A Look Back, A Leap Forward
It was an honor to be a delegate to the recent Republican National Convention. Even more an honor to be selected by the Maryland Delegation to serve on the RNC Platform Committee.
Add to that – my last minute call to be a proxy member at the RNC summer meeting, thus I was in political junkie heaven during my two weeks in Tampa.
During the week prior to the actual convention, representatives from each state and U.S. territory sent two representatives to each of the five standing convention committees. Everyone worked very hard on perfecting the document that would be present to the full body during the first hours of the first session of the convention. My specific committee met over 21 hours – first in subcommittees, then as a full committee.
My counter-part from Maryland, Del. Kathy Szeliga, and I both arrived Sunday afternoon. By 7:30 P.M. we were handed a 70-page document, told to read the draft and have amendments ready to present to our subcommittees in the morning. Yikes! The draft was long and dry. (Delegate Szeliga served on the Government Reform subcommittee.)
In my subcommittee (Health, Education, Crime and Family Values) we listened, discussed and voted on at least 45 amendments to our 12-page section. The other platform subcommittees were handled similarly. Later, when we met as a full body, we worked through each of the five subsections, giving all of the hundreds of amendments time for discussion by the full committee before a vote. The full Platform Committee worked as a group for about 16 hours to unanimously reach our final product. (You can read it here: http://www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_home/)
The other RNC committees worked similarly – maybe not as many hours – but full discussion was allowed around each item as needed. Most of the time discussions were so long committee members would ask for the question to be called – after the 10th or 12th person rose to repeat the same idea. It was all accomplished in a professional manner and everyone who wished could watch all committee meetings live on C-SPAN.
The RNC Summer meeting was interesting – 168 people gathered to oversee the party and its business. Many people have a misconception about the RNC members. There are just three elected from each state and territory to represent them at the national level. The typical RNC member has been around awhile, worked hard for their state party, worked hard for GOP candidates both local and nationally, and has helped the party raise money. It is basically a county central committee on steroids.
The RNC meeting was lathered with reports. We listened to the reporting of 10 legal challenges involving credential disputes from delegates in eight states. These reports were sent to the Convention Credentials Committee for adjudication. The Standing Rules Committee made their recommendations, which would later be modified by the Convention Rules Committee; plus, there was the normal blather of finance, administration and other reports made and accepted onto the record.
By Sunday afternoon of the second week most of the Maryland Delegation was on site and ready for the excitement of a national convention. After a one-day delay forced by Hurricane Isaac, the convention kicked off with a three-hour business session followed by the much awaited line up of speakers and convention motivation.
Since my return home I have heard from many how they were motivated or inspired by certain speakers. My answer is always the same – the excitement level and thrill is exponentially multiplied when sitting on-site. Like watching a baseball on TV or at the park... up close and in-person is beyond comparison.
If you could not be inspired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or Ann Romney you need an emotional adjustment.
If you don't see hope for our political future in Rep. Paul Ryan (WI), or Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), you should just quit politics now.
If you didn't understand the gritty, sarcastic humor of Clint Eastwood, too bad for you.
There were few people in the Forum not at 100% adrenaline and totally stoked when Gov. Mitt Romney took the podium. It was a perfect crescendo to send the troops back to the trenches for the last leg of the campaign battle. The convention hall was alive, rocking and ready to win.
Since returning home to my Carroll County home, there have been some who have questioned the convention proceedings, rules, selection of speakers and other items. Most have Monday morning quarterback views based on information from the press and other tainted sources – none with first-hand knowledge. No problem with me – asking questions and seeking answers is how we all learn and grow.
However, I find it sad that after such a wonderful convention, inspirational speakers and continuation of an excellent conservative GOP platform, some still wish to theorize on conspiracy and dwell on the negative.
Well, too bad for them... I know there are 138 people from Maryland who are pumped and ready to go!
See you on the campaign trail.