. The Hutchinson people chanted, then sang Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It Anymore" to a vigorously-played acoustic guitar. Someone was driving a miniature radio-controlled car up and down the street. Hatch and Amy Klobuchar sign carriers began to mingle with Pawlenty and Mark Kennedy sign holders. One of our group was bashed in the forehead with a campaign sign (no blood, well, not much anyway).

After a few minutes, all of the chanting and waving signs was fun, but we weren't going to change anyone's mind here. We left the corner and got in line for the Minnesota Public Radio debates for U.S. Senate and Minnesota Governor at the venerable Fitzgerald Theater.

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1 comment:

Jerry Plagge, Jr. said...

Sounds like a great opportunity.