A Weekend to Remember or Why Sarah’s Now for Michele

June 21, 2011

Very few moments stand out as much as meeting my wife, our wedding day, our honeymoon, and the births of our two children. However, this past weekend in New Orleans stands out as one of the best family trips ever. It is certainly a weekend to remember.

We set out for New Orleans with the kids in tow along with my parents to enjoy three days of political speeches, food and fun at RLC 2011. As we got to the conference we met Jeff Blanco, a fellow RLC attendee, in the foyer area. After a little back in forth about the upcoming events he mentioned he is starting Mississippi Conservative.com and is looking for bloggers from our area. My ever enthusiastic wife chimed in, “John loves to write!” Always happy for some spousal support, I was a little embarrassed because my blogging is primarily anonymous and rooted in rebuttal to a misinformed post. Jeff said he is looking for a few bloggers in Mississippi as a companion to his Louisiana Conservative.com. I gave him my card, thanked him for his interest and set off to hear our conservative leaders rally the base. I didn’t really think that our chance encounter would lead to much.

The first day, we missed Gov. Huckabee’s speech. But, my wife and I agreed that was no great loss as we don’t really consider him anything more than another McCain. My core beliefs are rooted in conservative/libertarianism and Presidential candidate Gov. Johnson from New Mexico didn’t disappoint as he spoke of limited government, limited foreign aid, ending the drug war by ending prohibition, and looking for creative ways to deal with illegal immigration. Like any Republican candidate I will not always agree with every position, every idea, or every personality; but, I do believe that it is only through conservative principals that we can save this country from the destructive forces of the progressive left. I say this because when Gov. Johnson mentioned those last two points you could hear the grumble in the crowd amid the polite clapping of those who support his ideas. When he finished, Gov. Johnson stepped off the stage and into the crowd. I grabbed my camera, our 9 month old daughter Sarah (make a note, she returns later in my story), and made a b-line to the crowd around the Governor. We worked our way to the front of the crowd and asked if we could get a picture with Gov. Johnson. First memory for my weekend to remember!

After a night in the Quarter with my wife, day two of the RLC began with the featured speakers being Herman Cain, Ron Paul and my tea-party favorite Michele Bachmann. We arrived in time to hear our own Gov. Haley Barbour reminding the audience of the point I made earlier. We will not always agree with everything about the final candidate the Republican party nominates; but, we all agree that Pres. Obama must be defeated. Told to him by the founder of FedEx, Barbour is apt to reiterate, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Yes… yes it is.

Please remember that my fellow conservatives. Don’t fall prey to birther issues, golf games, and edited versions of The Pledge of Allegiance. Obama and his state controlled media partners know they cannot debate us on the issues. They will do everything they can to distract the independents from the truth and try to derail us with petty spats that play out like viral YouTube clips or twitter pics of Anthony Weiner. Our main thing (a conservative as President) is to keep the main thing (focus on Obama’s leftist agenda) the main thing (Obama as a one term President).

With that in mind, I have to ask the Ron Paulbots, who will you vote for when he doesn’t win the nomination? During Herman Cain’s speech, when he expressed his support for Israel, the Paulbots in the crowd began to boo relentlessly. I have never seen such rudeness or lack of civility at a like-minded rally. Like many others there that weekend, my wife and I decided to skip Ron Paul’s speech due to this appalling outburst.

A few speakers later was Rep. Michele Bachmann. Of all the speakers invited she was one of the top two or three I wanted to hear from at RLC 2011. She didn’t disappoint. Using the catchy phrase, “We must make Obama a one term president,” while laying out the facts plainly and precisely as to why she would make a great President,  Michele wooed the crowd receiving the loudest approval up to this point. This resulted in her winning the straw poll despite the fact that Ron Paul and John Huntsman received more votes. I’ll get into that in another post.

Like Gov. Johnson the day before, Rep. Bachmann went into the crowd and was swarmed by attendees and media cameras as if she was Lindsey Lohan leaving a Hollywood night club in a drunken stupor. I gave Sarah (remember her) to my Mom and she took her in hopes of getting a picture with Michele. After a few minutes, she returned with a gleam in her eye saying that Michele took Sarah in her arms while the cameras snapped away. I asked if she got a photo and she said she left her camera in her purse. Oh well, I thought.

That evening we went out to Mandina’s to enjoy a unique dining experience of New Orleans creole with an Italian flare while discussing the take-away from the day’s event. If you ever get a chance, you have to go to Mandina’s. Besides the food, the waiters are dressed in white shirts with black bow-ties and serve you with a local attitude you can only get in New Orleans. Ask for Ross. His dry wit and cool charm are not to be missed. We returned to our hotel and went to the lounge. In the next room Rep. Bachmann was having dinner with some people. On her way out she spotted us and said, “There’s my Sarah,” as she tickled her cheek. I don’t know if I was more impressed with the fact she remembered my daughter or her charming personality amid the pressure from her handlers that she needed to go. I grabbed our camera this time quickly snapping a picture of them. Memories, I sang to myself.

I was checking my email the next morning and I had two messages. One from Jeff Blanco inviting me to join his blog (which is how I come to you now) and another from my Mom, that simply said, “Go to this link.” Telling my wife that the guy we met wants me to consider blogging, I clicked the link only to see…

At the center of it all: Mrs Bachmann cuddles nine-month-old Sarah Lunardini of Jackson, Mississippi, after her speech yesterday

OMG! My Sarah was all over the internet and possibly in newspapers around the country. Talk about an early Father’s Day gift! My wife, Joy, squealed in delight. It’s official, Sarah (and her proud parents) are now for Michele! We already have a fondness for her tea-party support and small government principals. But, this picture pushed us over the top.

Day three of RLC was not a high priority for me. I wanted to see Gov. Rick Perry to gauge his interest in running for President and to see how his views have matured since last year’s gathering. The other speakers were just an afterthought. When we got to the Hilton the whisper was that there was a surprise and that it might be Sarah Palin. As awesome as that would be we could only wish. The surprise ended up a being a comedian who impersonates Obama. He had the place rolling; and despite the MSM reports that he was yanked because the crowd didn’t like his jabs at the Republican candidates, it was obvious to us that he had gone on a bit long with Rick Perry speaking at 2:30.

As many of you now know from news reports and video clips, Gov. Perry set the place on fire. His passion, his conservative values and his record laid bare that this may be the man to beat if he enters the Presidential race. Had he been in the Straw Poll he probably would have beaten Bachmann (sorry Ron and John). The buzz in the hallway afterwards was Perry for President and Bachmann as VP. Sarah (and her proud parents) may like to see that flipped around; but remember we have to keep the main thing the main thing. I’ll take my small government conservative candidates as I can get them!

With RLC 2011 finally over it was time to celebrate my wife’s birthday over dinner at the Windsor Court Grill. Fine dining at its best. My Mom informed us that she had invited Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and his wife Deborah to join us. He was in town for the event and to meet with Gov. Perry. Lt. Gov. Bryant is well on his way to becoming the next Gov. of Mississippi according to all the polls. And what a charming couple they are! They are down-home, polite, and politically astute Mississippians with none of the perceived hang-ups one might imagine from a person who was running for high office. We may as well have been sitting around the dinner table in one of the many small town restaurants in Mississippi visiting over fried catfish rather than the white cloth four-star Grill with plates of lamb, sea scallops, risotto and truffle infused macaroni and cheese. My son played Angry Birds with Deborah on the Ipad while Sarah bounced in Phil’s lap. It is always a treat to get to visit and talk politics without the filter of handlers, political forums and soundbites. If elected, Lt. Gov. Bryant is going to make Mississippi proud. The evening was just another highlight of my weekend to remember.

The next morning was Father’s Day. Seeing Sarah with Michele Bachmann on the internet was awesome enough; but my wife brought her out in a new onesie that was emblazoned with a big crown and the phrase, “Daddy is King.” That’s my girl! I then opened my present from them, a few cigars from a local place in New Orleans that rolls them in-house. Score! Even with all the special moments of the RLC, nothing can top the love of family – especially on Father’s Day. I couldn’t have been happier with how the weekend had gone. Father’s Day was the icing on the cake.  Thank you Jeff for allowing me the opportunity to blog about family, politics and conservative values. Now that I am home, when I finally get around to sitting on the back porch to enjoy one of the cigars they gave me, I will always cherish this weekend. And when the cigars are almost gone, I’ll pull up the picture of Sarah and Michele on the internet knowing that regardless of who gets the Republican nomination President that my Sarah is now for Michele.  I think I’ll save one cigar for when the main thing becomes the main thing, and that is when Obama becomes a One Term President!

 

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Tags: Gov. Rick Perry, John Lunardini, Michele Bachmann, One term president, Phil Bryant, RLC 2011, Ron Paul, Straw Poll

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