The confetti has been swept up, the balloons have deflated, but the 2008 Republican National Convention will go down in history as one of the most exciting political events ever. And the Democrats never saw it coming!
First, I attended my last RNC meeting the week before the convention. The theme of the RNC Summer Meeting was “Leadership We Can Trust.” Chairman Mike Duncan asked us, “Who can we trust with our future? Who can we trust to bring reform, prosperity, and peace?” In comparing the two presidential candidates, there is no question that Senator John McCain is the right choice.
The Resolutions Committee passed several resolutions, including one entitled, “Resolution in Deep Appreciation and Loving Memory of Tony Snow.”. The two resolutions that I submitted both passed. They were entitled, “Resolution Thanking President George W. Bush for his Unwavering Leadership in the Global War on Terror,” and “Resolution Thanking President George W. Bush for His Service to Our Country.” You may read those resolutions at: http://www.mcnamarablog.blogspot.com/. In addition to those RNC resolutions, I also printed one specifically for the Texas Delegation to sign that we will be sending to the President to express our appreciation for his service over the past eight years. That Resolution is also posted on my blog.
The Rules Committee, of which Bill Crocker is our RNC member (and he also served on the Rules Committee for the convention), had long hours of debate regarding the primary season and how best to proceed in the future. The result was that two states received permission to have their primary in February (New Hampshire and South Carolina) while the rest of the states are supposed to now wait until March, and if they choose to have their primaries earlier they will be penalized.
The Treasurer of the RNC, Tim Morgan from California , reported that the RNC is doing well financially and donations are up, new donors increasing, and fundraising is going very well.
The hot topic of debate during the RNC meeting was a change in the Rules that now allows the RNC officers (Chairman, Co-Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer) to not necessarily be chosen from within the ranks of the RNC membership. In the past we have had many chairmen who were not members, but now that will apply to the other officers as well. There was an effort to overturn that rule, but it was unsuccessful.
Kudos to Cathie Adams, my successor as National Committeewoman, Kelly Shackelford, and the entire Convention Platform Committee for composing an extraordinary platform. Our party and our candidates should be proud to run on such a well-written and comprehensive document.
RNC Co-Chair Jo Ann Davidson reported that the Pink Elephants, the women’s Republican coalition, is thriving and adding a record number of new members. If you have not signed up to receive the talking points memos, go to http://www.gop.com/, and click on “groups” and then click on “women” to receive the Pink Elephants updates. These memos are great for forwarding on to your personal email lists.
Following the RNC meeting, we moved from Minneapolis to St. Paul where our Texas delegation stayed at the Crowne Plaza Riverfront on the Mississippi River . Guess who else was in our hotel? We were right there with Fox News, including Brit Hume, Bill O’Reilly, Steve Doocy, Megan Kelly, et al. None of the Fox News anchors could get on an elevator or get a cup of coffee without Texas delegates, including me, asking for a photo. It was a lot of fun to have them there.
As the convention festivities began, one event that was very interesting was the movie premiere of, “An American Carol.” This is the new movie directed by David Zucker featuring Kelsey Grammar, Jon Voigt, and Kevin Farley as “Michael Malone.” It is a spoof that takes on Michael Moore and his fellow anti-American left-wing nuts. While there are a few moments of crudeness that may be offensive to some, it highlights how ridiculous some of the liberal Democrats have become. It opens in theaters in October, right before the election, and I believe it will help turn out Republicans to vote. One highlight of the movie premiere was Lee Greenwood singing “God Bless the USA ” at the reception. That is one great song.
Hurricane Gustav played havoc with Monday’s convention schedule, understandably. We conducted our official business, but canceled the evening session. Everyone was concerned about the Gulf Coast residents, and our focus was on how to help. My daughter, Taylor, who served as a Page, helped fill relief bags for hurricane victims. Governor Rick Perry canceled his trip to the convention but kept our Texas delegation updated by phone about preparations for the hurricane and how Texas was helping with Louisiana evacuees.
The protestors in St. Paul were angry and violent. Although our hotel was only a few blocks from the Excel Center , we were advised not to walk because of the threat. The Minnesota authorities did a great job of protecting everyone, and it kind of felt like we were in our own “green zone” in the middle of St. Paul . It is too bad that things have come to this, though, and that it is necessary to go to such great lengths to protect convention-goers.
Tuesday’s convention schedule was also altered considerably, but we had a good night and as always, our Texas delegation stood out. Those Cowboy hats look great on television. I met Fox News reporter Jim Angle at a media party, and he interviewed me regarding the delegates reaction to Governor Sarah Palin, and it aired on Tuesday. Jim Angle is a native Texan from Keller, and he was a lot of fun getting to know him.
Wednesday was, of course, the big night. It was hard to contain everyone’s excitement. We were a little worried that the hype about Governor Palin was going to cause folks to be disappointed. No worries. Governor Sarah Palin’s speech exceeded expectations. She did a fabulous job, and the Delegates went wild. Also very impressive was our next First Lady, Cindy McCain. The video about her life told a story that many of us did not know prior to the convention. Her record of charity work and commitment to service is amazing.
Thursday night’s speech by Senator McCain went very well, despite being interrupted by a “Code Pink” protester. The video history detailing his service to our country, the descriptions of what he endured as a POW, and his record of hard work and integrity highlighted a candidate that we can all be proud to support. He ended on a strong note, and the convention was a resounding success. We were literally buried in balloons!
Our Texas Delegation had breakfasts and lunches with many great speakers and visitors, including Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, 2008 Victory Chairman Roger Williams, Congressman Jeb Hensarling, Senator John Cornyn, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Frank Luntz, author of “Words that Work.” Frank told us that he loved the Texas delegation more than any other. Once again, some of us got together to sing “Convention Songs” and got some media coverage. You are welcome to use these songs at Republican meetings and campaign events leading up to the November election. The songs are posted below and also on my blog at http://mcnamarablog.blogspot.com/.
All in all, it was an unforgettable convention, and one that I’m sure the Democrats would just as soon forget! We now have less than 50 days until the November election. You all know what you have to do. Let’s work together to elect President John McCain and Vice President Sarah Palin. I will continue to send out emails and speak around the state, and I look forward to continue working with all of you in the future.