Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 2012 Michigan Republican Convention

It was an interesting convention this year. I was a little miffed that it was held this time in a city that votes at least 93% Democrat each election, but it is what it is. It was definitely run much better than the infamous Breslin Center convention in 2010. Schostak learned from probably the biggest blunder in an otherwise very good and underrated chairmanship of his predecessor Ron Weiser.

Most conventions are two day affairs. Friday Night is the caucus in our districts, and Saturday morning is when all of the state delegates votes. There was a lot of grumbling in some quarters over some of the results of the national delegate system this year. National delegates to the RNC convention is more of a symbolic role in nominating the next POTUS. There are some issues with rules committee or issues committee with platform, but I really find the platform hype to be overrated. I don't care about it much and haven't read it in years. As far as the national delegate goes, it's a bigger deal to others than me this year. I went as a non-delegate to convention in 2004. It was a great experience and I may go again someday. I did not run as delegate/alternate this year. It's generally a formality for the nomination and it's going to be for Romney. I was a Santorum voter. I'm not going to go for Romney. I'll hold my nose, but my efforts are going to be concentrated on the downticket races. If someone like a Mike Pence was the nominee, I'd definitely want to go.

When I make my decisions for any position, especially a delegate position which is a big deal to those who want to go, I look at first to see if the individual running for that position has paid his or her dues. I don't mean membership dues or monetary dues, but time. It's hard to believe to some, but I'm considered an old timer in local party politics. Eleven years. I haven't been around the longest, but longer than most. I've held various titles and positions since then at either the county or district level. I say that not to brag, because I wasn't running for a national delegate position. That's the prism I have when I make my own decisions who to support as national delegate. Experience matters. The system used in district 8, was a fair system based on a gentleman's agreement between the county representation. One delegate and one alternate chosen by each of the three counties. There was some grumbling (not like 2010, but mild discontent) about it by those who weren't active in our meetings, but the plan was in effect. Each county "sub-caucus" chose its delegates. It was a fair system, and some people didn't like the results. Too bad. The process was fair, and the results were what they were. Those that do not like the results need to learn from it. 

One winner was the local tea party leader. He's a new activist, although extremely active with his group and has been at most of our events in the time he has been active.You can argue longevity, but I don't think he's going to disappear any time soon. There was a tie for second with someone I did not know at all (In my 11 years active) and one person who is sometimes at a meeting and at most conventions although most of us didn't know him well. Down in the pack were people who were active for years. I hope that the two who tied for alternate (tiebreak went to the person I've sometimes seen at a meeting/ most conventions) become more active, especially with our downticket races. My reaction is and was this to the results. Congratulations. "You have a lot of support. We have a lot of contests besides the presidential race and we need your help." I'd like to turn what many other old timers think is a negative into a positive. In other words, pay your dues. I don't mean with money, but time. I don't mean with other organizations, but with either County Party or District Party (or both). We need you.

The complaints I've heard with District 8 were relatively minor compared to what I've heard with other districts with descriptions of hostile takeovers and other stuff. I wasn't there, so I'll let others describe what happened.

I'm not that surprised at the results for RNC Committeeman. The writing was on the wall. I was a Saul supporter, but I've heard good things about Dave Agema, although I don't know him. I wish him well. Terri Lynn Land knows probably just about everybody at the convention which worked in her favor as she won her race as RNC Committeewoman.

The lesson all sides need to take from the convention is this. Organization is king. Organization doesn't start two weeks before a convention. It doesn't start two weeks before the county convention. It starts before May 15th at 4PM at the filing deadline with precinct delegates announcing their run for office. It continues with write-in campaigns for precinct delegate openings before the August primary. Precinct delegates are those who vote for state delegates to convention, who caucus in district and as a whole. They also elect our executive committee members and our district committee members, and state committee members. It was our district caucuses that elect the national delegates. It is the committee of a whole that elects our RNC Committeeman and Committeewoman.

Those who are organized, often win.

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