I APOLOGIZE FOR MY ABSENCE FROM these pages these last few weeks. A lot of AFP work and preparing for the state GOP convention this past weekend in Vancouver has kept me busy. So much has happened, but I am flying out in seven hours, so I wanted to post a quick thought or two about Vancouver.
THE CONVENTION WAS an incredible experience in many ways. Michelle Malkin, a good friend of ours, gave the keynote Friday night at a dinner attended by hundreds of folks. She showed just how incredible she is, and I had the honor ( thank you Luke Esser ) of introducing her. Michelle means a lot to me, and my introduction almost brought both of us to tears. Mitt Romney gave a great speech on Saturday and the three Senate candidates did as well. Dino is gaining the passion he needs in his delivery, Paul Akers was very good and Clint Didier was, well, he was Clint, a guy I have come to love and adore. All three are great guys and each brings something different to the campaign. We are blessed as a party to have all three.
The energy and enthusiasm was incredible and as well a lot of new people attended, a good sign for the Party, it’s future and November. I hope the bickering and occasional confusion doesn’t drive them away.
I was honored by the body to be selected permanent chairman of the convention on Saturday and presided over the platform and resolutions debate. It was heated at times, I made my fair share of mistakes, but I had a great Parliamentarian who kept me straight and we adjourned on time. Ther continues to be a feeling that not emough time is allowed for debate on the issues and I agree. Some of it is due to senseless fights on rules and credentials that eats up valuable time and some of it is the way we do things. I have some thoughts on this, and I will be sending Chairman Esser and the powers-that-be a memo recommending some changes in the 2012 Convention process. Based on attending every state convention since the mid-1970’s, and chairing four of them, here are some of my ideas:
1.) The platform should be made available the night before for the delegates. I understand the time crunch, I have chaired a platform committee before too. The resolutions would not have to be included, they could come out Saturday morning, but the platform should be ready Friday late afternoon.
2.)The amendment process for the platform has to be changed. Right now, the first several people who get up to the microphones get their amendments to be moved and debated first. With a limited time for consideration, 20 minutes per plank/section this year, that doesn’t leave time for much debate. Often, the first folks at the mike have amendments that reflect personal issues or concerns that do not have much support beyond the maker, and time is taken from consideration of amendments that might reflect a more general sense of the need for change. Perhaps a requirement that all amendments be submitted by a certain time Saturday morning, signed by, say, 15 delegates from 3 counties? Somehow, assure that amendments reflect concerns beyond just one person get heard and debated.
3.)Limit candidate speeches. In non-Presidential years, I see no need for Congressional candidates to address the whole convention. In fact, they should be home campaigning. In Presdiential years, the body breaks down into Congressional District caucuses for purposes of selecting national convention delegates and speeches by the Congressional candidates seems proper here while votes are being counted, etc. Speeches by statewide candidates are appropriate at every convention, but omitting Congressional candidates this year would have saved us at least one hour.
4.)A Permanent set of convention rules, only changing if the convention so decides. If the rules were permanent from year-to-year, then at least some folks would have a sense of what has happened in the past and, if we had another convention 101 class ( which I think we should ), then we at least could explain to the newbies what the rules are unless changed by the body.
5.)There should be a Convention101 class at every convention. I think it helped for the new folks.
6.) Lastly, we need more communication between various factions and groups within the party. It might surprise some people how much in common we have and stop some of the senseless fights over the minor things that takes away time from platform debate. One of the nicest things that happened to me on Saturday was when a delegate, that I earlier had a fierce exchange with over his comment the ‘WE” were going to take over the party, that devolved into a shouting match over 9/11, the Kennedy assasination, the Iraq war and Pearl Harbor, this delegate brought a glass of water up to the podium for me, on his own, as he could tell that I could use one. A simple gesture, but a meaningful one, and one that was greatly appreciated.
There are some of my thoughts. Your comments, ideas and suggestions are welcome.
MEANWHILE, THE ECONOMY CONTINUES sliding down, Obama wants $50 billion more to save jobs, the BP blow out continues after nearly eight weeks ( if this was in ANWAR, it would have been capped within a week and there would not be hundreds of thousands of jobs at stake), Obama continues to pursue his anti-Israel foreign policy, and November can’t get here soon enough. But we will NOT win in November unless all of us devote our time, energy, effort and money to electing the right candidiates. Let’s do it to assure the American Dream for our kids and grandkids, lets do it so we can wake up on November 3rd and say ‘We Did It!’, let’s do it because it’s the right thing to do.
UNTIL NEXT TIME……