There were no fewer than two moments when most in the room probably wondered if hell froze over. First, The FAMiLY Leader had a booth at the event, was handing out “No Wiggins” signs and information, and Bob Vander Plaats was on the agenda as a speaker. No one saw that coming. It’s not that the two organizations have been publicly hostile toward each other but you never see the leadership of one organization at the other’s events. I believe most Iowa politicos would see the two organizations as oil and water. BVP got a standing ovation at the end of his five-minute talk. He focused almost solely on the “No Wiggins” campaign and had a very friendly audience.
The second event of the evening that made people wonder if the Mayans are on to something was Gopal Krishna making the announcement near the end of the event that the Des Moines Register had endorsed Mitt Romney. Gopal has a history of cracking (usually quite funny) jokes at events and most of the room was quiet after the announcement waiting for the punchline. I got on my phone and confirmed, at least for those sitting around me, that he wasn’t kidding.
I always enjoy the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s events. They are usually relaxed with a mix of slacks and suits with a broad cross-section of evangelicals, elected officials, and candidates.
This year the keynote speaker was Texas Governor Rick Perry. As a former Texan, I appreciate his Texas swagger and self-deprecating humor. He is a champion of State’s rights, local control, traditional values. It’s always nice to hear him speak and he did a great job.
If you are politically oriented, like people-watching, and want to attend an event that isn’t churchy but is focused on faith and conservative values, you shouldn’t miss an Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event. They rarely disappoint.