Thursday, June 12, 2008

Greetings from the floor of the State Republican Convention

10:41AM Thursday:
Well, ok, actually the food court area. Finding a wireless connection has been interesting. In a bit I'm going to wander down and find a seat in my SD area. Interesting mix of exhibitors in the trade show area, including a blogger's row. I haven't joined them there (I may later when my battery gets low) mainly because it is out in front of God and everybody and nowhere NEAR the convention floor. I don't like people reading over my shoulder when I type, I'm funny that way, go figure. One of my first actions upon arriving was to join the Texas State Rifle Association (been wanting to for some time and never got around to it. Now I'll get a discount on my NRA membership too).

I'm signing off for the time being, the battery is getting a little low. I'll update goings on as time, battery, and wireless connectivity permit.

Update 10:04PM Thursday
It has been a long day. I got very little chance to fire up the laptop, and when I did there was no wireless connectivity. Well, that is not entirely true, I coulda paid for it, but I'm too damned cheap. But even then the battery was damned near flat and I barely had enough power to get the machine shut back down again properly. So I will attempt to recount the highlights (and low lights) of today's goings on.

Rick Perry was heckled by a number of people (myself included, I think he heard me best because I was close to the front. heh =D) and got much less applause than I think he expected. (I have no idea why he would have thought he was going in front of a friendly crowd. Just stupid I guess. I mean he got a grand total of 39% of the vote for crying out loud, that was not exactly a mandate from the voters now was it?). He said a lot of bullcrap about protecting the border and cutting taxes and reducing spending that not a single person in the room believed. I think that had it not been for everyone's sense of decorum someone would have rushed the stage and punched him in the nose. He won no points with this crowd. He talked up a sum of $110 million he supposedly spent on border security, including 4 new DPS helicopters, but I'd bet they have never been any further south than McAllen, and never any further west than Fredricksburg, if they even exist at all. None of the border sheriffs I am aware of have seen any of that money.
He was followed by Susan Combs, who got some decent applause, but suffered from both following Perry, as well as being the messenger bearing bad news in the form of being in charge of collecting the margins tax, and being the heavy in that she could not give another extension to October because the money is already spent. Her reception was a mixed bag at best. Probably not as good as she really deserved to be honest with you.

After Susan Combs came one of the brightest rising stars in Texas Republican Politics; Michael Williams. This man was on. freaking. fire. And I don't mean Michael Jackson in the Pepsi commercial on fire. He gave one of the best, one of the most animated, most passionate speeches of any elected official there today, and probably in the top two of the whole week (I have high hopes for Gingrich tomorrow). This man will go far in Texas (national?)Politics. After his speech, I was ready to tell McCain to go screw himself and put Williams up in his place. This man would tear both of Obama's arms off and beat him about the head and shoulders with them. Yes, he is that damned good. He is currently serving his second term as railroad commissioner and running for a third term, and even though he is a lawyer, this man knows his shit about energy policy issues. We could do a heluva lot worse than Michael Williams in whatever office he eventually decides to move on to in the future. The man exudes competence and passion.

After Williams came Greg Abbott, and his response was pretty good. I think he was riding Williams coattails a bit but even so, he gave a pretty good speech. he did make one flub. in trying to say "here on the gulf coast" he instead said "here on the golf course". Given the man has no use of his legs, I find it hard to believe he spends a lot of time on the golf course. I have no idea where that Freudian slip came from.

After Abbot came David Dewhurst, who's reception was a good bit less cordial than Perry's was. At one point he was booed so loudly it put him off balance. The came Tom Craddick who got only a little better reception than Dewhurst did.

Then came the blood.

Tina Benkiser and Robin Armstrong have both drawn opponents for State party Chair and Vice Chair. Both challengers, Paul Perry from Ellis County and Ms. Medina the party chair from Wharton County are from the Ron Paul camp, but despite that minor personality flaw they both are hell for passionate about party platform and party rules. They have a point. Ms. Benkiser has a real habit of squelching any debate or lack of orthodoxy from those who fail to agree with her. Now to be honest, I don't know if Mr. Armstrong is in cahoots with her on this or if he is more or less an innocent bystander, but Ms. Medina is nothing if not passionate about the issues. In fact, she damned near cried on the podium she was so worked up during her speech. This of course arises from the drubbing that the Paulestinians got when they tried to hijack the SD conventions. The drubbing was a bit harsh, but the attempt to take control of the convention process by the Paulestinians was uncalled for too. I think there is blame enough for all. Later, during the credentials committee reports, Benkiser's nastiness came out, and frankly, it felt a bit fascist in her dismissal of the points of information where the delegates were demanding details of the credentials challenges before they would vote on the acceptance of the committee recommendations. We were being asked to vote on a pig in a poke each time. That is unfair and unrealistic. But one upshot of the Medina lawsuit was that Benkiser immediately moved to follow election law and party rules and brought the convention to order and started treating it as a proper convention instead of a dog and pony show right up to the end. I'm not a big fan of Benkiser, nor Ron Paul, but Paul Perry and Ms Medina certainly seem to have their heart in the right place. I gotta give them credit for that.

After that we broke (two hours late) for our SD Caucuses. Can you say boring to tears? Most of the current standing committee members held onto their jobs. Surprise!

I am dead on my feet now and tomorrow will be another long day. Buenos Noches.


Blogger Cory said...

Has anyone streaked the convention floor yet with a lampshade on their head?

If so, I'm glad I'm not there.

Heck, for that matter I'm glad I'm not there anyway. Too many politicians talking way too much while saying way too little.

Oh, and Dan Patrick.

June 12, 2008 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barton & Benkiser (in that order) long ago transformed RPT from a real convention to a dog and pony show. There's so little point in even attending as a delegate these days.

June 14, 2008 2:08 AM  

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