Normally I am a political party convention junkie, but I haven't watched any of the Republican National Convention so far. Judging from media accounts of the prime-time program, it seems that Ann Romney gave a decent speech, dwelling on the theme of love, after which New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talked mostly about himself and said Republicans need to seek respect, not love. He also praised presidential nominee Mitt Romney for being willing to tell the hard truths about how to fix the deficit, but naturally, didn't share any details on those tough budget cuts to come.
Any comments related to the GOP convention are welcome in this thread. Many links and news stories related to the Iowa delegation are after the jump.
Romney's people tapped Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds as convention secretary, meaning that she got to call the roll of delegates. Was it a way to counteract the storyline of Ron Paul supporters dominating Iowa's delegation? During the roll call, Iowa cast 22 votes for Paul and only six for Romney. But Iowa GOP Chair A.J. Spiker said in a written statement that the state party will "unite" and "work tirelessly to ensure that Iowa's six electoral votes go to Governor Romney in November."
Radio Iowa's O.Kay Henderson was there as Paul addressed roughly 400 supporters, including most of Iowa's delegation, on Monday morning.
"The victories aren't there and you say, 'Complete defeat.' But, no, I think we keep winning. The harder they try to silence us, the harder they try to push us around, the harder they try to take our delegates away, I think it's an incentive," Paul said.
"It is a tremendous incentive for everybody to work harder." [...]
While the other major competitors for the Republican Party's presidential nomination have released their delegates and endorsed Mitt Romney, Paul has not. Paul never once mentioned Romney during his remarks this morning and he urged his supporters to continue their efforts to remake the Republican Party.
"All the victories are important, but they aren't the end game," Paul said. "The end game is who wins the war and, if you see it as an intellectual war, I'll tell you what: we are way ahead."
I laugh every time I read the grumbling about Iowa's delegates getting stuck in a faraway hotel, 45 minutes to an hour's drive from the convention site.
Speaking of Paul supporters, there are still hard feelings over the Republican National Committee's decision not to seat some people in the Maine delegation. That led to an awkward moment Tuesday afternoon in the convention hall, described by Jack Hitt of Harper's (click through for video):
The RonPaulites, whose furious devotion to a single idea have made them the Ellen Jamesians of the right, were protesting a decision by RNC officials not to seat members of the Maine delegation, which was split between Paul and Romney supporters following rule changes made just prior to the convention. There were energetic shouts of "Aye!" and "Nay!" as a Puerto Rican party functionary-Zoraida Fonalledas, the chairwoman of the Committee on Permanent Organization-took her turn at the main-stage lectern. As she began speaking in her accented English, some in the crowd started shouting "U.S.A.!
The chanting carried on for nearly a minute while most of the other delegates and the media stood by in stunned silence. The Puerto Rican correspondent turned to me and asked, "Is this happening?" I said I honestly didn't know what was happening-it was astonishing to see all the brittle work of narrative construction that is a modern political convention suddenly crack before our eyes. None of us could quite believe what we were seeing: A sea of twentysomething bowties and cowboy hats morphing into frat bros apparently shrieking over (or at) a Latina. RNC chairman Reince Priebus quickly stepped up and asked for order and respect for the speaker, suggesting that, yeah, what we had just seen might well have been an ugly outburst of nativism.
Romney's campaign team must be relieved that didn't happen during prime time television coverage, although it's possible that the chants of "U.S.A!" were designed to drown out Ron Paul supporters, not a speaker with a Puerto Rican accent.
Loud cries of "Boo" and" Seat them now" filled the convention floor as repeated calls to contest a credentials committee report fell on deaf ears after it passed by a voice vote. A majority of the delegates from six states were required to call for a roll call vote on the credentials report, submitting their intent to do so in writing in advance. Despite Maine the delegates' claims, no such support came from their colleagues from other states.
The boos disrupted the speech of Puerto Rico National Committeewoman Zori Fonalledas, who was set to announce the nomination of Speaker of the House John Boehner as permanent convention chairman.
Priebus repeatedly called on the crowd to silence themselves, as dozens of men wearing earpieces converged on the shouting Paul supporters - some delegates, and even more expressing their displeasure from the arena's upper decks.
As Boehner moved to the report from the Committee on Rules and Order of Business, Paul supporters began shouting "Point of Order," calling on the chair to recognize them for a motion. Boehner shouted over them, as other delegates tried to drown them out with chants of "U-S-A."
I thought the Ron Paul supporters in Iowa's delegation were planning to support their colleagues in Maine; Spiker gave that impression last week. Perhaps the Iowans couldn't get enough backup from other states.
On the plus side for Iowa Republicans, GOP nominee in the second Congressional district John Archer was put on the speaking schedule for Tuesday afternoon. (He was originally scheduled to speak on Monday, but tropical storm/hurricane Isaac's planned path derailed all of Monday's events.) You can watch a video of Archer's speech at the C-SPAN website. Transcript:
"Greetings! Greetings to the Iowa delegation. And greetings to all the great people in the state of Iowa!
Hope and change were elected four years ago, and where has that gotten us? We have more debt - almost 16 trillion in debt. This White House believes in a tax and spend philosophy.
We have more doubt - families don't know how much Obamacare will cost them, and businesses don't know what new regulations will burden them.
We have more despair - for 42 months, unemployment has been above 8 percent. We keep waiting for it to improve - and waiting and waiting and waiting. We don't have to wait any more. We can do better! And we'll do it by talking honestly about the issues.
As we have in Iowa this year, we will continue to talk about big ideas this week. We'll talk about a balanced budget - we can do better. We'll talk about tax relief for working families - we can do better. We'll talk about stopping the regulatory attack on farmers and small businesses - we can do better. We'll talk about protecting Medicare and Social Security for this generation of seniors and the next - we can do better. And we'll talk about getting government out from in-between patients and their doctors by repealing Obamacare - we can do better.
And we will do better in Iowa and across this great nation by electing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as the next president and vice president of the United States this November. Thank you, and God bless Iowa and this great nation."
UPDATE: On August 29, U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, gave a speech to his father's supporters. Again O.Kay Henderson was there (click through for a link to the audio):
"Now I had heard there were some troublemakers in Iowa and as I was driving the hour and a half out here, I figured, 'Boy, they stuck those guys way out in the wilderness,'" Rand Paul joked as he began speaking to the crowd.
But Paul quickly urged the crowd to tamp down the ranting and raving and consider the perspective of those who've criticized his father's supporters.
"Politics is messy. You can look at it two ways," Rand Paul said. "Some would say - and there is some point to this - Ron Paul got a very small percentage of the vote, but got a much larger percentage of delegates. It's because they worked hard and they got through the system, so you could argue they had a disproportionate influence here. Now, I'm not arguing we had too much influence, but you can look at it both ways." [...]
"Now some get unhappy at the proceedings and say, 'Oh, I'm not being treated fairly. I'm going to take my toys and go home,'" Rand Paul said. "I don't think that's the best way to do it. I think the best way is to participate within the Republican Party whether you're always getting what you want or not. If you're an adult, you don't always win every time. You've to realize that. Stay in the party. Make the party bigger and stronger."
August 30 update: I didn't watch Paul Ryan's acceptance speech last night, but I read that it was full of lies. Besides the usual misleading statements about Medicare and Medicaid, Ryan blamed Obama for a General Motors plant closure, even though GM announced plans to close that plant in June 2008. Also,
Ryan lied about the Simpson-Bowles commission, falsely accusing Obama of walking away from debt reduction, and ignoring the fact that Ryan himself fought to ensure the Simpson-Bowles commission never even released a report. Ryan lied about his plans for the safety net, saying he intends to "protect the weak" when he budget plan intends to gut public investments that benefit the poor.
Ryan lied about the debt, saying Obama "has added more debt than any other president before him," when the truth is, that was George W. Bush -- who added over $5 trillion to the debt thanks in large part to congressional votes cast by Paul Ryan.
Funny blog post by Jennifer Jacobs:
Although they were finished at Tuesday's session at 11 p.m., some of the Iowans didn't get back to their hotel an hour's journey away until as late as 2:30 a.m., they said. [...]
The problems started Tuesday morning. A shuttle was expected at noon sharp, but no bus appeared.
A bus coordinator stopped by Sunset Vistas hotel to make sure travel arrangements were going smoothly and learned the Iowa team was stranded.
"No bus was ever scheduled for us," said alternate delegate Chelsy Askren of Clayton County.
"By accident or design," added [State Representative Glen] Massie. "You know how we voted." [...]
Delegate Steve Scheffler said he didn't get back to Sunset Vistas until 2:30 a.m. Previous GOP conventions in Minnesota and New York "were nothing like this," he said. "This was just a disaster. Ridiculous."
Some of the delegates, including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, have cars at their disposal and aren't relying on the shuttle buses.