Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Republican National Convention: Day Three
Having some free time, Angela and I walked over to the Mall of America for a little shopping for little Leo back home and a bite to eat for lunch. Above is pictured some of the amusement park inside of the mall. We also ate at The Magic Pan Crepe Stand upon the recommendation of Sevier County attorney Jeff Stern, which turned out to be a good piece of advice.
It was then off to the Xcel Energy Center for an abbreviated first day of the Convention. Security was striking, as all cross streets and exits were blocked by a massive police effort that protected the delegate buses. Security also moved everyone who was supposed to be inside of the convention into the arena quickly and safely.
Angela and I hooked up with John Duncan, III, his lovely wife, Lindsey, and Susan Williams as we made our way around the convention. I remember how Tennessee Democrats complained about their floor placement last week at the Democratic National Convention. Tennessee Republicans have an equal right to complain, having probably the worst placement imaginable at the back of the arena. I suppose that it has everything to do with the McCain campaign not feeling that Tennessee needs to be placated due to McCain's 24-point lead in Tennessee, but I still feel that this is ridiculous. While not official, the RNC is a reward for many people. To shaft one of the only states that has proven that it can send Republicans to victory (in 2006, the ONLY state that elected a new Republican to the U.S. Senate) is asinine. And this isn't someone whining because my seats are bad (and, yes, they are), because I don't sit with the Tennessee delegation. Perhaps Lamar stole Mitch McConnell's pudding in the Senate cafeteria, because Kentucky is up front (as Convention Chair Mike Duncan assigned, I am sure) and Tennessee needs binoculars.
The abbreviated convention activities were boring but necessary. As someone who was observing only, it was five hours of my life I will never get back. I had heard from many former convention attendees that the first day was one with a high rate of absenteeism. I can see why.
Convention dress ranged from professional to comical. Some delegates thought themselves as human pincushions, covered head to toe with buttons from current and past conventions. One gentleman, above, dressed as Uncle Sam. Some states, like Florida and Texas, coordinated their dress as a group (Texas in denim and cowboy hats, Florida in tropical shirts). I will say this - no where did I see some of the evolutionary wonders that seemed to fill all of the television cameras last week in Denver.
We were kept fairly safe from the protesters that made national news by attacking police officers in the name of peace. In fact, some of the protesters that we saw were actually Ron Paul supporters, who also clashed with police (above). Some Ron Paul folks were soliciting delegates inside the RNC to attend the Ron Paul rally at the Target Center that occurs on Tuesday. The whole thing is a shame for Ron Paul. He's an intelligent man who has contributed much to the national discussion and given much to this country. His "fans" now who won't let the election results sink in are from the lowest common denominator of American politics. They knew that the Democrats wouldn't let them have a voice in their party and couldn't organize a third party that was viable, so they turned their attention to grabbing a foothold in the Republican Party. It is apparent that they are not Republican in their thoughts or beliefs.
The Tennessee delegation was set to attend an event at Medtronic, a company that started out of a man's garage and now employs over 40,000 people in Minnesota, Tennessee, Arizona, California, and Indiana. However, with the plea from Senator McCain to curtail activities due to Hurricane Gustav, the party's time was moved back - conflicting directly with the University of Tennessee's football game against UCLA. With Medtronic refusing to put a television within watching distance despite both California and Tennessee delegates being scheduled to attend, most of the Tennessee delegation instead chose the game. We took over the restaurant here at the Ramada Mall of America and painted it orange. Congressman Zach Wamp, Senator Frist, Ted Welch, Steve West, former Congressman Van Hilleary, and many others were in attendance to watch UT's new offensive coordinator, quarterback, starting running back, and old defensive coordinator show that they are going to make Vol fans suffer through a long and horrible football season that should spell the end of the Philip Fulmer era. (How can any UT fan expect anything better than a 6-6 season now? Oh, the disappointment...)
There was only limited discussion throughout the day on the Palin pregnancy issue. My feeling is that it is a limited issue that, if pressed hard by either the Democrats or the liberal media, will backfire with American women and potentially become a plus for the McCain/Palin ticket. (I will explain later.) The topic that is getting plenty of discussion is the Tennessee gubernatorial race in 2010. I will have more on that later, too, as many of the players (Wamp, Ramsey, Frist) are here in Minnesota.
Tuesday's docket is packed with meetings and events, so I should have an even longer, more interesting report for tomorrow.
Just kidding man.