RNC Wednesday August 29, 2012
I’ve tried very hard to stay away from the local newspapers and television reporting of the convention for fear it would taint my view. But I found lots of the other members of the media were glued to local and especially the national networks and the newspapers. I felt like talking to them and then in talking to delegates, it was like they attended different conventions. The buzz from the delegates still focused around Ann Romney and Chris Christie and how awesome they were. I guess being from Chicago, I should’ve known how cynical the media can be. There was that group locked into Fox News, and then the other group locked into CNN and MSNBC. Oh well!
However, I did do a lot of sniffing around regarding the unhappiness over the credentials report. It seems that not only were there delegates that were not seated because of rule changes, but much of the unrest was caused by the fact that several state and party rules precluded the fact that Ron Paul’s name could NOT be placed in nomination for president, and thus the convention would not recognize any delegate votes for Ron Paul. Now, I clearly understood why many delegates picked up the chant of repeating the vote count each time Ron Paul received votes. This also explained the only protesters that I saw during the past several days. They were outside the convention center and outside of our hotel with signs promoting the presidency of Ron Paul. His supporters are certainly loyal. It remains to be seen if they spoil Romney’s efforts to become President.
Back to the nights events. The theme of the evening was “We Can Change It”. It started out with the Amputee Veterans of America posting the colors. Surely a subtle approach to call attention to the fact that “those other guys” want to substantially reduce the military. A host of speakers and videos presented an economy and veterans based theme all targeting – “We Can Change It.”
Both the Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens double teamed together as they blasted Obama’s health-care law, much to the delight of the delegates. ” The President can’t bring himself to acknowledge publicly that the only reason his UNaffordable Care Act still stands, is because it is a tax “, Bondi said. Anticipation was building in the delegates as the former governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty spoke. ”It’s not unusual to fail at your first job”, he said as the crowd erupted.
For the first time ever I saw a standing ovation for a video. It featured both past Bush Presidents and their wives. It was very moving and certainly set the stage for the next two speakers, former Governor Mike Huckabee, and the former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. Huckabee, made the media feel welcome as he said “He now wallows in the mud of the media.” While Rice was interrupted nine times with staining ovations and numerous other rounds of applause and boisterous cheers broke out when she said ”American cannot lead from behind”. She was powerful, but Vice President Ryan was next and ready to close the show.
But before he took the stage the Governor of New Mexico, Susanna Martinez, the first female Hispanic Governor in America rocked the house. She told the story about being a young Democrat getting into politics and how she and her husband were approached by the Republican Party. “Don’t worry honey”, she said, “We will simply have a nice dinner, listened politely to what they have to say then get in the car and have a peacefully ride home”. She then told the delegates about some of the things that were talked about at dinner. Then the punch line came! On the ride home, she looked at her husband, and exclaimed, “I’ll be damned. We’re Republicans!” The delegates were in a frenzy now.
Enter Paul Ryan, U.S. Representative from Wisconsin and Republican nominee for Vice President of United States. “We will lead”, and that my friends will be the headline in most newspapers across our country. ”I embrace the calling of my generation”, he said in opening. “After four years of getting the runaround, America needs a turnaround”, Ryan said. His speech was part attack on the President, and part spirited testimonial to Romney. To the cheers of the delegates, he pledged “Republicans would save Medicare from looming bankruptcy”. A colleague of mine was counting the number of times he was interrupted (60) during his speech. I found it interesting, humorous, and captivating. “We will not duck the tough issues; we will lead,” he said. And he ended powerfully by saying “let’s get this done”!
And coming from Chicago, much like the Governor from New Mexico, I turned to my colleague and exclaimed, “I’ll be dammed. I’m a Republican too!”