I headed down to Mary's Diner in Danville this morning and had the privilege of seeing Joe the Plumber endorse Lawrence Verga for Congress. There were about 15 to 20 people in attendance, which was pretty good considering the time of day, the temperature, and the $25 fee to get in. Verga had some very professional literature, bumper stickers and a banner behind the podium, as well as a couple of staffers. In short, it feels like he has his act together--especially when you consider his online presence. It's clear to me that he's in this for the long haul, and I wouldn't expect him to be dropping out anytime soon. He seemed to have a pretty good response from the crowd--I would put him as one of the frontrunners to become the anti-Hurt in this nomination.
There are quite a few YouTube clips to go through, so here's a short rundown if you don't have time to watch them all: according to Verga, the country is headed in a terrible direction due to Obama/Dems in Congress; Tom is an accomplice, but the biggest problem right now is the GOP establishment backing a "liberal" candidate (Sen. Robert Hurt). Verga is an unabashed supply-side, Reaganomics, business conservative. How do you bring back jobs? Easy, cut the corporate tax rate. He says he's the only true conservative candidate who can pull off a win and "make change" in Washington. Re-claiming the term much?
Here's the first clip, followed by a Q&A session. The speech was preceded by an invocation in which an audience member thanked God for his "alliance to the United States" and asked for guidance in taking back the country from people who are "trying to take our freedoms." For the sake of privacy and YouTube time constraints, that part is not included in the video; other than that, the clips are pretty complete:
And the Q&A:
Then it was time for Joe the Plumber. He spoke for a good long while, and it had sort of a stream-of-consciousness feel. Nevertheless, he came across as very folksy and related well to the people in the room.
I sat next to Joe during Verga's speech and had the opportunity to talk to him a bit afterward. He asked if I was a blogger and if so, what my views were. Wanting to be above-board, I told him that I'm a left-of-center blogger. He was very nice about it and we had a brief, respectful conversation about policy--I told him I thought our problems have a lot more to do with trade agreements than corporate taxes, and it seemed like he sort of nodded. We shook hands and I left. Anyway, I was encouraged that there are at least a few times when Tea Partiers and Progressives can talk instead of yell.
UPDATE: Here's the article from the Danville Register & Bee.