Friday, June 13, 2008

2008 Texas Republican Convention-Day 1

I just got home from day one of the 2008 Texas Republican Convention. As I stated in a previous post, I was able to obtain a "guest" credential for the convention from someone very dear to my heart. I have free access to the convention center, hotel, convention floor and all other meetings.

I arrived today and when directly to pick up the credential. There was not a problem. My fiend had already picked it up and as a result, I was ready to go.

As I walked from the Hilton Hotel to the George R. Brown Convention Center, I passed the Protest Area. It was a fenced off area and two or three people where holding signs up. I did not bother to read what they said, but I am sure they (and others) will be out there tomorrow. Convention organizers told me that all the big stuff would happen tomorrow (Friday).

As I got into the convention center, not much was going on. On the convention floor, they were discussing (rather heatedly) the rules of the convention. It seems some for Ron Paul’s supporters were questioning how delegates and alternates would be seated. I am not sure what the deal was as there was a large amount of shouting, booing and people making points of order. I guess they must get this out of the way before the action starts tomorrow.

After that, I went over to the trade show and looked at the booths. Most of the candidates for state and national office had booths set up, passing out their literature and handing out campaign stickers. I do miss the days of free campaign buttons. Stickers just do not do the job.

Governor Rick "Zoolander" Perry was set up in a booth (actually a quite large area) with free popcorn, stickers, literature and a video of what he ahs done. He was also signing his book about the Boy Scouts and was sitting at a table autographing it and posing for photos. His "protects" was close by and I assume they were plain clothes Texas Rangers. I pick them out of all the people around the booth, as they were the largest and bulkiest men in the area. These people were not anyone I would want to mess with.

I circulated the room a couple of times, picking up whatever free stuff I could get my hands on. It is nice to see that some people are handing out good, free stuff. Kay Bailey Hutchinson was giving out t-shirts and nice grocery bags. Local energy companies, TXU and Oncor were giving out the new compact fluorescent bulbs. I snagged three and will go back for more tomorrow. I might as well load up as long as they are free.

I also picked up coffee mugs, shirts, pens, pencils, and fingernail file boards while signing every mailing list I could.

People were standing around handing out flyers of every kind and I accepted them with the intension of reading them later.

When I got a few minutes, I sat down and read them. They were mostly the same old political stuff; nothing much that I was interested in. What I did take notice of where the flyers inviting those attending the convention to receptions and mixers.

After more wondering around, sitting and listening to the rhetoric on the convention floor and generally absorbing all that I could, the time came for the first reception.

I first attended a reception by the Log Cabin Republicans. This group is the national gay and lesbian Republican grassroots organization. I knew that going in and really did not care. They had free pizza, beer and soft drinks. I was there about 10 minutes after they opened. I ate a bit, drank a few Diet Cokes and engaged in conversation with a few people sitting around the couch. The room was a small suite and I estimate about thirty people standing around. After about 45 minutes, I got up to leave, as I had another reception I wanted to attend. As I walked out the door, there was a line down the hall. I would estimate about 100-150 people waiting to get into the suite.

I guess the delegates had a hankering for the free pizza, but I wonder if they knew who and what the Log Cabin Republicans were about.

Elizabeth Ames Jones hosted the next reception. She is running for Texas Railroad Commissioner. The suite was a bit smaller than the Log Cabin Republicans, but her suite had a different draw. It was a desert mixer. Cake, brownies, and various other pastries filled the room. I got a few brownies and found a seat on a couch. The room started to fill up and I was glad I was staying ahead of the crowds.

I engaged in more conversation with some other people. It sure was nice to talk to people who are as up on current events as I am and did not mind having intelligent conversation with others. We did not agree on everything we discussed, but the banter was polite, humorous, and enlightening.

After about another thirty minutes, I left and headed down to the Ron paul Ice Cream Social. I had heard that he was going to dissolve his campaign for President and form a new group to remain politically active.

I and the companions I had picked up along the way (at the various receptions) waited outside the ballroom for about thirty minutes. The lobby was filling up fast and I knew this reception would be a hot ticket. At precisely 9:00 pm, the doors opened and people rushed for seats. I was lucky enough to snag a table and chairs for my two companions and myself. One person watched the table as two of us went for ice cream.

One thing I can say for Ron Paul supporters is that they are very passionate about their support for Dr. Paul. They were chanting their support for Dr. Paul in the lobby before the event and inside the ballroom, they were holding up signs showing their support for his Presidential bid. At 9:30, Dr. Paul had not made an appearance and facing 30-minute drive back to where I was spending the night, I decided it was getting late and left.

I found out later that he indeed had suspended his campaign and even had a video of the event posted on YouTube. I will have to look for it later.

Friday is supposed to be the big day. On the agenda is newt Gingrich, Kay Bailey Hutchinson (Texas Senator), Mike Huckabee, and Jerry Patterson (Texas Land Commissioner).

Various State Senators and State and National Representatives will host receptions and mixers along with evening events with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, Senator John Cornyn, and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. In addition, the Republican party of Texas Convention Banquet will be at 7:00pm with special guest Mitt Romney.

I do not have a ticket to the banquet but someone very close to my heart does. I will give you their report tomorrow.

I had a great day at the convention. I know it will be better tomorrow. I will try to get involved in what is going on in the political arena as much as my guest badge will allow me.

"Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15." - Ronald Reagan

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