Giants Won, McCain Zero
NORWALK, Conn. -- In the Norwalk Inn & Conference Center, self described as a Country Inn located in the suburbs of New York City, I expected to see a core group of people watching the final night of Republican Convention. The Inn is across the street from R-CT District 4 Congressman Christopher Shays Campaign Headquarters. Shays, the last Republican Representative in New England and McCain's Co-Chair in Connecticut is striving to keep his position, busy attending campaign events in August but tonight, there doesn't appear to be anyone from his office in attendance in the Lounge.
Although there were a few tables of chatting people, mostly in their 30's and older, and three guys at the bar plus the bartender, most were far more interested in the Giants vs. Redskins football game showing on the other side of the room than CNN's coverage of the Convention. When I asked if the bartender could turn up the volume, he balked at first but then did increase it, a bit. While I was sitting and watching the end of Senator Lindsay Graham's diatribe, two Inn employees came up to watch the Convention.
One of them was Raul, the Chef. He spent his break watching and spent a few moments speaking to me before returning to his kitchen. A registered Hispanic Democrat in Florida; he spends his summers in the Northeast and plans on moving to Connecticut permanently. He told me he saw Sarah Palin's speech on Wednesday, "She will be the next President and that's not good." He said in a solemn tone.
The bar was clearly divided, half watching the game on one side and some watching the convention. An older couple walked in and sat away from both TV's.
Cindy McCain's video and speech was completely ignored by all, except for one comment from a woman: "She looks mean." When Ciny proudly described Sarah Palin as a Hockey Mom and Moose hunter... the same woman bemoaned the fate of the Moose.
As McCain's video began the small group was quiet but then quickly resumed their conversations; this was no rabid Republican crowd hanging onto every sound bite. An Infomercial probably would have as big an impact.
The couple dining must have heard John McCain's voice and begin leaning over to listen but didn't bother changing tables to make it easier, they quickly resumed their dinner and drinks. Likewise, there was no response when McCain thanked Bush for leading us into war after the 9/11 attack.
A middle aged couple walked in and sat at a bar table in front of the TV, talking to each other with heavy European accents. They stayed about 10 minutes and left. Meanwhile the game on the other TV had switched to the Yankees and there was more talk about the Giants' win and then the Convention antics.
When McCain pronounced that they would be winning this election to great glee of the Convention attendees, there was no response from the shrinking Inn crowd. A man at the bar laughed when McCain said he will stand by our side in fighting terrorists, and then returned to his beer.
By the time McCain proudly spoke abut introducing Sarah Palin to Washington, most people had left the bar.
As the dining couple walked away, she told the bartender, "He's just not enough of a draw to stay up for." The man at the bar grumbled "I just wish he was more dynamic."
Yup, by the time McCain was near the end, the bar had cleared out and the chairs where being rearranged. No chance to ask patrons any questions. No opinions on how the night went. There wasn't anyone telling me how they felt, if their expectations had been met. Only the man at the bar and I were left in the lounge, and he wasn't focused on this event.