Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sarah Palin Enjoys Daytona 500

From The Associated Press, whose headline reads: "Palin plays politician around Daytona 500"

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Sarah Palin took a break from the snow and played politician on stock car racing's biggest stage.

Pretty important place on the political landscape, too.

The former vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor sped around Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, shaking hands and taking photos with drivers and fans alike before what she called the "all-Americana event."

Palin said she was "having fun and not thinking about the politics of this," but didn't miss the chance to energize her base in one of the most critical regions of the largest swing state.

"This is awesome," she said. "It's all-Americana event. Good, patriotic, wonderful event that's bringing a whole lot of people together. I think this is good for our country."

Sporting a black coat, blue jeans and heels — no hand notes — the self-described "hockey mom" got the full experience in her first visit to the Daytona 500.

She sat through the pre-race driver meeting, muscled her way through pit road, took to the stage on the infield and wished drivers a safe race. She drew roars from throngs of racing fans, many shouting "We love you, Sarah!"

Palin wasn't with her husband, Todd, on Valentine's Day. She told the crowd he was back in Alaska preparing for the Iron Dog snowmobile race.

"Whether it's racing cars, dogs, snow machines, it's an event like this that brings all Americans together," she said.

Palin took just two questions from the only two reporters around her entourage, consisting of about a dozen security personnel and managers. That didn't stop her from doing what she does best: getting out in the crowds and mingling with supporters.

"I'm thinking about this good, active, speed-loving event that a lot of Alaskans, too, are really in to," said Palin, adding that some elements — minus the snow — were similar to the famous Iditarod sled dog race.

"We've got our snow-machine races up there. This is, of course, on a much greater scale," she said. "Same type of sport, though, same type of risk-taking, speed-loving all-American event that we participate up north. We love it. You bet."

Even some of the biggest names in NASCAR and entertainment couldn't resist her.

Seven-time Daytona 500 winner Richard Petty posed for a photo, singers Tim McGraw and Harry Connick Jr. greeted her, and everybody from Army members and Marines to autograph-seeking fans and kids in wheelchairs got hugs and handshakes.

Crew members on pit road even took a break from changing tires, some stunned to see Palin walking through their familiar domain before the race.

"If you run (for president) in 2012, you've got my vote," one told Palin, shaking her hand.

That was perhaps the biggest bonus of Palin's visit.

No region is a greater bellwether of who will win Florida and its 27 electoral votes than the counties that stretch along Interstate 4 from Tampa Bay, through Plant City and into Orlando and Daytona Beach.

Palin had no official role at the Daytona 500, only a VIP guest at NASCAR's most storied track. She will serve as guest speaker at the city's annual chamber of commerce dinner Monday.

Palin hasn't announced plans to run for president in 2012 but has said it would be "absurd" for her not to consider running. President Barack Obama carried Florida in 2008.

A personal thought - this is exactly the type of thing that makes Palin an attractive candidate, compared specifically to our current President.

Barack Obama the candidate rarely if ever stepped foot onto a racetrack - or really any other field of sport - until he became president.

Palin is a person of the people, and is not afraid to go out of her own comfort zone in an effort to know more about America's greatness.

Obama's one encounter with NASCAR was a gathering at The White House, and although invited he would not even get in the seat of Champion Jimmie Johnson's car which had been transported to The White House for the photo opportunity.

Admittedly I'm biased because I'm a big fan of the sport, but the numbers bear me out: NASCAR has thirty-eight events annually across a number of cities nationwide. Over 100,000 attend nearly every one of these events, with some events hosting upwards of 200,000 fans.

NASCAR has a very large television draw on a weekly basis; it is said that currently NASCAR draws second after the NFL in television ratings.

So while certainly The AP headline is correct yet biased, perhaps a better headline may have been, "Palin and Politics in Daytona: An All American Event."


Sled Dog Action Coalition said...

The Daytona 500 is nothing like the Iditarod, a race in which dogs do all the work. For the dogs, the Iditarod is a bottomless pit of suffering. Six dogs died in the 2009 Iditarod, including two dogs on Dr. Lou Packer's team who froze to death in the brutally cold winds. What happens to the dogs during the race includes death, paralysis, frostbite (where it hurts the most!), bleeding ulcers, bloody diarrhea, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, broken bones, torn muscles and tendons and sprains. At least 142 dogs have died in the race.

During training runs, Iditarod dogs have been killed by moose, snowmachines, and various motor vehicles, including a semi tractor and an ATV. They have died from drowning, heart attacks and being strangled in harnesses. Dogs have also been injured while training. They have been gashed, quilled by porcupines, bitten in dog fights, and had broken bones, and torn muscles and tendons. Most dog deaths and injuries during training aren't even reported.

On average, 52 percent of the dogs who start the race do not make it across the finish line. According to a report published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, of those who do finish, 81 percent have lung damage. A report published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine said that 61 percent of the dogs who complete the Iditarod have ulcers versus zero percent pre-race.

Iditarod dog kennels are puppy mills. Mushers breed large numbers of dogs and routinely kill unwanted ones, including puppies. Many dogs who are permanently disabled in the Iditarod, or who are unwanted for any reason, including those who have outlived their usefulness, are killed with a shot to the head, dragged, drowned or clubbed to death. "Dogs are clubbed with baseball bats and if they don't pull are dragged to death in harnesses......" wrote former Iditarod dog handler Mike Cranford in an article for Alaska's Bush Blade Newspaper.

Dog beatings and whippings are common. During the 2007 Iditarod, eyewitnesses reported that musher Ramy Brooks kicked, punched and beat his dogs with a ski pole and a chain. Jim Welch says in his book Speed Mushing Manual, "Nagging a dog team is cruel and ineffective...A training device such as a whip is not cruel at all but is effective." "It is a common training device in use among dog mushers..."

Jon Saraceno wrote in his March 3, 2000 column in USA Today, "He [Colonel Tom Classen] confirmed dog beatings and far worse. Like starving dogs to maintain their most advantageous racing weight. Skinning them to make mittens.. Or dragging them to their death."

During the race, veterinarians do not give the dogs physical exams at every checkpoint. Mushers speed through many checkpoints, so the dogs get the briefest visual checks, if that. Instead of pulling sick dogs from the race, veterinarians frequently give them massive doses of antibiotics to keep them running.

Most Iditarod dogs are forced to live at the end of a chain when they aren't hauling people around. It has been reported that dogs who don't make the main team are never taken off-chain. Chained dogs have been attacked by wolves, bears and other animals. Old and arthritic dogs suffer terrible pain in the blistering cold.

The Iditarod, with all the evils associated with it, has become a synonym for exploitation. The race imposes torture no dog should be forced to endure.

Margery Glickman
Sled Dog Action Coalition,

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

Wow Soloman, You got quite a reaction above. Who's next ... PETA ? Palin has my vote if she runs. That makes two so far. She's on her way.

Pedaling said...

her ways,
where she goes,
what she is interested in,
continue to show
this woman is connected....
connected to THE PEOPLE!
so refreshing!

sled dog action- hey, good for you, for voicing your passion.
gotta do what ya gotta do.

i love dogs
dig sarah palin
and am impressed with todd palin!

the daytona 500- the heart of america- fun times!

Soloman said...

Sled Dog Action Coalition -

With all due respect because I respect your right to your position, I believe you may have your facts incorrect.

Sarah Palin's husband Todd does not participate in the Iditarod, he participates in an event called The Iron Dog.

The Iditarod may very well be everything you describe. I am well aware that it involves canines.

However, to the best of my knowledge The Iron Dog does not involve animals. The Iron Dog, with the exception of the word "Dog" in the name of the event, is purely man and machine from everything I know and all the information I can find.

If you have proof to the contrary I will be more than happy to acknowledge my mistake. Otherwise I hope that you move forward providing correct information to those with whom you wish to engage.

You can click on the links provided to reach the website for each event and learn more about their differences.

Please understand that my reply is in no way a defense of The Iditarod, as I am a friend to animals and in no way would support or encourage activity such as you describe.

My desire is only to be sure that the facts are correct in our discussion, and that moving forward you have correct information about the Palin family's activities.

Thank you for your visit to my blog.

Soloman said...

Odie -

Obviously Palin has people paying attention!

I like what I see in her. I'm not yet positive she has my vote come 2012, but she's gaining my support on a daily basis.

Soloman said...

Pedaling -

Agreed on all counts. It is extremely refreshing to see someone who has such a connection to America and Americans.

I also agree about Todd Palin - he very much seems to respect her and they seem to be a good team.

Sentinel said...

Regardless of politics, doesn't it bother anyone that Sarah Palin wasn't with her husband on Valentine's Day? Especially in the South, which is supposed to be so strongly into traditional marriage. I was always brought up that unless you have to work, you should spend that day, of all days, with your husband or wife.

Soloman said...

Sentinel -

Thanks for commenting.

Quite simply: No. Doesn't bother me a bit. They're adults, they have the right as free Americans to make their own decisions.

Valentine's Day is nice, but I believe a secure couple sees every day as Valentine's Day, and so to miss being together on the day that Hallmark and florists look to for profits is not an issue.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the response, but actually, Valentine’s Day is one of the earliest Christian holidays. It was established by Pope Gelasius in 496 A.D., so it predates Hallmark by some 1500 years. I’m not denying that it’s overcommerialized (although I find it ironic to hear a conservative denounce profits, one of the mainstays of a free market. Hope the fellow conservatives don’t start thinking you have an inner Marxist trying to get out.) I’m not an expert in romanticism, but I still think it’s an important holiday. My church thought it was important enough to have couples renew their wedding vows. And this is a Pentecostal church, mind you—not exactly a bastion of liberal thought. They take a very strong view about couples, and constantly emphasize how the Bible encourages people to stay involved with their spouses. I just find it a little disconcerting that the people who supposedly emphasize traditional values seem to have a cavalier attitude toward people who contradict those values.

I also noticed the comments regarding Obama and the visit by Jimmie Johnson. I’m not saying he’s perfect or that I agree with everything Obama does, but I watched the video. I don’t see where he snubbed Johnson. Johnson asked him “Do you want to start it up?” and the Prez backed away to let him get in and get the car started. He seemed pretty down to Earth when he talked to Johnson, and I don’t see what he did wrong. Again, not to say that I agree with him on everything, but I do notice that the people who contantly go on about Obama are the same people who would throw a fit whenever someone criticized Bush.

Soloman said...

Anon -

I'll say it again... no big deal. Welcome to the 21st century, I guess we have "progressed" to the point in our society that working adults can be apart on major holidays and live to tell the tale.

Pilots fly on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentines. Restaurant and Hotel workers, and even Wal-Mart employees and gas station workers do the same. We don't all have government jobs that afford us the convenience of President's Day as a paid holiday...

Call it my "inner Conservative" who believes that if work calls, you work.

And FYI - I don't feel the need to "constantly go on about him," I was simply pointing out the difference between Palin and Obama.

That being said, you're clearly an Obama supporter and nothing much I say will please you, but thanks for the visit.