Let it be noted that we of the West are evenhanded in our treatment of the candidates. Pictures and some commentary from a McCain rally below the fold.

Kind of a scary experience. Overheard in line: Obama’s habit of voting “present,” a lot of love for Palin, and, I kid you not, “these students today, they dress like prostitutes.” One of the three black people I saw was the guy selling t-shirts; right after he passed by some wag offered “I wonder who he’s voting for.” Huh.

The people inside were pretty great. This guy, for example, is definitely putting country first, with plausibility a close second:

I’ll say one thing for them– the McCain campaign definitely has the pederast vote locked up:

That’s a little weird. A lot weird was the public HS cheerleading squad taking the stage to lead McCain chants:

Followed by a prayer to “my personal savior, Jesus Christ.” Then to top things off: a band! “Ain’t no party like the Republican party ’cause the Republican party don’t stop!” I kid you not, they sang this. And they sang “Raisin’ McCain.” And people knew the words.

Finally, the ticket arrived. Holy crap does Sarah Palin get them going. The crowd went nuts when they saw her. McCain himself is surprisingly energetic, which is jarring next to his made-up-for-the-coffin look. Lots of that weird pointing/thumbs-up thing. Palin, on the other hand, doesn’t quite have the routine down; she doesn’t always know what to do with herself onstage.

The speeches themselves are pretty lackluster, both just edited versions of the convention stuff. Palin repeats lies about the bridge, the chef, the earmarks. People still love it. You know what they don’t love? Obama’s line about “bitter.” Three different speakers riffed on it, and that’s just the key to the ID politics kingdom, right there. “That smart black dude? He’s laughing at you.” McCain is not a good speaker. He really does drop in “my friends” at random places, which is hilarious. He hits the “rather lose an election” line, and there’s lots of “USA! USA! from the crowd. He talks a lot about the surge, not at all about future plans for Iraq, except that they involve victory. Drill, baby, drill makes an appearance, and he’s definitely going to shake things up in Washington. But it’s just a hodgepodge of talking points, and there aren’t any specifics.

Then the candidates wade into the crowd.

Woohoo McCain!