I have watched many a stump speech by John McCain. However, I have never seen as much passion in his voice or his body language as he displayed in Martz Hall tonight. Addressing a raucous crowd of nearly 6000 Skooks, McCain highlighted the differences between his vision for America and that of his opponent, B. Hussein Obama. The message he received back was resounding: Schuylkill County LOVES John McCain. There were even a few points during McCain’s 20-minute speech when I thought the roof of Martz Hall was going to blow completely off.
The theme of the evening was FIGHT. Fight to win Pennsylvania. Fight to save America from a socialist, democratic super-majority. Fight to create jobs and reinvigorate this stagnate economy. Fight for victory in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fight, fight, FIGHT.
“I am the only man in this race who has actually fought for this country,” said McCain. “I am not running for [wealth] redistributor in chief, I want to be your commander in chief”.
McCain took frequent shots at Obama’s vice presidential selection, Sen. Joseph Biden, as “the gift that keeps on giving,” in referencing Biden’s frequent gaffes. The latest to be included on Biden’s blooper reel was his telling a group of campaign donors that he “guarantees” that terrorists will “test the mettle” of a President Obama in the first six months of his term with a “major international crisis”.
McCain replied by saying that he has been tested his entire life. From flying combat missions over North Vietnam to spending five and a half years in a tiger cage as a prisoner of war at the “Hanoi Hilton”, John McCain has been tested and PASSED enough times in his life that the terrorists KNOW what they will get with a President McCain . . . . a foot up their ass if they decided to test him.
Of course, the loudest roar of the night came when McCain promised to invest substantial dollars into clean coal. Coal, the lifeblood of Schuylkill County in the early 1900’s remains rich with resources to support a massive energy movement towards clean coal.
Most of those on hand, especially the excited students from Pottsville High and Natvity BVM standing directly behind the lecturn, spent the entire speech on their feet waving various signs, shaking red pom-poms, and chanting “JOHN-MC-CAIN, JOHN-MC-CAIN!”. I personally haven’t heard a crowd that rowdy since Bruce Springsteen blared “Born to Run” at Lincoln Financial Field four years ago.
For a county that rarely gets much media attention except when an illegal immigrant gets killed or a whole town sinks into a mine shaft, it was nice to be the center of the political universe, even if it was just for a few hours. Call me crazy, but I think McCain secured a huge margin of victory, at least in this county, with his performance here tonight.