Notes and Thoughts from the Convention Floor:
On the convention floor, there is wireless but it’s expensive so I’m going to need to find some internet elsewhere. It doesn’t matter, as my computer’s battery was drained and it’s a perpetual struggle to keep the computer running. (There aren’t any power outlets anywhere so it’s a bit of a pain keeping the computer on).
So far the Convention has been pretty boring; there were some arguments about adopting the rules and some of the other normal conflicts. The Chairman of the meeting initially was a decent enough. (The lady Chairman was not bad but not great, and a little more hackish) A good chairman should avoid side conversations and there were a lot of them, but otherwise it looked like, when adopting the rules, the Chairman was being as fair as possible.
For me, the goal of running a meeting should be to allow full discussion (to protect the rights of the minority) and move the agenda when issues have been voted on and decided (protecting the rights of the majority). This was clearly the case.
There were some discussions involving the constitution committee report (snore) and a BPOU chairman was protecting his right to be incompetent (from what I could tell). Lots of discussion, not a lot of action.
[Things picked up after lunch]
-I didn’t think I’d be voting for any Ron Paul people to be delegate, but after going through the candidates one by one it looks like about a third of my national delegate votes and half of my alternate votes will end up being Ron Paul supporters.
-There are two different factions, the establishment faction called “Minnesota Conservative Delegate Team” and among the notable people on this list are Norm Coleman and Tim Pawlenty. The other faction, from what I can tell, is called “The Conservative Conscience Coalition” and these are partly Ron Paul supporters.
-The Conscience Coalition has Patty Anderson, the former State Auditor, and she appears on both lists. Another Conscience Coalition member is Barb Davis White.
-There are actually some people walking up and down the aisles with cards that say either “Yes” or “No” and presumably these people are representing the “establishment” (and I don’t mean to deride the establishment, it’s just a convenient handle. I’m sure it’s more nuanced than that).
-I was having a side conversation during the reading of the credentials committee (snore) and I got shushed. Hey, keep score when you’re watching a baseball game, the credentials committee report is the best time to catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while.
-I have yet to receive a business card from a CR, not sure what I will do if it happens but I’ve been trying to think up something funny.
-They’re taking away illegal literature? Huh? (All lit pieces need addresses as per FEC rules)
-Saw King Banaian, good to see him out and about. He’s a little pale though.
-Talked to King about the people walking up and down the aisles with Yes/No placards, he says it’s quite common. I’ve never seen it before, normally I just see frustrated BPOU chairs trying to urge their delegations to vote a certain way. I called another friend of mine (codename “stumpy”) and he said the same thing. I’ve only been to a couple of large conventions, and even then I’m normally skipping most of the voting. (I spend a lot of time off convention floors as I’m generally uninterested in the minutia that goes on, which is probably the big reason I have never seen those Yes/No sign guys at other conventions)
-I like the fact people were taking notes during the speeches of the National Delegate candidate’s speeches. It at least shows people were putting some thought into how they voted.
-Really, this convention was a waste of time. No endorsement battle, no leadership battles. Just some contention regarding the national delegates. Whooo…
-On that contention, I will say I think the process was unfair this year. Ron Paul people were kept off the ballot, there were no nominations from the floor allowed, people were forced to vote for a certain number of people and there was some behind the scenes stuff I didn’t see. It is this attempt to silence dissent which upset me.
My Ballot for National Delegates: (after the jump)
Barb Davis White
(I was mistaken, we were set to elect 14 people, not 17, and many of these people were not even allowed on the ballot)
-Unfortunately, a great portion of the Ron Paul people were not allowed to speak nor were they on the ballot. The rules state you have to vote for the full number of delegates. I hate such rules as they force you to vote (sometimes) for people whom you don’t like or else your ballot can be invalidated.
Here was my actual Delegate Ballot:
Patty Anderson (Former Auditor)
Barb Davis White
MariAnne Stebbing (Ron Paul campaign person)
Here is my alternate list:
Charlie Strickland (Marine and longtime conservative, wore some sort of rock band T-shirt)
(I voted up from the bottom with the exception of those who weren’t “pre-approved”)
-So I split my vote again. Some disingenuous party hacks, some authentic McCain fans and some of the disestablishment.
-As for why I voted for candidates who would vote against my guy (McCain) there are several reasons, not all of them good. I am, at heart, anti-establishment and anti-cronyism. This convention, like all conventions, was a top down affair that pitted an entrenched group of leaders against a newly elected delegation trying to start an insurrection. It happens all the time. Normally I’m enough of a kool-aid drinker to fall for this sort of thing. New leadership is better than stale leadership.
Second, the state of Minnesota went to a candidate no longer in the race. Mitt Romney is now out of the race. McCain is not relying on Minnesota to get the nomination as he won it without it. What happens here is basically inconsequential.
Were I in a caucus state that McCain “won” I would fight tooth and nail to make sure the whole caucus process went his way.
Really, (third) I like an entertaining convention more than a dull one, so voting for the Ron Paul people’s motions added to the net “fun” value.
(Hey, I said a few of these weren’t good reasons)
Fourthly, I feel better (that’s right, I feel things sometimes) voting for a Ron Paul supporter than some hack whose loyalties are left to the prevailing political winds.
The Ron Paul people were organized, committed and persistent. Something the Republican Party needs.
Fifth, I think the general public needs to see it is okay to be anti-war and Republican, this can only help us in the fall. Sure, McCain is pro-war but he was able to gain the support of an anti-war conservative, Bill Buckley (before he died). I hope this happens more.
Sixth, there weren’t a lot of people who supported McCain from the very beginning. (In fact, this is my primary criteria, I wanted to vote for people who admitted to being McCain people long before McCain was the clear frontrunner.) I did also vote for Michael Brodkorb because I know he voted “uncommitted” rather than attach himself to a campaign.
Seventh, the actions of the MNGOP were unfair to the body at large. Voting for those “un-MNGOP-endorsed” candidates acts as my protest against what I see as unjust actions on the part of the MNGOP higher-ups. (And I’m a Ron Carey fan, I supported him over Eibensteiner [sp?]).
And eighthly, Ron Paul, other than on the war, represents my political views more closely than anyone else in the race.
-The Chairman didn’t allow a “no” vote on Coleman (on a voice vote it’s his discretion). This allowed KTLK and I’m sure other news organizations to say Coleman got a “unanimous” voice vote but several dozen people voiced their displeasure throughout Coleman’s speech.
I’m a Coleman supporter anyway so I can’t say I care much.
(Boot-Licking Poly-Sci Establishment Wannabes, sure were a lot of them out at the convention).
Norm Coleman Speech:
-Everytime I hear Norm Coleman, I have a hard time believing his accent is real, though I know it is.
-Greatest threat is “cynical voices of defeatism”
-He made fun of the Obama “cling to their guns” comment, not the first time I’ve heard it from Coleman.
-Coleman pushes his 2nd amendment credentials (and he should) [and his pro-life record] It’s easy for Coleman to be pro-life and pro gun as this is a pioneer state and many Democrats here are pro-life and pro-gun. It’s one of the few redeeming qualities of the Minnesota political climate.
-“John McCain is a genuine American Here”
-Wants to get of control spending (apparently endorsing McCain’s anti-earmark pledge)
-“America needs John McCain”
-He recognized the military and veterans, called for a moment of silence.
-“God has blessed America as the home of the free because we are the home of the brave”
-He bragged about his time as mayor “never raised taxes” and “brought hockey back”
-“I love this job, being Senator”
(I tire of the “I met some people the other day and they said”-regular-folks routine, but all politicians do it. Norm does it a lot though.)
-Something about minnows (yeah, minnows, Canada is involved)
-Boy he has a lot of anecdotes.
-The Book of Job talks about “The Golden Age” –Coleman uses this to segway into an anti-debt and environmental part of the speech.
-He warns about student debt problems (Okay, maybe students need to take future student loan debt into account before going to college).
-Talks about fiscal discipline and how the GOP has lost its way. Mentioned that Republicans lowered taxes and increased spending.
-Talked about Iraq, how things are improving.
-“General Petreaus should have been Time’s Man of the Year last year.”
(This speech is a variation of the one I heard at the 7th District Convention.
-All life should be protected from conception to natural death, support of traditional marriage because it “all about the kids”; need a strong national defense; our best days are not behind us, the Democrats change is not for the better.
-“There talk of change might be (something something) but [paraphrased] they (the Democrats) just want to raise your taxes.
-Gov’t healthcare is bad, (Paraphrase)
-“You don’t control the bully by inviting him to lunch” (a comment directed at Democrat diplomacy)
-“We must grow jobs by cutting taxes” (he’s getting repititve now)
-“The tax cuts must remain permanent” (good luck)
-“We must cut wasteful Washington spending”
-“We must end our addiction to foreign oil” (big applause)
-Paraphrase: need to stop the environmental extremists who are preventing nuclear power.
-I think he just said we need offshore drilling? What about ANWR?
-“We need more nuclear power, NOW” (Paraphrase)
(These are coming really fast, having a hard time keeping up)
-Wants to make progress on healthcare but without socializing healthcare (paraphrase)
-“We must win the global economic competition” –he’s not ready to lose to Chine (Good luck on that)
-We must protect the environment, it is our heritage (paraphrase)
-“We must secure our borders” (I’ve heard this before)
-“Peace through strength” –no permission slips from the UN
-Israel=our cherished ally
-Iran must never get nuclear weapons.
(Coleman looks feisty, ready for a fight)
As it is, I’m sitting at a Panera Bread because I couldn’t get to my hotel room. (And I’m not all that certain I know where this Panera Bread is, I got here in a thunderstorm) I’ll try to get some more reactions up soon.