Sunday, July 22, 2007

Red White and Blue; Toby's 30 percent

I"m sure that everyone who counts in the media isn't paying as close attention as Stuart Rothenberg to the Silent Majority.
Keith, one of the brightest of stars in the world of country music, drew more than 20,000 fans to the Nissan Pavilion, and Genos, a public affairs specialist in the Marines, joined a handful of other Marines posted just inside the venue’s gate as thousands of music fans poured in.

The placement of the Marines’ recruiting tent — which included a pull-up bar for those wanting to test their strength and a few tables on which sign-up sheets sat for those seeking information about joining the Marines — surely tells you something about the crowd.

While I didn’t take a survey of attendees, it was pretty clear that I was surrounded by the “Other America,” the 30 percent of Americans who still say they approve of the job that President Bush is doing.

No, I saw not a single T-shirt supporting the president — or any of the Republican presidential candidates, for that matter. In this political environment, even Bush’s supporters tend to keep quiet, more than a bit disappointed by the war and by his administration’s overall performance. The closest thing I saw to a liberal message at the event was a Ben & Jerry’s “Lick Global Warming Campaign” ad on the giant video screens that flanked the stage.

What was more important, I suspect, is that I didn’t see a single T-shirt that was critical of the president, Vice President Cheney or the war. (I know what you are thinking: Maybe folks at these concerts are too busy wearing T-shirts about getting drunk or with pictures of semi-naked women on them to bother with politics.)

I saw plenty of flags — Confederate and American — in the parking lot as tailgaters, most of whom looked like college kids more interested in partying than making a political statement, warmed up for the event. And when, throughout the show, Keith mentioned his multiple trips to Iraq and Afghanistan, saluted a number of uniformed military in the audience or sang his signature songs “American Soldier” and “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American),” the crowd went nuts.

Yes, many in this audience were members of the “Silent Minority,” the 30 percent of America that doesn’t always agree with Bush but isn’t calling for his political lynching.
These voters may or may not be ripe for picking by Democrats. But this year's version of the Silent Majority isn't in love with the moonbats controlling the Democratic Party.

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