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Author Topic: An Inside View from the RNC  (Read 3780 times)
muon2
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« on: August 30, 2008, 10:40:08 am »
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I'm leaving today for Minnesota to participate at the RNC. I'll use this thread to give my insight on the view from the floor. Hopefully, I'll encounter a number of interesting people and events. Feel free to post questions, and if I come across an answer, you'll get it.

My thanks to those of you offered advice as to the location of this thread. I bucked the majority of votes and went with the child board. Xahar noted the infrequency of use here, and I noticed how rapidly threads moved off the front page on the parent board. Since I may post from my mobile device, I'd rather have a thread location that's easier to find.
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2008, 11:38:35 am »
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I'm leaving today for Minnesota to participate at the RNC. I'll use this thread to give my insight on the view from the floor. Hopefully, I'll encounter a number of interesting people and events. Feel free to post questions, and if I come across an answer, you'll get it.

My thanks to those of you offered advice as to the location of this thread. I bucked the majority of votes and went with the child board. Xahar noted the infrequency of use here, and I noticed how rapidly threads moved off the front page on the parent board. Since I may post from my mobile device, I'd rather have a thread location that's easier to find.

Thanks Muon.  I hope you have safe travels and a wonderful experience.  While I am hoping you guys lose big, I know a great RNC and a strong R ticket is in the best interest of our country.  So best of luck to you and all my Republican friends.

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muon2
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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2008, 11:25:18 pm »
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I'm in MN now, but on my way I made a side trip to Ripon, WI. It seemed appropriate to get in the spirit of the convention by visiting the birthplace of the party. There's a little one room schoolhouse there operated as a museum by the local chamber of commerce.



The sign next to building reads as follows:
Quote
In 1852 Alvan Earle Bolvay of Ripon met with Horace Greeley in New York and advocated dissolution of the Whig Party and formation of a new party to fuse together anti-slavery elements. At the same time he suggested the name "Republican" because he felt "it was a good name ..... with charm and prestige."

The opportunity to act came in January 1854 when Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, which permitted the extension of slavery beyond the limits of the earlier Missouri Compromise. Three months' debate on the bill created upheavals in all the existing political parties.

When the bill passed the Senate on March 3, 1854, Bovay promptly called a meeting of 55 voters in the little white schoolhouse to organize a new party. Years later Bovay recalled: "We went into the little meeting, Whigs, Free Soilers, Democrats. We came out Republicans, and we were the first Republicans in the Union."

On February 22, 1856, a convention was held at Pittsburgh to establish a national organization and the name "Republican" was adopted for the new party. Among those present were Horace Greeley and Abraham Lincoln.
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2008, 11:28:29 pm »
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Thanks, it will be interesting to hear the reports.
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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2008, 08:43:32 am »
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Tell us when you run into BRTD at Rick's Cabaret, okay? Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2008, 03:41:07 pm »
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I've checked into my hotel in Mpls. I'm not in St. Paul since there are far more rooms in the larger of the Twin Cities, and many large states will be on this side of the river as well. Most of the IL contingent will be here and I ran into a number of IL legislators as well as Ron Gidwitz, who ran for Gov in 2006.

For me it's fascinating to be in a part of the city with fancy hotels that was a slummy drug area when I lived in the Twin Cities 30 years ago. A couple of legislators who arrived yesterday said that not far away there were still some remnants of the seedy past of the area.

Needless to say the buzz is about scheduling. I, along with many others, just watched cable news cover the immediate changes to tomorrow's schedule. My location is convenient to the Mpls convention center where a welcome reception is scheduled in a couple of hours.
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« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2008, 07:08:10 pm »
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Most of the IL contingent will be here and I ran into a number of IL legislators as well as Ron Gidwitz, who ran for Gov in 2006.

Ron Gidwitz serves good asparagus and gives good handshakes to Northeasterners.  Say hi to him for me.
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« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2008, 08:16:15 pm »
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Most of the IL contingent will be here and I ran into a number of IL legislators as well as Ron Gidwitz, who ran for Gov in 2006.

Ron Gidwitz serves good asparagus and gives good handshakes to Northeasterners.  Say hi to him for me.

As I can attest to!
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muon2
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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2008, 09:46:26 am »
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We just had our morning breakfast and briefing. The effect of Gustav on the RNC was apparent from the start. The IL delegation normally would have had a couple of political speeches along with breakfast, but instead there was only a a rundown of the revised schedule for today from State GOP Chair McKenna and State McCain Chair Durkin. We will have to wait each morning to find out revisions for the remaining days.

The convention program has been reduced to a business only meeting from 2:30 to 5:00. We anticipate voting to accept the various committee reports, but noting else is scheduled. The IL delegation had a party scheduled at the Guthrie after the speeches, but that has been moved up to the evening and turned into a fundraiser forRebuilding Together, a nonprofit the rehabs low income homes in areas including NO and the Gulf.

There are other private parties that I have invites to, but I haven't been able to find out how those schedules will be affected.
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« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2008, 02:01:29 pm »
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The bus ride from the hotel to the Xcel center was uneventful, and though there were a number of officers I saw no protesters along the way. Foxnews had its big tent right along the walkway from the bus to the checkpoint.

Security at Xcel is clearly present, and credentials were scanned on the way in. The IL delegation is seated way back on the right side facing the podium. We're right in front of the NBC booth.
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« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2008, 04:38:18 pm »
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During the recent recess for the standing committees I walked across the aisle to talk to some Californians including Bill Jones. They were right in front of the Fox News floor booth, and a crowd forrmed as we watched the interview with Mitt Romney.

The camera caught a bit of me as well. My daughter called to tell me that my head appeared behind Megyn at her report at the top of this hour.
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« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2008, 06:22:12 pm »
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I'm so excited for you! I hope you enjoy every minute.

Stay safe.

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« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2008, 06:31:47 pm »
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Will everything at the RNC be back to normal tommorrow now that Gustav is basically over?
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muon2
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« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2008, 10:27:45 am »
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I does look like the program is mostly returning to normal here. The convention ended at 5 pm and most late evening events were pushed up to the early evening. One I attended had its focus changed to include fund raising for hurricane relief. That theme will continue through the week as different delegations have been asked to volunteer to pack supplies to head to the gulf. That will take place during the day before the evening program gets underway.

We also returned to a full breakfast program of speeches this morning. We started locally with Mark Kirk, who I had a chance to chat with yesterday. Then we moved to a couple of Vietnam vets including Bud Day who shared time in the POW camp with McCain. The speeches wrapped up with three national figures: Marsha Blackburn, Michael Steele, and Josh Bolton.
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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2008, 10:32:59 am »
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Wow.  Thanks for the updates --- really interesting stuff.
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muon2
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« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2008, 10:12:39 am »
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Sorry for the break in reporting, but I had some network problems yesterday. Here's a summary of convention day 2.

The convention includes many who are not in the hall for all the speeches, and I decided that yesterday's schedule made it a good day to investigate some of the other GOP action. My plan was to attend the beginning of the session at the Xcel center, then leave midway to see some of the parallel functions.

The shuttle buses from the hotels to the Xcel only run before and after the session, so I drove my car from Mpls to St. Paul. The area around the Xcel is cordoned off for about 2 or three blocks in all directions, but there were some lots outside the perimeter I could use. There were some anti-Guantanamo flyers handed out as a waked from the lot towards the fence, but it was very subdued, and without the violence I saw televised later in the evening.

The outer perimeter security fence requires just a scan of my credentials to pass. The big media setups are in that area - CNN, Fox News, etc. and with the right credential cards you can get in; that didn't include me. Sad The second security fence had airport style metal detectors and xray scanners as well as another swipe of my credentials.

Inside the floor was much livelier than Monday with live jazz playing on stage. There were also more national party notables roaming the floor, as well as a clear press presence. Another buzz in our delegation was about the volunteer efforts. I was talking to two delegates who went to help put together packages. While they were there Laura Bush, Cindy McCain and a lot of the McCain family came by and joined in.

I left after about an hour to go to a private dinner at a Mpls chop house. There are quite a few of these put on by various guests at the convention for other guests and politicians. There was a big screen to watch the speeches, but the conversation was more interesting. One learns a lot about who really pulled the strings on deals of the past and present at a dinner like this. In this group, clearly Thompson had the best speech, since it was the only one where a significant number of conversations abated to continue listening. We had CNN on, and I was surprised at their camera angles that showed the teleprompter text clearly by the speaker's head when they used their angle shots.

After dinner I left with another delegate who had credentials to Haley Barbour's party at the Epic nightclub. Clearly the Gov wasn't there, but the place was rocking. There was a good Blues Brothers imitation band on stage and places in the club and on the deck where you could talk as well.
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« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2008, 10:25:57 am »
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I only the walls had ears.  Smiley  Sounds like you had a great evening.  As far as the teleprompter shot, both CNN and FOX had that angle (over his left shoulder).  I'm not sure if that was actually one of the convention cameras and they were just pulling in feed from it.  Glad to hear you weren't around any of the confrontations with the protesters!
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« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2008, 05:19:15 pm »
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It sounds like your convention has more security than did the Dems'.  Often my credential was not even scanned once, let alone twice.
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« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2008, 06:58:25 pm »
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I arrived early at the Xcel to get a better feel of the views and press areas. One interesting person I saw was Ron Paul being interviewed on camera.

On the floor there is some chatter about whether Rep Paul will come onto the floor and what reaction will take place. some think that there may be some antics from the delegates and alternates here to support him.
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« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2008, 10:24:56 pm »
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I arrived early at the Xcel to get a better feel of the views and press areas. One interesting person I saw was Ron Paul being interviewed on camera.

On the floor there is some chatter about whether Rep Paul will come onto the floor and what reaction will take place. some think that there may be some antics from the delegates and alternates here to support him.


He is a strange little man, but McCain would do well to pull him in and make him a part of the campaign somehow.
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« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2008, 04:12:41 am »
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It's late so let's take this in two posts.

The speeches were well orchestrated from the house perspective. From 6 to 8 CDT were short speeches that reiterated the small business - entrepreneur theme. There was far more buzz when a political celeb went by. For instance Bob Dole walked by towards the KS delegation at one point. he drew a large crowd and cameras and most people ended on their feet to catch a glimpse. Another big moment was when Hannity showed up in the floor booth nearby for his show. His best bit was to take cell phones from the crowd that were dialed to friends and relatives far away and say a few words to them. One speech that did get favorable notice from the crowd was the one by Michael Williams.

I did get to meet a personal inspiration for the first time. David Broder has long been one of my favorite columnists, and when I read one of his books in HS it kindled my interest in politics. I met him by the WaPo booth and had a chance to speak for a few minutes.

After 8 CDT the speeches got longer and drew more attention. Huckabee clearly won the crowd compared to Romney. Lingle was supposed to be on after 9 CDT and the musical break, but she got shifted ahead, and the musicians were pushed late. That set the stage for longer speeches in the 9 CDT hour.

Giuliani was a dynamite setup to the crowd at the Xcel. No one cared or noticed that it was nearly a half hour long. This was by far the highest energy level I saw yet on the floor. That energy spilled straight to Palin's speech. The crowd wanted success, but there was some uncertainty with the people I talked to. The speech removed all uncertainty. I felt that it started slow for the first five minutes, but she got into a groove that she maintained the rest of the way. She hit the points the convention wanted to hear so well that the applause ran much longer than expected. After a few minutes the operatives quite trying to shorten the frequent spontaneous applause. No one cared that she pushed well past the 10 pm nominal cutoff.

After the speech the press was all over each local delegation to get quick reactions. Most that I heard were glowing and not at all forced. She scored big on the floor with that speech, but also I noticed a number of delegates getting texts from families and friends that were raving as well. This further lifted the convention's spirit. All this while the muscians were finally performing.

At last the roll call of the states was held. There was still some lingering suspicion of the Paul people, but it never materialized. The session finally ended at about 11:30.
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muon2
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« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2008, 04:20:09 am »
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The bus ride for once after the convention was eventful. We got slowed down as we were into the Mpls downtown and I was up front enough to hear the officer on board. The Target Center had booked a Rage Against the Machine concert that was just letting out. The pumped up concert goers were getting into trouble with returning delegates, and the police were deployed. We heard that the area was being gassed, so the bussed took us to another hotel about 3 blocks away. The instructions were to wait 30 minutes before trying to go towards hotels near the Target Center.

I wasn't going to a hotel so I found a cab to a warehouse converted into a party. It was Boehner's event and he was there along with a lot of the DC staff crowd. That made it a younger and later event. When I arrived at 12:15 it was pretty slow but by two the place was packed. My cab back to the hotel went right by the Target Center, but by then there was no sign of the earlier incidents.
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« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2008, 06:21:49 am »
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Thanks, muon.  This is fascinating.
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« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2008, 05:48:19 pm »
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Thank you for visiting our state.  Now go away.  Smiley

Not directed at you personally, I'm just really looking forward to this convention being over, and life in the Cities returning to normal.
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« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2008, 07:09:14 pm »
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So, how did the Ron Paul delegates vote?
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