Phoenix: McCain party was just about having some fun

Brock Harrington

One thing is sure about this historic election: Phoenix is not Chicago.

On Tuesday, Chicago’s own Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election to become the 44th president of the United States, while Phoenix’s John McCain was slaughtered gracefully in the Electoral College.

And I was there to witness it.

Compared to what I saw on various networks, McCain’s election night was nowhere near that of Obama’s. The president-elect must have sensed the win coming as millions gathered in the streets of the windy city.

In Phoenix, the atmosphere surrounding the night was toned down, much like the election. Aside from performances by Hank Williams Jr., who the master of ceremonies disgustingly called America’s greatest country singer, and John Rich, from Big and Rich, the event was much less a party then it was a celebration of campaign life.

Damn the voter turnout. Screw the outcome. The John McCain election night party was about Arizona McCain supporters putting on their fancy clothes and just having fun.

There was no mention of preachers, pigs, Hockey Moms, and thank you, Lord, no hanging chads. Of course the crowd booed when CNN announced another state, or when someone mentioned the word “Obama,” but why wouldn’t they? After all, if you live by a candidate, you should die by a candidate. Plus, these people were still Republicans.

The simple fact is that McCain supporters weren’t ignorant about who they thought would win; they just never gave up hope. Right down to the moment when former Louisiana Gov. Charles Roemer told the crowd to make its way to the lawn behind the Biltmore Hotel, they didn’t lose hope. The hope was that somehow Florida would come through, or Ohio was misread or that California would transform into Texas.

In the end, McCain was exactly the person his supporters, and probably most of his co-workers in politics, thought he was. Even after a long, brutal campaign, McCain simply wanted to help America, and still has that ultimate goal as he returns to the senate with a pledge to help Obama as much as he can.

You think Ronald Reagan would have said that to Jimmy Carter in 1980? How about George W. Bush in 2000?

Talking to his most devoted supporters, the ones who made phone call after phone call over a nearly two-year span, they couldn’t imagine McCain doing anything less. For McCain, the election wasn’t necessarily about winning; it was about helping the country. Obama never trailed in the race, and a struggling economy didn’t help McCain’s chances. But he continued anyway because he wanted to fight for America.

The running joke of the election night party was that Arizona is the only state where mothers can’t tell their children that they can grow up and become president. No one from Arizona has ever done it. While McCain proved that theory once again, I say, why would anyone ever want to leave Arizona? Especially for Washington, D.C.

It was in the 80s on Election Day. This is November.

McCain just wanted to help America rebuild so it can be that city on a hill, and after visiting his home state, meeting his supporters there, walking around Arizona State and eating authentic Mexican food, I now know just how much McCain loves this country.

At 72-years old, John McCain doesn’t have to leave one of the most geographically amazing states in the country, but he does. He leaves Arizona because he wants to help America.

I can’t stress this anymore, it was 88 degrees in November in Phoenix. He loves his country so much he leaves Arizona.

Brock Harrington is a senior newspaper journalism major and a public affairs reporter for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].