My first Meetup – Ames, Iowa

After an 8 hour drive, and a quick stop to introduce myself to Suzanne and her family, I headed up to Ames to meet with the Ames meetup group.

Having lived in the wilds of Japan for the last year and a half, I was eager to meet Ron Paul supporters face-to-face. I was not disappointed. I gotta say, Ron Paul draws the most interesting and unique characters! And I mean that in the best possible way. The majority of the folks in attendance were college students. Honest to Pete, they were so bright eyed and full of enthusiasm, I just wanted to hang out with them and drink beer. And I rarely even drink!

One thing I was particularly curious about was the role of out-of-stater’s in the Straw Poll. This turns out to be a bit of a touchy subject, and I’m really grateful that everyone was so honest. The story goes that at the last Iowa caucus, Howard Dean supporters showed up in droves, all wearing orange vests, with something of a “take no prisoners” attitude (or if your an Iowan, another equally valid word might be “obnoxious”). Apparently, the overly enthusiastic behavior of the supporters smothered Mr. Dean’s chances, and he dropped from 1st place at the beginning of the week to a rather dismal showing in 3rd place on the day of the caucus. Needless to say, Iowans are bit leery of foreigners.

It’s good to know this. What does it mean in a practical sense for those of us who don’t have Iowa driver’s licenses? Hmmm. Good question. Here’s what I know so far:

We are necessary. Unlike the other campaigns that throw money at every situation, we are volunteer oriented. Without you and you and you, this thing ain’t happenin’. And from what I’ve seen so far, the Iowan supporters of Ron Paul really, really want you here. They’re just trying to find the line between using your skills and energy to full advantage without scaring the somewhat skittish Iowa fauna <smile>. As long as we all continue to share and focus on the same goal, I am confident we will find the right balance…

Anyway, here are my notes from the meeting:

About the Straw Poll:

The day before the poll, the doors to the Hilton Coliseum are opened, and there’s a mad rush to claim the valuable wall space for campaign slogans and signs. John Kurr is the leader of the effort for this SignageRace2008. I don’t know the details of his plans yet, but will let you know as soon as I can. I suspect that this is an area that out-of-staters can really help with.

On the day of the straw poll, we will have a tent set up. You can see the location of the tent in the GOP’s Iowa Straw Poll Info file. This file also has the schedule of events and other goodies. Jeremy DeWitt is in charge of the outdoor signage. This is a hugely ginormous deal and it will probably be one of the main focuses of out-of-staters. Yes, we will need signage, and I’ve proposed to Jeremy that we have Burmashave type signage. I’ve seen some really awesome slogans on http://www.ronpaulforums.com that would fit the bill perfectly.

On a side note, notice the unusually interesting shape of our tent area. We are not square pegs, and our site perfectly reflects that – how did they know? <sly grin>

On Friday, the 10th, the bright eyed college students are holding a fundraising concert, dubbed “RonStock 2008”! I hope that everyone who comes for the event will turn out for the show – it will be a blast – I have no doubt of it! Please look at their myspace page for more info… I’m sure to be there, and if you’re lucky you might see me sipping a nice dark ale – I try to do that once every 3 years whether I need to or not!

On a more humorous note, there was some lively discussion on whether or not slim jims are flyer inserts or tasty meat products. I couldn’t stop laughing, because I remember thinking the same thing when I first heard the term. I remember thinking, “Now that… is creative!”.

Ok, that’s all I know now. More tomorrow…

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2 Responses to “My first Meetup – Ames, Iowa”

  1. Ron Paul Supporter Says:

    Great blog! I love it! One thing though, Howard Dean’s supporters didn’t come in before the last straw poll, they came in before the Iowa caucuses, the actual voting. The Democratic Party doesn’t do a big straw poll in Iowa like the GOP. Just make sure you keep in mind the two “votes” are very different.

  2. theronpauladventure Says:

    Thanks, I’ll fix it!

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