Monday, September 08, 2008
Republican National Convention - Day 5 (Part Two)
I spent much of the early parts of the Wednesday session roaming the Xcel Center. I was able to speak with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, actor Jon Voight (whom we saw every day of the RNC), former Senator Bob Dole, Tennessee Republican Party Communications Director Bill Hobbs, The Daily Show's Jason Jones, and several members of the Pajamas Media crew. When I finally took my seat in Tennessee's alternate section (which provided a better, more comfortable view of the events than Tennessee's seating on the convention floor), what drew my attention were the superstars of the Republican Party working the floor, shaking hands, posing for photos, and giving interviews. Mitt Romney (somewhere in the crush of people above), Mike Huckabee, and Michael Steele were all seen repeatedly during the convention, sometimes spending hours at a time accommodating requests of the delegations and media.
Conventional wisdom stated that both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee were unofficially launching their 2012 presidential bids with their speeches without showing any pessimism towards John McCain's chances in 2008. If that was the idea, then neither really delivered, as their speeches were pretty flat and unassuming. I've seen both men much better on the stump (especially Mitt), but Huckabee was probably a bit better than Mitt on this night. Neither man was up to the standard later set by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (pictured above). Rudy brought the heavy artillery out against Barrack Obama. Much like Fred Thompson the night before, you had to wonder where these great, inspiring, vigorous speeches were when these men ran for President beginning last year.
Even with Giuliani's outstanding performance, he was merely setting the stage for the moment of the convention, when Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin took the stage to speak to the nation for the first time. Even those of us familiar with her ideology and background had to have been a little nervous as Palin came though the door. Electricity was certainly needed in the arena, as the Governor of Hawaii had run long, erasing all energy from the Xcel Center with her neverending monotone introduction of Sarah Palin. That bumped the video introduction of Palin (which was played the following day and was quite good), which was unfortunate. But even the boring Governor of Hawaii and immediate teleprompter problems didn't phase Palin or prevent her from making an address that has to qualify as historic.
After Sarah Palin's incredible address, country superstars (and our fellow roomies at the Ramada Mall of America) John Rich, Cowboy Troy, and Gretchen Wilson took the stage and sung a touching version of the Star Spangled Banner intermixed with the Pledge of Allegiance. John Rich then fired up the crowd by performing his acclaimed anthem for the McCain campaign, "Raising McCain."
The roll call vote followed, with a round of most states passing so that Senator McCain's home state of Arizona could have the honor of putting him over the top. The vote wasn't nearly as interesting as I thought it would be. It was probably wrong of the RNC not to allow for the Ron Paul delegates to have their votes for Dr. Paul recorded in the record. Several states, including Sarah Palin's home state of Alaska, cast some of their votes for Dr. Paul, although the numbers were quite paltry and were more of a symbolic gesture. Also of interest to me was Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey's auction-style announcement of Tennessee's votes. We had talked Ron into doing so, although it might have been our hubris that caused Ron to cast our votes for "George S. McCain." That being the case, most people didn't even notice because Ron said it so fast.
There was another major party that night put on by ONE, a bipartisan group. Angela and I were simply too tired to attend and instead went back to the hotel to hang out with the members of the MuzikMafia.
My roommate is going to be the new LI CLP Field Rep. for Tennessee, and I spoke to several others from your state as well, especially about the two great U.S. Congressmen from your state, Zach Wamp and John Duncan, Jr.
Both of them are potential gubernatorial candidates for your state - though we need traditionalist, pro-liberty, constitutionalist conservatives like them in Congress!
I see that I am not the only person who has had to post-"live"-blog the Convention... ;-)
From the Google Blog search I just did (that's also how I found your weblog, and came over here), I saw the phrase "RNC Rewind" - I thought to myself that I'll use that phrase when (and if!) I get around, to posting recaps. (Though it's unfortunate that that seems to be a liberal blog!)
I was glad to have interacted with your state's residents, while at the Convention (as well as those from Georgia and Illinois, and elsehwere). Despite the problems that arose, it was a good experience... Though I wish I could have made some more of it.
(But then, that's always going to be the case...)