George Allen at GOP State Convention

Virginia Senator George Allen was the headliner for the $25 GOP lunch.  After an over-long introduction delivered by a woman who must be the head of the Iowa Repubican Women, Allen chose to jump up on the platform from the front rather than go over to the side and use the steps.  He began by saying: "Ladies and Gentlemen — Patriots All.  Good afternoon." He said this in a loud voice, and some in the crowd responded by saying "Good afternoon."  Allen then said "In Virginia, folks respond differently" but then he never said how or why, just left it hanging.

Allen then drawled that he was "thrilled to be here with all of y’all."  He said y’all at least two more times before i had to leave to get set up at the Dem convention.  Allen next made some reference to Leon Mosley’s cowboy boots being fancier than his — and then some reference suggesting Leon must have made better coin at John Deere than Allen himself had, but then he kind of muttered and I didn’t understand the "John Deere Green" context. 

He told the crowd he’d known JN for years, and then paid tribute to N’s wife, Karen, suggesting that Vote for Karen’s husband buttons may soon be made like the Vote for Susan’s husband buttons apparently made in VA.  It was at this point I noticed Mary Lundby salting her lunch  She uses a lot of salt.

Allen apparently had a list of the names of all the statewide candidates, and as he read through them he mentioned that Chuck Allison’s going to wear out his feet running for Sec of State (Allison’s a podiatrist).  Then Allen cautioned Allison about aggravating a nerve in the back of the foot.  I missed the name of the nerve.  My high school physiology class was a long time ago.

Allen referred to Grassley as the Jimmy Stewart of the US Senate.  Watch Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to understand the reference.  Allen then talked about his dad’s first coaching job being at Morningside in Sioux City.  Some in the back of the room applauded more heavily than others, so the SC contingent must have been back there.  His mother went to a wedding in Sioux City, met father Allen there and Senator Allen says Iowa is inhis "heart and my blood" — and he recognized Shorty Shortenhouse (SP?), the captain of his dad’s Morningside football team.  The crowd applauded.

Allen said he grew up in a football family, and it wasn’t too stable a childhood so as an adult he wanted more stability, so he entered politics.  A few in the crowd got the joke and laughed.  Allen said his family operated by the four Fs:  Faith, Family, Freedom and Football.  After a little talk about football — it’s a team sport — Allen said he wanted Iowans to be part of his Team America, and there’s a need to bring more people into the GOP Team.

Allen calls himself as a common-sense Jeffersonian Republican.  He doesn’t like meddling nanny govt.  When he was at UVA law school in 1976 he was part of students for Reagan group.  Reagan inspired him to be part of politics, and Allen laid out some of Reagan’s ideas.  "Philosophical views…actually work." 

He talked about being a governor and working hard to "effectuate" policies.  He talked about gun rights, and welfare reform.  "What we did was a variety of things that made good old common sense," Allen told the crowd of his gubernatorial record.  It was at this point I had to pack up and get over to the Polk County Convention Complex to cover the Ds.  Allen has former RNC chair Ed Gillespie working for him, and EG was in the room.  Next up — blogging on TV & CC.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.