I surged with Hoosier pride watching Barney Smith’s little speech. Here’s a short piece about Barney, a former lifelong Republican who was fired from a t.v. tube factory in Marion, Indiana (to the Northeast of Indianapolis).
He was awesome! And such a Hoosier, totally authentic. His wife worked at a high school cafeteria; cafeterias are a major part of Indiana culture, e.g. the cult favorite Gray’s Cafeteria on the way towards Bloomington from the airport (long lines of retirees, great fried chicken, totally sweet waitresses who call you honey).
Those “real people” speeches were a stroke of brilliant stagecraft. Also especially loved the woman from North Carolina who’s voted for every Republican since Nixon but can’t take any more. Part of the subliminal political “framing” here was clearly to get some chubby white people (Applebee’s riblets consumers, to cite my own recent post on Indiana obesity) up there as counterweight to the beautiful slim, fit leanness of the Obamas, which was starting to become a liability.
I will be very disillusioned if it turns out they came from central casting in L.A. No doubt Republican operatives are delving into their personal histories as we speak and some nude photos will turn up in someone’s past (not Barney’s, though, I pray).