You either love him or you hate him. You find him refreshingly brutal and honest or you see him as an embarrassment for the district and a tyrant.
Me, I’m not crazy about him. I have slammed him on the blogs on everything, from mocking his clothing to slamming his policy and behavior on the house floor. He was the only representative from Florida, Republican or Democrat to vote against defense appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan. This affects funding for everything soldiers need, from body armor to internet cafes that let soldiers e-mail and webchat home. Kosmas voted for it, Corrine Brown voted for it, not Alan Grayson. Unforgivable.
Now that I got that out of the way, I attended the Q/A session with Alan Grayson and Puerto Rican Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi. It was a forum that dealt with hispanic issues affecting the culture in Central Florida and it was at the Englewood Neighborhood Center….I have fond memories of that place, raised by a single mom, it was a safe afterschool place for me back when it was the boy’s club in the 90s
Turnout was at full capacity in a room that held 100-125. 99% Democrat (literally! There was like 3 other conservatives in the room) and two real journalist there (Fox 35, Orlando Magazine).
There was some good meat (info), on safe, common sense issues and programs that everyone could agree on. Grayson had several opportunities to slam conservatives but passed and referred to Republicans as “the other side”. He was mildly campaigning.
There were about 3 talking points that I was very much against and I just went into my “Fight Club, penguin cave…slide” and took notes.
The QA was moderated well, and the event had a small rally “feel”.
Whoa, what was that? An unmoderated follow up question? One of Grayson’s opponents did indeed have a presence at this event, and the gentlemen was video taping the entire Q/A. He asked an “unfriendly” question and was flagged by Grayson’s people immediately.
I’m not naive and I don’t think anyone that is involved in politics, here in Central Florida will deny that supporters from other candidates drop in on events like this one. You always have to assume that your opponents has ears in the audience, but the following events that took place after this discovery was really kind of silly.
Grayson’s people basically sent their photographer (she’s really attractive, by the way) to take some pics of the guy who asked the unfriendly question. Then they recruited another guy with a camcorder, to video tape the guy, who was videotaping the event, who may or may not send it to one of Alan Grayson’s opponents. The whole thing was really kind of ridiculous.
The event wrapped up and it was successful. I know my conservative readers will cringe, but here were some things I heard said after the event during photos.
“Your our hero, Grayson”
“That is a Presidential photograph”
and the most important..
“You’ve got our vote”
Let me put on my strategy hat, here. Democratic incumbents will try to replicate the 2008 turnout. In a close election, the area Alan Grayson was courting on Saturday, which was basically the population dense, Hispanic area from Colonial, stretching down to Orlando International and the Conway area stretching out to the 417 area can be a big deal. You will see Alan Grayson dubbed on Spanish television like a bad kung fu movie, trying to get those votes. He can afford it, believe me.
I took a moment to talk to his staff, they’re readers. They were cordial, polite and friendly considering that I’ve been talking smack about their boss and don’t want to see him get re-elected.
The last few days have been about getting the Hispanic population of Central Florida more involved in the political process, and the majority of these leaders have been Democrats.
Hispanics don’t vote? Hispanics only vote Democratic? You want to gamble with 35% of the vote…go ahead.
Republican, Hispanic leaders need to step up and talk to the people if they want to take these seats in November.