The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Thursday, April 21, 2005

SST goes Shad Planking

The Signs
In straight numerical numbers, you would have to say that Kaine “won.” However, there were enough Kilgore signs to offset the advantage. Unless you went down with the idea of choosing a sign “winner,” I don’t think you would really notice.

The Kaine signs were of the metal stake variety, which are a lot easier to put up than the wooden stake variety that Kilgore had. Over 24 hours, that can add up to a lot more signs installed. Kaine also had the “Duck, Duck, Debate” signs. I didn’t think they were that funny, but I’ve never been accused of being unbiased. The “priceless” signs were better. Tim Kaine also had an airplane pull a sign around the site that said “Real leaders don’t duck debates,” or something like that.

The people that I talked to confirmed that moveon.org and DNC people were putting up Kaine signs. This is a fact that Kaine’s camp isn’t denying. When we left at 6:30, Jerry’s volunteers were hard at work taking down his signs. Kaine’s people hadn’t started yet, so they were in for a long night.

The Vice
Gil Davis’s cups were biggest, but were plastic with a lapel sticker. He also had cigars. However, he didn’t make the ballot, which is an automatic DQ. The winner has to be Bob McDonnell, who had big cups, and they were screen printed. His IceHouse was cold. Zach and Lighthorse Harry both hit for the cycle (one beer from every candidate), and have the cups to prove it. Harry hit the tipping point around 5:15 PM, when he began introducing himself as “Lighthorse Harry, Sic Semper Tyrannis.” We calmed him down, and would like to thank Viola for promising to keep our secret.

The Food
Smoked shad reminds me of crabmeat. It’s dense and oily, but the smoke gave it a good flavor. I just didn’t have the patience to pick it out. The fried fish, baked beans, and cole slaw were typical fair fare, and I downed my plate in 10 minutes.

The Candidates
Mr. Kilgore arrived right at 2 PM, and I saw the Lt. Governor not long afterwards. Both worked the crowd hard for 2 hours, then headed for the stage. Jerry went first (by virtue of coin toss, of course), and did a good job of keeping it light. Among the jokes I remember (these are paraphrased):
  • “This year, we had to import the shad from out of state. I hear the Democrats are starting to do the same with politicians.”
  • “I was talking to Tim earlier, and he said, ‘Jerry, I’ve never been to this part of North Carolina before.’"
  • “I’m sorry Mark Warner couldn’t be here. I hear he was windsurfing with John Kerry.”
  • “I’m glad to give Tim a chance to have his picture taken with a genuine Virginian. I know it will help him in Virginia, and it will help me in Kansas.”
Tim Kaine went next. I couldn’t tell how much of his remarks were prepared. He did appear to be looking down at some notes, but also delivered some remarks off the cuff. His highlights:
  • “Jerry, it’s good to see you. I hope this isn’t the last time we appear on stage together.”
  • “Thank you for mentioning out-of-state politicians. I’m sorry that George Allen isn’t here to hear you.” (Allen is a California native).
  • “This year, we’ve taken the signs to a new height.” [gestures at airplane sign].
  • [relaying conversation with a Ruritan]: “I expressed my disappointment that on even numbered years, the Shad Planking is on the same day as the GA veto session. General Assembly members can only come every other year. I asked him if they would consider moving it to a Tuesday, and he said, ‘Why do you think we keep it on Wednesdays?’”
  • “Someone once told me that the Shad Planking is like going to Russia. You should go once, but you would be stupid to go again.”
This last bit was appreciated by the lobbying/politico crowd, but it didn’t win any fans among the locals, who comprised more than 50% of the audience. There were audible boos, and I think Mr. Kaine realized his gaff and movedon.

ConclusionIt’s a great Virginia tradition, and everyone had a good time. I’d be surprised if anyone’s vote was swayed.

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