Dress cool and head to Neshoba

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 30, 2002

The Natchez Democrat

If you are looking for a little political excitement, today and tomorrow is the time to find it.

The Neshoba County Fair has been in full swing since last week, and the political speeches that have made it famous gear up today.

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Enough to wet the appetite

Elected officials and candidates are given only a short time to speak &045;&045; 10 minutes &045;&045; but that time is generally well spent.

If you’ve never witnessed a good ol’ fashioned stump speech, these are the cram-it-all-in versions.

Look for elected officials to spew a little &uot;this is what good I’ve done&uot; spiels while the candidates use every last second of their 10 minutes of fame to either outline their qualities or rip into their opponents.

The ripping’s always more fun.

Getting warmed up today

It’s always hot at the Neshoba County Fair. Wear shorts and T-shirts, bring a lot of water and don’t forget those hand fans.

And while the heat is scorching, look for most of the political speeches to stay luke warm today.

But never fear, there are some promising &uot;hot spots.&uot;

Supreme Court candidates Justice Chuck McRae and Jess Dickinson hit Founders Square at 1:10 and 1:20 p.m., respectively. While McRae will most likely continue his silent treatment of the issues and Dickinson will use his time to familiarize those in attendance with who he is and what he stands for, these could be the first speakers of the afternoon to show some fireworks.

But bet on the real fireworks to come from a dud of a congressional candidate in Jim Giles, who is hopelessly taking his self-proclaimed &uot;Southern heritage&uot; rhetoric up against incumbent Reps. Chip Pickering and Ronnie Shows.

Giles, who was escorted from Founders Square one year for interrupting Gov. Ronnie Musgrove by yelling about the state flag, will no doubt light into his opponents and fair officials for not including him and other independent candidates in Thursday’s debate.

As for what else he will say … With Jim Giles, you never know.

Real political fun on Thursday

The highlight will be the debate, but hold that thought for a moment.

Some say Attorney General Mike Moore could use his 10 minutes at 10:10 a.m. to announce future political plans &045;&045; a.k.a. Will he make a run at the governor’s mansion? That could be the hottest news.

Musgrove will take the stump at 10:40 a.m. Medicaid? Tort reform? Prisons? His political future? Moore? How great the state is? Your guess is as good as anybody’s, but ol’ Ronnie might shock us all and say something to stir the crowd, especially if Moore says he’s got the guv in his sights.

But save the Brick Street Barbershop Quartet at the grandstand at 12:45 p.m. and Paul Ott’s &uot;Listen to the Eagle&uot; at Founders Square at 1:50 p.m., everyone is really waiting to see Pickering and Shows.

The real heavyweights

Shows speaks at 10 a.m. Pickering hits the square at 10:20 a.m. But then, at 2:10 p.m., the two will square off in a debate.

This is only the second in the fair’s history.

Don’t expect former Gov. Kirk Fordice and his then-opponent Dick Molpus, but expect it to be good.

It’s the Neshoba County Fair after all. It’s got to be good.

Sam R. Hall is managing editor of The Democrat. He can be reached at 445-3552 or by e-mail to sam.hall@natchezdemocrat.com.