Posted by: Christine | April 5, 2009

Mike Huckabee Visits Rider University 4/1/09


Early afternoon:
Today is Mike Huckabee day!  He’s coming to speak at Rider University at 6pm.  Admission is free – woot!  I’m very excited and Mike (my Mike) and also Brian H. are quite jealous that I am going and they cannot.  I got up today (not early, but not late either, and anxiously picked out my outfit and jewelry for the day.  It only took me two hours to drive here today from Long Island – not bad at all.  After meeting with friends for lunch, I arrived at the theatre where Governor Huckabee will speak four and a half hours early.  I’m sitting on a comfy pleather chair in the Ludeke Center at Rider.  I was ridiculously early, and so was the first audience member to arrive.  So far I’ve read a chapter and a half of Gov. Huckabee’s Do the Right Thing and grabbed a cup of coffee at Cranberry’s – the cafe downstairs.  I discovered that the theatre is named after Dr. Rebovich – “Reb” – Mike’s (my Mike’s) professor who died suddenly mid-semester last year.

A few hours later…
I am still waiting.  The cooshy chairs are just about all taken.  I saw Governor Huckabee walk by before with a small entourage composed of campus police and school officials.  For the first three hours or so, there were only a couple of other hopeful audience members to call compatriots waiting in the lobby.  I am still amazed that I was the first one here!

The lobby is no longer empty.  A few people inquire about buying Gov. Hucakabee’s books that are being sold while Rider representatives scurry about with pamphlets, cash boxes, and local political media gurus.

By 5pm…
I’m standing with thirty or so others near the Rebovich theatre door, determined to claim an enviable seat.  Luckily, I was one of the first people permitted into the theatre, after an obligatory search of my oversized purse.  The guards probably could have guessed that I wouldn’t be toting cans of spray paint or rotten fruit; after all, I’ve been sitting reading Gov. Huckabee’s book for the last four hours.

I choose a seat in the frontmost non-reserved row, a little right-of-center, to minimize the chances of an obstructed view.  I’m sitting next to what looks like a father-son pair, with a buffer seat between us.  To my other side is a young man wearing a black t-shirt with a large white “D” printed on the front.  A couple of his friends amble down the aisle, with matching black t-shirts, all branded with the giant “D” again.  I don’t get it.

I wonder what Gov. Huckabee will talk about?  There will be a Q&A after his talk, then a booksigning session at 7pm.  I hope I can talk to him for a few moments and give him the letter I wrote on behalf of Mike (my Mike) and myself.  Mike (my Mike) said he’d have written a letter, too, had he been able to attend.

5 minutes later…
I inquired about the “D.”  It refers to DAARSTOC, a public-speaking & assertiveness-training student organization at Rider.  Apparently they are currently recruiting.  Prior to this revelation, I had been afraid that they were part of an ultra-leftist organization preparing for a coup.  I guess I lucked out on that one.

Nearly 6pm…
The theatre is filled to capacity, save for the aforementioned “reserved” rows up front.  The stage is neat; its decorations are tasteful, although somewhat sparse.  Front and center is a stately wooden podium with a “Rider University” plaque etched in metal.  Just in front of the podium is a large bouquet of flowers of mixed colors, shapes, and sizes that eye-catching but not too daring.  Towards the wings on either side of the stage two giant printed designs on sturdy foamboard are propped up on collapsible metal easels.  The poster on the left is a “Politics” magazine cover featuring Gov. Huckabee, teasing “Does Huckabee Have a Prayer?”.  He looks rather posed and a tad pensive in this photograph.  On the right is a close-up shot of Huckabee outdoors wearing a slightly unbuttoned shirt and jacket.  He’s looking up with his mouth just about to say something.  The noise level is picking up a bit with the anticipation, so I’m writing in order to calm my nerves.

After the speech…
Gov. Huckabee spoke very well tonight.  He was engaging and a times, unexpected.  He began with what is conceivably his generic opener about why he loves America.  Then, he spoke on many topics, breaking the stereotype that conservative don’t care about healthcare or education, and who are generally ignorant of the abuses in the system.

The healthcare system is altogether broken, he said, giving examples of critical/sick care costing much more than preventative health provisions for individuals.  Gov. Huckabee didn’t take the easy answer on education either: simply throwing more money into a struggling system isn’t going to fix things.  He also believes that art and music must be mandatory for all students, so that both sides of childrens’ brains will be stimulated, so as to prevent students’ detachment from their educational endeavors ultimately resulting in dropping out.  Gov. Huckabee also let out a secret – the best kept secret on Capitol Hill: Washington D.C. is run by 20 year olds.  He asserted that this is what keeps Senators and Representatives distant from the facts about specialized issues.  He continued, informing us that junior staffers are often the sole communication between representatives and specialty committees for important  facts and concepts which have a bearing on policy.

Gov. Huckabee was delighted by questions ranging from his bass guitar inspirations to advice for conservative students who desire to stand up to their liberal professors.  I found that a historical tidbit he shared was particularly interesting: the way that Senators are elected has changed over the years.  Gov. Huckabee explained that Thomas Jefferson hypothesized that Senators should be elected by state legislatures, whereas Alexander Hamilton believed that they should be elected by popular vote.  Originally, the Jeffersonian model prevailed; now, Hamilton has his way.  Gov. Huckabee’s opinion of this issue is particularly telling about his political courage.  He said that this would be one of the practices in Washington he would change, given the opportunity.  Jefferson’s way is more in line with the tradition of the founding fathers because it insures that Senators will act in their state’s best interest and because power would be shared equitably between federal and state governments, Huckabee asserted. 

Later that evening…
After waiting on a very long line to meet Governor Huckabee and to have my copy of Do the Right Thing personally signed.  I was so nervous waiting to meet him!  I thanked him for coming and said the Mike (my Mike) to which the book was being signed was jealous of me getting to meet him in person.  We shook hands twice and I can’t remember whatever he said to me because I was a tad star-struck.

Altogether, I was very pleased with Gov. Huckabee’s presentation, particularly with his discussions on the beauty of the vision of the founding fathers and the sanctity of life.  He exuded a real-guy attitude and a view that was optimistic, yet not unrealistic.  It seems his faith in Americans is strong, and his faith in God strongest.  After all of the excitement of the day, I drove back to Long Island with just a bit more hope and a dash more joy than when I had begun my day.



  1. Good job Christine! Is this going to be a political news reporting blog?

    I agree with Huckabee on the Senators election thing. I think moving them to popular vote really sucked away power from the states. People are really starting to forget about state’s rights and limited powers of government. Many local governments are much more manageable then one large government. Also, the 20 years old running Washington is an interesting idea. I can’t help to think though that it could sound like he’s blaming young people. That could be a problem if he’s misquoted.

    So, did anyone ask about him remaining in the race to become the presidential nominee even after he couldn’t mathematically win? I’m still annoyed at him for that one.

    God Bless! Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks for reading! 🙂 No this isn’t a politically-driven blog. It will be whatever is on my mind on any given day.

      About the 20-year old comment – Gov. Huckabee didn’t mean that it’s the junior staffers’ fault that there are so many problems in Washington. Quite the contrary: the impression he gave was that the blame for this indifference should be on the shoulders of congressmen who spend more time with lobbyists and fundraising than learning about the issues or than spending time in their constituencies. make sense?

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