So today I drove in to Potterville with my husband and 1-year-old daughter to hear Joe Biden speak at Moo Moo U. Although doors opened at 10:30 (for an estimated 1 p.m. speech) we did not arrive on campus until about 12:15. In part because there was no way my squirmy little daughter could wait any longer than that, but mostly because I was unable to fathom more than a few hundred folks attending this event. In spite of the recent New York Times’ claim that Potterville is up for grabs, Republicans dominate Weld county! And I’ve always thought that even the student body leans firmly to the right. And honestly, it was just Joe Biden, not Barack Obama. Much to my surprise, the line snaked all the way from Butler-Hancock Arena to the very end of the practice field! And people had been streaming into the building for over 90 minutes by that point. The wait was long, but it did provide us with the opportunity to see the man himself arrive in his bus caravan shortly before 1:00.
Once we passed through security, we found a packed arena, standing room only! After a brief intro by some local congressional rep whose name I did not hear, the Dem challenger for the 4thCD, Betsy Markey introduced Joe Biden. The crowd was extremely enthusiastic, in part because some of them had been waiting since 8am-including several of my students. Who knew? Biden seemed pretty energized, perhaps in part to make up for the controversy he’s caused over the last few days with his “attack” remarks, but he didn’t bring that up. There weren’t any surprises in this speech, which seemed fairly familiar to me because of my obsessive CNN watching over the last few weeks, but was energizing nonetheless. He hit the standard themes of economy and failed Republican policies, and condemned McCain for his robocalls and gutter tactics (my words, not his), and really hit home the need to get out the vote (which probably means even more calls chez Historiann until everyone in the household votes!). Ed. note: how the hell will they know when I vote? All of this nagging is making me less inclined to vote early, quite frankly.
The crowd was a mix of students and regular folk, who were all extremely excited. I think I and my companions were more moved by the sight of so many enthusiastic Democrats in Potterville than we were by Biden, and that’s not intended to be a critique of Biden! According to early estimates, nearly 4,000 people were there-boy was I off! But it really seems as if the Democrats have a shot here in Weld county. As a friend remarked, “when you see so many boys in baggy jeans showing up for a Democratic rally, you know the tide is turning our way!” So all in all, a worthwhile trip that made me want to proceed immediately to a local polling center and cast my vote-which I couldn’t do because the baby fell asleep as soon as she got into the car! But it was nice to finally see some love from the Dems after having to put up with those incessant commercials. There’s got to be some benefit from living in a swing state!
Ed. note: re: those boys in baggy jeans. Yes, indeed: I remember not-so-fondly, ej, that when we marched in the Homecoming Parade with the Weld Dems in 2004, we were heckled by the fratboys on 10th Ave. Thanks for the in-person reportage–maybe the tide is turning after all.