MIAMI, NOVEMBER 1, 2012 – At the University of Miami, Governor Mitt Romney held a rally that showed how far the GOP has come since the debacle of 2008.
“The U” has a certain swagger to it, and ever since the first debate, Governor Romney has been brimming with confidence. If this rally was any indication of what is in store on Election Tuesday, Republicans should be elated. Before Governor Romney took the stage in front of several thousand people, other local politicians kept the crowd fired up.
For those who love to portray the GOP as a lily-white club, come to Miami. The crowd featured a large plurality of Hispanic Americans, many in the Cuban community. Many of them fled Fidel Castro’s Cuba, and do not want to see America turn into the reviled nation they left. Spanish culture flowed throughout the program, with Merengue music by a live band getting the crowd up and running (and in some cases dancing).
Billboards in English and Spanish were present, and a large contingent of black Americans wore t-shirts saying “Republicans are not racists.”
While South Florida does have a large Jewish contingent, that is more in Palm Beach County than Miami. So it was heartwarming from a Jewish perspective to see so many Latino leaders include passionate remarks about love for Israel along with their love of America. The opening benediction expressed love of Jerusalem and a mandate that America maintain solidarity with the Jewish state.
The first speaker was former Florida Assembly Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera. He is a Latino with Jewish relatives, and he spoke only days earlier at one of the most prestigious Synagogues in Miami to make the case for Governor Romney.
He pointed out that in the spirit of Halloween, conservatives should go to liberals and redistribute their Halloween candy to the conservatives. That would be the only way to explain to liberals how awful the economic redistributionist policies of the last four years have been.
One of the great cheerleaders for politically conservative principles, Latino pride, and love of the Jewish people is Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. She is a rock star in Miami, as cameras flashed and people jumped up to see her.
United States Senate candidate Connie Mack, former Governor Jeb Bush, and favorite son and current United States Senator Marco Rubio came out to thunderous applause that shook the ground underneath the stomping feet. Marco Rubio is so beloved that Connie Mack had to delay his remarks due to chanting of “Marco, Marco.”
Mr. Mack joked that some people thought he was riding the famous name of his father an grandfather. He said that if he really wanted to ride a celebrity name to office, he would call himself Marco Rubio.
Governor Bush is married to a Latina woman, and he is still very regarded in Miami and throughout the state of Florida. He pointed out that a President Romney would not blame everybody else. He would just get to work. He pointed out that the current leader blames everybody, and is still especially “blaming my brother.”
While Governor Romney was the main event, he had serious competition from Senator Rubio. Many in the crowd looked forward to a 2020 GOP victory with Senator Rubio at the top of the ticket. Mr. Rubio offered some remarks in Spanish, and then had the crowd laughing when he said in English that he told the crowd that “they could save 15% on their auto insurance by switching to Romney.” Several compassionate people in the crowd yelled out “How is your daughter?” Young Amanda Rubio was in a car accident several days ago. She had to be hospitalized, but was released and is doing well.
Then it came time for Governor Romney. While part of his remarks contained his five point plan that many have already heard, he had a different look and feel about him on this day. He looked, acted, and sounded like a president. He spoke passionately about how Americans help each other in tough times. As the number for the Red Cross flashed on the jumbotron, people were seen texting to make donations. Hurricane Sandy has hurt so many, and Governor Romney’s religious convictions have him thanking God for all he has been blessed with, and exhorting us all to reach out to those who are hurting.
One thing that had the crowd cheering was that he was not going to pit people against each other like the current administration. He spent so little time mentioning his opponent that people may not know who the current leader actually is. Rather than mention him, it should be noted that the Democratic nominee is trying to win reelection by tearing his opponent down.
Governor Romney gave a positive speech where he laid out his vision for America. It starts by trying to unite the country. Maybe no leader can unite us, but at least he is willing to try, rather than deliberately rip us apart to divide and conquer.
Governor Romney at this point is expected to win Florida. He looked ebullient, and seemed genuinely happy to be among so many people who believe in him. Many in the crowd noted that the turnout was much larger than for the GOP rallies in 2008. Enthusiasm is back up. It may have started out as a negative reaction to the current leader, but now there is genuine warmth toward Governor Romney. He is the son of a Mexican, and people shouted out in English and Spanish “We love you Mitt!”
While politicians do the traditional rituals of campaigning, many of them including the current president do not enjoy being around people. Governor Romney did not just leave the stage and disappear. With secret service all around him, he waded into the crowd. He hugged a newborn baby like it was his own grandchild. Ladies with signs reading “Women for Mitt” received hugs. In the past Governor Romney gave me an “elbow-bump.” This time he saw me wearing a blue foam catcher’s mitt that said “Mitt” on it. He gave me a high-five. Even after he was supposed to have gone, he surprised everybody by coming back for an encore wave to the crowd and some more greetings.
With the American flag and the red, white, and blue Romney-Ryan “R2” Logo high above the rafters, the crowd went wild.
The crowd stayed long after Governor Romney left, especially since Senator Rubio was in high demand for pictures. He is every bit as charismatic and gracious as he comes across.
The one reason for optimism among the GOP is that this was more than just a rally. At many rallies, people leave, and then do nothing. This crowd was exhorted in English and Spanish to go vote. They were reminded about early voting, yet this proved unnecessary. When asked who had already voted, about 90% of the thousands of hands in the arena shot up quickly. They were already reaching out to their friends.
Governor Romney departed for other Florida events on the same day, the last one being all the way in Jacksonville. Many of his surrogates stayed behind to cover every inch of South Florida.
Some of those surrogates later that night through the Republican Jewish Coalition brought the message to Boca Raton. Over one hundred people heard former White House Press Secretary Ari Flesicher and former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman spread the message.
One of the reasons Republicans were not energized for years ago is that energy flows from the top, and the top of the ticket did not project that energy. The 2012 GOP is galvanized, and this has turned Florida from a true swing state that Governor Romney’s opponent has all but publicly conceded.
Governor Romney and the crowd reminded each other that the hard work is not done. There are still six days to go. Some people are phone banking. Others are donating money. My responsibilities include driving and giving speeches. In the evenings, my delivering of the Republican message for Governor Romney takes place. A couple of days ago had me in Tampa, November 1st in Orlando, and the night before the election in the retirement community known as “The Villages.” The daytime has me virtually every day driving Republicans to the polls from Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale to Miami.
The reason why so many Republicans are inspired to help Governor Romney is not just because we love America. We genuinely believe in Mitt Romney. He is a good man, and the cheering crowd at the University of Miami saw and heard his character and left wanting to reach out to others. The way to have a better nation is to have a better leader. That is what the diverse community at the University of Miami clearly saw.
Well done, Governor Romney.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”
Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS
Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at TYGRRRR EXPRESS
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