Friday, August 17, 2012

"Jefferson, I think we're lost..."

guest post by Becca Lower

It was strange to read today, in The Hill, that some think that the Paul Ryan pick was
"The Announcement Without a Bounce: Romney’s Choice Falls Flat.” Have they talked to people in Ohio? Not only did Ryan get some encouraging greetings from Ohio seniors on Wednesday, on his way to the Miami of Ohio event, but here's the line of people waiting to get into the Engineering Quad where he was set to speak (Note: all images are by me, and are clickable to enlarge):

It took about an hour to move from the edge of the Millett Hall parking lot to the gates. That was just enough time to finish our provisions (trail mix, cut-up veggies, day-old restaurant tortilla chips) and to chat with a man who happened to be down from Cleveland moving his underclassman son into his Miami U. dorm. Oh yes, it was early move-in day, too. So you had political junkies like Robert Stacy McCain and me from points east and south (I'm from Butler County), alongside frantic and lost mothers and fathers from all over. I overheard a man speaking to the Clevelander who'd come from somewhere in Kentucky-- roughly the same five hour distance, just from the other direction.
Ohio plate seen while waiting in line for the event

The two stories, seeing Ryan and meeting Stacy McCain (writer of The Other McCain blog), can't be separated. I can't imagine the experience of Wednesday without either part. And really, McCain's story couldn't have served as a better counterpoint.

We got acquainted during the primaries somewhat by accident. He contacted his friend and fellow blogger Lisa Graas, the week before the Ohio contest (March 6th). He happened to be in Ohio visiting family, and hoped to mingle with some Rick Santorum supporters as we watched a debate. Although that meet-up didn't work out, we did have a good, twenty minute phone call.

Then in late May, just days after Stacy and his family were forced to go into hiding because of the actions of Brett Kimberlin and his cohorts, he showed up (in the second or third radio interview in as many days) to tell his story on Texas or Busted TV, which I'm lucky to be a part of. (Update: He appeared on May 22:

And then, early Wednesday, Stacy started tweeting and blogging about his surprise stop in Oxford, Ohio, to catch Paul Ryan. The opportunity of a meet-up, this close to home, was too good to resist. I quickly left a comment at his blog and at Facebook.
Note the clever placement of this OH candidate's campaign banner.
Paul Ryan

Post-event scrum for Ryan photos and handshakes

A close-up of my autographed "MATH" poster

After the event, I called Stacy's cellphone. He picked up on the third ring. Some locals were taking him to have his first taste of Cincinnati chili, at the Skyline Chili parlor on High Street.

I met Stacy in the space between the restaurant's two doors. He was ducking out to take a phone call. But he pointed to a back corner booth, which was full of people. Two of them were members of a local TEA party, Liberty Township. It's under the same umbrella as our town's group. In fact, my mom and I attended a great, Fourth of July event that they presented this year. Also sitting in the booth was a red-headed thirteen year old named Jefferson.

You might call him the other, Other McCain. He's Stacy's son. On my last blog, I mistakenly described him as "irascible."  He is precocious, though. After Stacy returned from his phone call, we were bantering about the number of attendees at the event. The kid guessed (it was more of a statement, really) that there were 10,000 people. He may have a future in PR. It was closer to 2-3,000.

You expect someone who writes like Stacy does to do a little ranting about politics. He did that. But there was something I didn't expect somehow. He's a hugger, not a handshaker. To emphasize a point, he'll lightly rest his hand on your arm for a moment. It was a nice surprise.

After Skyline, our group walked back down High Street, toward the parking lot. I didn't get the full story on the McCain family's trip to Oxford, but there was something about getting lost. So as Stacy and I said our farewells, my mom went over a loaner Ohio road map with Jefferson. But as we pulled away, their car didn't head in the right direction at all. Less than a block away, their car had stopped. We caught up to them, then led them to the highway.

(The title refers the R.E.M. song "Little America," from their 1984 Reckoning album. Per the wiki, "The song's (and album's) last line [is], "Jefferson, I think we're lost.")

Addendum: " Paul Ryan’s Nerd Wave — Wassup!" The second picture was from this Miami of OH event... LOL, @Ali.

Also: "Little America"- R.E.M.
From Showtime's Rock of the 80's - Recorded live at the Palace - Los Angeles, CA - 1984 - R.E.M. : Michael Stipe - Lead Vocal Instrument; Peter Buck - Guitar; Mike Mills - Bass/Vocals; Bill Berry - Drums/Vocals