Bush In Nampa

Guest “citizen journalist” Ben Laible, reporting from his hometown of Nampa, Idaho;

Today was a big day in Nampa [Pop. 60,000 or so], Idaho. President Bush was here and gave a speech this morning in Nampa’s Idaho Center. He has been in Idaho vacationing at a mountain resort about 100 miles north of the Boise Valley. On his way back we were honored with a public event of Pres. Bush’s first visit to Idaho. Well, really no reason to come prior. Only four electoral votes and solid Republican.

Rumors started to fly last week. I was beside myself and started calling about tickets. Nothing except that most of the tickets would go to Idaho National Guard and families. Idaho has the second largest National Guard contingent in Iraq. Even tried to butter up the Receptionist at my Vet. Clinic. Her husband is in Kirkuk.

“No way, I’m going to be first in line.” Gloomy weekend.

Started calling again first thing Monday morning. Called all the Congressional Offices.

“No, no, no.” The last no, “I said I really wanted to see him being Retired Military.”

“You are? I’ll call you back.” Two hours later got a call. “You have to pick the ticket up now.” I was in Downtown Boise in forty-five minutes flat.

Event was at 11:15 AM about fifteen minutes from my house. I though I’d get there early, so I left at 7:30 before the doors opened at 8:00. Huge lines already? People had been camped out since 4:00 AM. Got in line. Actually kind of fun. Every one was excited. Most in uniform. We talked, laughed and time flew by. There was security, but I expected more. The same level you have to go through at the County Court House to pay your Property Tax. No line there. Anyway seating was first come, first served once inside. Free to move about. Somebody was watching I suppose. I got a seat. Saw one closer. Moved up, and up. Finally ended up fairly close. Third row in A-19

Pres. Bush is much more of a dynamic speaker in real life that on TV. When he speaks jointly with Tony Blair doesn’t come off so good. Essentially the same speech. Tailored a bit to Idaho and
the National guard. Afterwards he came down, greeted, shook hands, and signed autographs (one a Sailor’s hat). He seemed very personable and looked like he was enjoying himself. Why not? He was in Bush Country.

Like the New York times put on their website by the time I got home. “Mr. Bush was applauded several times. The reception was no surprise, given the National Guard audience in a conservative state that endorsed him overwhelmingly in 2000 and 2004.” Standing ovation was about every sentence, but I suppose that is several. Yep he got 70% of the vote here in 2004.

A great time was had by all. Secret Service handed out little boxes with the Presidential Seal on them. I couldn’t get close enough. I did get about ten feet. See the first picture attached.


Second picture is some of the troops on stage. I can’t take pictures and the ones of the President on stage were crummy. And the one of the First Lady. Better ones on the web anyway.

(right click to open full size)

The only other President I’ve seen was Pres. Truman in 1948. In the second grade at the time. We had to join hands two-by-two and walk about five blocks to the train depot where he spoke from a platform on the rear car. Then much later I was stationed at the Pentagon and Walter Reed. Nixon at the time, but I never saw him.

He should have gone to the Navy Officers” Club for lunch to watch the topless go-go girls. I don’t suppose they do that there now. LOL

Protestors? Yea, about fifty at the main gate when I arrived. I counted only seven there when I drove out and two news vans with cameras interviewing them. I’ll have to watch the evening local news. Their signs were too small and wordy to read and drive. I should have taken my “Support PAWS” sign.

A big, big day here and for me. He’s the MAN.

Benjamin E. Laible
Major, Medical Service Corps
United States Army, Retired
” We never lost a battle in Vietnam. Ever. A chicken shit Democratic President and Democratic Congress lost it.”

PS – I forgot to tell you that I also saw Teddy Kennedy. He came to Idaho State University when I was there to campaign for JFK. On FOX tonight they made a reference to his remarks of Bush’s Idaho visit. “Bush has no plan.” PLAN? A Republican CAN drive accross a bridge drunk and not fall in. Oh, maybe the plan then would have been to take a taxi.

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Kate McMillan
About Kate McMillan
Kate McMillan is the proprietor of small dead animals, which has won numerous awards including Best Conservative Blog and Best Canadian Blog. She contributed nearly 300 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and June 2007. Follow her on Twitter @katewerk.


  1. anjin-san says:

    Its to bad Bush can’t work anything but a pre-screened sanitized crowd & is terrified to face his critics.

    I was at the car wash today, saw a Marine waiting for his car. He was a recruiting poster Marine, really a very impressive young man. Thinking of his fellows, stuck in Bush’s folly in Iraq put a major downer on my afternoon.

  2. LJD says:

    If by pre-screened and sanitized you mean, the U.S. military, then I guess you’re right.

    Bush isn’t afraid to face his critics- it’s just that they’re usually nut-jobs (reference Sheehan, Moore, Kennedy, etc.)

    So now it’s not “your uncle” or “this guy you know”, but some guy you don’t even know, at a car wash, who didn’t even say anything to you, that “makes” you feel this way?

    Here’s a newsflash- A greater percentage of the military supports the President and the war effort than a proportional cross section of society. So now YOU know more than they do, with all of YOUR military experience and all…?

  3. Lunacy says:

    “He was a recruiting poster Marine, really a very impressive young man. Thinking of his fellows, stuck in Bush’s folly in Iraq put a major downer on my afternoon.”

    Kind of funny how this “impressive” young man impresses you as a dupe with no free will, as though unseen forces pushed him and his peers to that uniform and that commitment to duty, honor, country.

    I really grow recentful of the implication that our military is full of infantile zombies who were tricked into attendence.

    My nephew, 1/2 Palestinian, joined the Navy a year ago in September. He is a brilliant young man, “A” student, musically and mathematically gifted, could have made a number of choices. He chose the Navy.

    My son intends to follow his lead this fall. Personally, I would rather he change his mind. I’d rather him go to college or even go to college first THEN join a la NROTC. But I don’t think he will. He’s thought it through. He’s weighed the options. He’s analyzed his motivations for joining and he still wants to join. He wants to serve the Navy first for 4 years, then go to college. He’s my only child so you can imagine how badly I’d rather he not join. But I’ve discussed this with him thoroughly and I accept that he’s made a reasoned decision.

    These young men aren’t idiots or dupes. They are patriots who believe in serving their nation and achieving some purpose in their lives.

    Reading how you think that Marine is foolish enough to be “stuck” anywhere put a major downer in my morning.

    It’s almost as though you think you have all the answers and the rest of us a pitiable idiots.

    But you wouldn’t be so arrogant as to think THAT, would you?


  4. lunacy says:


    My day brightened a bit reading the above link.

    Via Instapundit:

    “Army Recruitment/Re-enlistment Levels

    First time enlistments are running a bit behind, another product of a burgeoning economy, but re-enlistments, even from soldiers in combat zones, are running ahead of expectations.

    What does it mean when the guys in the thick of it, closest to the action, at risk, on the ground and looking at things with their own eyes, decide to stay for another hitch?

    They must believe in what they’re doing.

    Apparently, they haven’t been able to watch the news and don’t realize just how miserably they are failing. Unaided by the editors and gatekeepers of the MSM, they’re left with seeing the results of their efforts with their own eyes. They see the new schools, the new sewers, the clean drinking water, the new voters, the new government; they see the birth of freedom taking place right in front of them and think they are doing some good.

    Poor deluded bastards.

    Just wait till they get back and Ted Rall and Molly Ivins and the rest of the harpies show them how all along they’ve been raping and pillaging and repressing the Iraqis. They’ll be devastated to learn the truth, won’t they?

    Or maybe they’ll just kick some more butt and speak the real truth to power.”

  5. Meezer says:

    Lunacy – that was a great take-down!

    God bless you and your son. I am well aware that I am safe because of people like him.

  6. fdfoe fhvne says:

    Nampa must be an incredibly boring place if it consititutes a “big day” to have a visit by an incompetent quack like Bush.

  7. anjin-san says:

    Do me a favor Lunacy, don’t put words in my mouth. I said nothing to disrespect anyone serving in uniform, You on the hand, do disrespect them, by lying on what I guess you think is their behalf.

  8. An Interested Party says:

    Unfortunately, a Republican CAN’T go to Vietnam while drunk because he has other priorities in Alabama…oh, maybe the plan would be to defend the gulf coast from those nasty Viet Cong…speaking of Vietnam…so a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress lost it, eh? Not as bad as a Republican President prolonging it to get reelected, I suppose…oh wait, that’s seems to be a trend here lately…

  9. TL says:

    I was there…. in the front row with my 8 year old daughter. The military LOVES the President. There was a lady there who has four sons in Iraq. She was the proudest woman that I have ever seen. I shook the Presidents had and told him to “Stay the Course, Sir”. He said “Don’t worry son… I will. That is what I came her to say today!”

    This Preisdent has had the greatest burden of any President since FDR and he has done a great job. I think that the libs better start providing answers instead of pop culture platitudes or it is going to be a long road for them in 08.