Given Americans’ instinctive and altogether healthy dislike of politicians, few politicians can risk the spontaneous reaction of a large sports crowd. Recall, for example, Yankee fan Hillary Clinton and her studious avoidance of any personal appearance at a Yankees game during the Yankees’ most recent World Series appearance.
Our correspondent CD has alerted us to his own blog fraterslibertas. Yesterday he posted a long blog about Norm Coleman’s appearance at the Minnesota Wild hockey game at St. Paul’s Xcel Center (the house that Norm built). CD’s dispatch from the game is worth quoting at length:
“Just got back from the Minnesota Wild game (they lost 4-2, in a wholly uninspired performance against the generic Vancouver Canucks). The most animated the crowd got was at the beginning of the 3rd period, when suddenly a small hubbub began somewhere in the seats behind me, which then grew to a mild roar from those in my entire section and then those in adjoining section too. I naturally presumed the interns from the Wild marketing department were handing out ‘specially-sized’ packets of Ritz Bits or something similarly as meaningless, yet always guaranteed to drive the crowd to frenzied distraction from the actual purpose of their $55 per seat outlay for tickets. But no, this time there was an actual happening occurring. That would be the belated entrance of Norm Coleman to the game, as he and his lovely wife Laurie, slowly made their way to their seats. Norm seemed touched by the extended and enthusiastic recognition, so much so he laid his hand over his heart and then started blowing kisses to the crowd (really). Which I think goes to prove that you can take a candidate out of the Democratic Party, but you can never fully extract the Democratic party out of the candidate.
“After Norm sat down (one section over and two rows behind me) a steady stream of admirers approached him for autographs and to wish him well. Lots of hugs and back slaps and a lucky few (who presumably were already acquainted with the Colemans) got a kiss from beautiful, blonde Laurie. Soon thereafter, a camera crew got down there and during the next break in the game, they put Norm’s image up on the scoreboard, which resulted in a huge ovation from the crowd. This wasn’t just polite applause, rather it was an affectionate, full-throated cheer, lasting for a good 30 seconds. This time Norm simply stood, smiled widely and waved – thank God. (Is it possible his image consultants had gotten back to him so quickly about the adverse reaction to his Juan Peron-style kiss blowing? If so, I’d like to believe my quizzical glance had something to do with it.) The sections around us started the ‘Norm! Norm! Norm!’ chant – but just then the cameras cut away, as the game had begun once again, and this demonstration never had a chance to grow in scope.
“No doubt the crowd can’t be considered a complete cross section of the Minnesota electorate. St. Paul is Norm’s town (despite the fact it went for Ventura in the 1998 Gubernatorial race), the Wild’s presence and the return of the NHL to Minnesota are rightly credited to Coleman’s influence thus making hockey fans more prone to lean his way, and the crowd was made up disproportionately of suburban, white, other than lower class males. But by no means can this crowd be considered uniformly Republican. In fact, most of those in the monied classes in St. Paul, who are in abundance at these games, are typically Democratic partisans. And I can’t imagine a single other political figure from the state getting such an enthusiastic and affectionate response from 18,500 citizens brought together for legitimately nonpartisan purposes.”
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