he turned the page…
Story No. 2 of the Rand Paul Warrior Chronicles
The red hot eyes seemed to mock all living things in the emerging dusk of August 6 night, 2010. Their eyes glared at all that came before them. They were the fires of Fancy Farm and they lit up the coming darkness of night with forewarning of the morning struggle.
By 8:00 pm, the fires of Fancy Farm were roaring like some ancient clarion call to warriors on the night before battle. Eight foot high metal drums belch out five foot flames against the oncoming blackness of the hot humid night. Each drum had a small row of air vents, that gave the impression of red eyes staring back at any observer.
Looking ancient and alien, the barrel drums were part of a 130 year tradition of cooking barbecue for the worlds largest panic in which politics shares center stage with the food.
Stacked cords of special cut wood sat next to the barrels. They, in turn, were located near a series of 60 ft. long cooking pits which help to set the stage for preparing 15,000 pounds of Western Kentucky barbecue.
The hot coals from the fires would be set in the pits to start the all night cooking of the pulled and shoulder pork.
The stage was set for a classical Fancy Farm Picnic.
For 130 years, Fancy Farm Picnic has been the traditional jumping off point for statewide political campaigns. This year witnessed a different kind of politician and political campaign being launched from the fiery barbecue pits of Fancy Farm.
8:00 am. First barbecue pork and mutton is ready for sale to public. Crowds move about the grounds. Bingo games are setting up for the day’s sales.
1:00 pm. Close to 4,000 political faithful have gathered near or underneath the candidate speaking platform. The music was wild and loud as Wesley Atha and the five member band “No Tools Loaned” played Rocky Top. Pockets of yelling erupted alongside a wide front of a 100 ft. speakers platform. This was the distance that separated the two warring armies.
Each army of brightly colored soldiers stared across and over the senior centers parked between them in their lawn chairs. Paul’s army was dressed in blue and white; Conway’s forces in yellow and green.
Their fortifications were almost equal in design and layout. Each had roughly 500 foot soldiers inside the speaking area, on bleachers. Another 500 or so were standing just outside the pavilion’s concrete floor.
Anticipation! The crowds were getting rowdy. By the minute, more and more foot soldiers pushed and inched their way into any breathing space left inside the shade of the pavilion.
More media arrived to record and document for history as well as late afternoon deadlines the anticipated knock down fight between Paul and Conway.
Early morning reports by the media hounds in the crowd had put Paul up over Conway by 6 to 8 points with 22 points undecided. The media came for blood. They remember last year when Rand Paul had taken control of the event and had launched his campaign with a fiery passionate speech heard around the nation. They came for more of this!
Conway had stumbled in 2009. He had dared to compare himself to Wendell Ford and use a cuss word at a church function. All media hell had exploded in his face over this. The media came for a repeat.
The nation through a 100 media cameras and reporters came to witness this great debate of good and evil, of more government over less government, of who would help define the next leadership of the US Senate in 2010.
All of the people had come to be apart of history in the making.
By 2:20 pm Conway was standing tall before the mob of blue and yellow signs. Conway had his fist in the air! Conway was being passionate! Conway was driving his message deep into the body of the Republican beast! His voice boomed out across the bleachers and lawn chairs! He seem like a man possessed with his own rightness over the ills and injustices of the world around him. He had found his mojo!
In short, he sounded a lot like the Rand Paul of 2009.The place erupted into a shouting match of supporters trying to drown each other out. For three minutes the madness continued. People standing on bleachers, holding up signs, each trying to make their efforts be the one sign that the media would take notice of a for a brief instant in time, become immortal upon the front page of the New York Times or Fox News.
Order was finally achieved. A low rumble of noise pretended to be quietness for the moment. Then Rand Paul stood up to walk the three steps to the podium.
Again, over a thousand people screamed at once. RAND PAUL…RAND PAUL….BOO…BOOOO…CONWAY….CONWAY and so on and so on. The foot soldiers played their part to the hilt.
Finally order once again settled in.
Rand Paul paused, looked at the crowd and spoke. His words were measured and firm. He spoke of facts and policies, of issues and the illness of big government.
At one point, in his attack on the IRS Code, the Mitch McConnell Prime Time Players of Young Republican Guards held up pretend boxes of IRS code.
The stage and speakers platform was shaken by Rand Paul supporters slapping their palms into the top layer of wooden planks of the speakers stand. Some of the people were using sticks to slap the wood. The effect was unnerving. Their actions sent a human electrical shock wave through the wood. It jarred the people standing on the right handed side of the stage.
And then he turned the page……………
And then HE TURNED THE PAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rand Paul was using a prewritten, pretyped speech. The fire of Rand Paul had been captured and placed within the safe confines of pre written text. Rand Paul had become Jack Conway of 2009. Play it safe Jack until his cussing episode.
The anticipation, the luster, the raw passion, the looking straight into their eyes while yelling out the reformer's truth Rand Paul was now playing it safe.
The barbarian at the gates, reform driven independent thinker, leader of the tea baggers movement had been packaged as a safe Republican in the image of Mitch McConnell.
For those in the media who saw it, an electrical shock wave swept across the room. This was a new version of Rand Paul. McConnell had created Rand Paul 2.0 Mr. Safe Republican from Kentucky, who could and will be a team player.
Two gentlemen in their seventies from Louisville, who had been up since early in the day to make the five hour trip, looked at each other and one said, “bit of a let down, wouldn’t you say?”
Rand Paul 2.0 had become as marketable as a box of cereal….and as safe.
The barbarian had been tamed!