What a difference 9 months make. That is how long it had been since I first met Herman Cain at Mario’s Flying Pizza. That Herman Cain was accompanied by one staffer as he searched for support to run for President. In his return to the Houston area last night at the Clear Lake Tea Party Rally of 2011 as the frontrunner in national polling, Mr. Cain had a security posse worthy of Kanye West and a crowd of 3,000 plus to welcome him. He didn’t toss any pizzas at this party.
If there was any doubt about Mr. Cain’s popularity with tea party attendees, that doubt was erased last night. The crowd was wildly enthusiastic about him – the most common phrase I heard was that he was ‘real’, meaning that he was plain spoken and didn’t beat around the bush. And almost everyone that I talked to was there to hear Mr. Cain speak – unlike the thousand or so people that attended last year who were there to support the tea party concept rather than to support a specific speaker. People started arriving as early as 4 pm for an announced start of 7 pm. Many waited in line for as long as two hours to purchase a book autographed by Mr. Cain.
One of the early arrivals was Joe Snow of Cleveland, TX who was relaxing in a lounge chair while waiting for the guest of honor to arrive.
I asked Mr. Snow why he was there and his response was “Cain”. He explained that he and his wife both supported Mr. Cain because “he tells it like it is”. They made the drive down from Cleveland in hopes of meeting someone on Cain’s staff that could help them start a volunteer effort for him in their town. I’d say that is commitment.
I did manage to find one lone protester at the rally.
Meet Rev. James Daniels. Rev. Daniels lives in “The Settlement” area of Texas City and was hoping to talk to Mr. Cain to express his disgust about Mr. Cain saying that blacks had been brainwashed into voting for the Democratic Party. He told me that he was a grown man and had the right to support anyone he wanted to and was offended that Mr. Cain would suggest that he didn’t support candidates for a good reason. Unfortunately, I never saw Rev. Daniels make it through the security posse to speak to Mr. Cain – that would have been interesting to watch.
One of the reasons I like to go early to these events is to talk not only to the attendees but also the politicians that come out to try and gather up votes. Oddly, very few of the tables set up were manned by the candidate, most had volunteers staffing them. Two of the candidates to replace Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison were there: Lela Pittenger who was a featured speaker, and Glenn Addison. They are certainly working hard as major underdogs in the race.
Also attending, and actually standing at her table meeting voters, was the one to watch in CD-14, Felicia Harris.
A lot of people dismissed me when I said that she was one to watch but once you meet her I think that you’ll agree with me – she is going to make some noise in that crowded field. That isn’t saying she will win – certainly Steve Stockman or Randy Weber are the perceive favorites in the race. But Stockman is slow out of the gate and Weber has a few problems to overcome, so anything can happen and if getting out and working hard matter, then she will be in the mix.
I had the privilege of finally meeting one of my favorite TV reporters, Mary Benton of KPRC – Click 2 Houston. I’ve been Twitter hassling her for a long time! She did her own blog recap of the event, click here to view it on her 2 On the Beat blog.
All in all, it was another fun night organized by the Clear Lake Tea Party. The “tea party” as it was first conceived may no longer exist but the same fire in the belly that spurred the uprising of 2010 is still as hot as ever. That it is now more organized and focused bodes well for the prospect of ousting the dufus currently occupying the White House. And if the crowd gathered last night at Gulf Greyhound Park has its wish, Herman Cain will be the one doing the ousting.
A few more pictures from the evening:
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
Patriot Shar says
Good coverage … worked the media this go round & was very interesting to watch the liberal stations reactions to the crowd LOL
We even had coverage from Japanese station !!
Thanks for the commentary Big Jolly