TO OAKLAND University, Michigan (home of the Grizzlies), for a rally tonight starring Paul Ryan, the Republican vice-presidential nominee. There is a certain eccentricity to a Ryan rally, some of it carefully crafted, some of it spontaneous. The crafted stuff includes Mr Ryan’s MidWestern-guy talk of hunting and football, and the exceedingly loud blast of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” to which he enters the room.But other bits cannot be made up, and reflect the kind of crowd that turns out on a chilly Monday night to hear the vice-presidential running mate and congressional budget expert speak. To generalise, Ryan crowds, even more than regular Republican crowds, are notably patriotic, conservative, polite, politically informed and anxious about the deficit.
You know you are at a Ryan rally when… his Secret Service bodyguards enter the packed basketball arena a moment before he does, and a kindly middle-aged woman, in a fluster of excitement, yells: “Thank you for your service” at the agents.
Another middle-aged woman, transported by the power of Mr Ryan’s oratory, interrupts a critique of the Obama administration with a scream of: “Balance the Budget”.
Tomorrow, Ohio and a rally by President Obama. I shall report back if I encounter any Secret Service- or deficit-related war-whoops there.
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