Some guys go to bars to down a few cold ones and watch their favorite team on the big-screen television.
And then there are the Brooklyn Young Republicans, who took over Peggy O’Neill’s bar on Fifth Avenue on Wednesday night so they could watch their favorite president explain how we’re going to win in Iraq.
More than two dozen club members camped out below Peggy O’Neill’s 72-inch projection screen as the president prepared to address the nation.
“It’s a little out of the ordinary,” said the bartender, Charlie. “Usually the televisions are tuned into football or basketball.”
For this crowd, the only quarterback who matters is the commander in chief. Most Young Republicans hoped that the president’s resolve would remain steadfast, despite low public opinion and a midterm election that ushered in a Democratic-controlled Congress.
“I am looking for President Bush to tell us that he is going to stay committed to getting the job done,” said Jonathan Judge, the club secretary. “No one wants a civil war, but what we want to hear is that he has learned from his mistakes and is moving forward.”
What they wanted to hear was a clear path to victory.
“I believe that the recent use of quick strike capabilities and good intelligence, which was successful on Somalia terrorist camps, should be used as the model,” added Luke Vander Linden.
Staten Island’s Republican District Attorney Dan Donovan was the president’s warm-up act, giving a speech and answering questions — but he knew enough not to try to upstage the real show.
“I’m looking for the president to announce a change in course, although I believe we need to trust our commander in chief,” Donovan said.
Not even a wild calf running through Fifth Avenue could have disrupted the Young Republicans as the lights were dimmed and the president admitted mistakes and tried to sell a new course.
When the speech concluded and the lights were turned back on, several youthful GOPers applauded and most said they felt the president had delivered what they wanted.
“I like what I heard,” Vander Linden said. “He seems to have a healthy degree of self-awareness and the ability to admit that not everything he tried in the past worked.”
Others, though, couldn’t get past the size of the television.
“It was great to watch the president on the big screen,” said one club member. “On Sunday, I will be back here to watch the playoffs.”