Saturday, May 31, 2008

Washington State Republican Convention: The Postmortem

I now need a vacation. Half an hour in the hot tub and a couple of margaritas haven't made me whole yet, so I'm thinking jumping a plane where there are no politics for at least 48 hours will probably aid my psyche.

I come to you now several hours after the close of the Washington State Republican Convention, which I expect, will go down in history as one of the most contentious, interesting, and for some, disappointing conventions that Washington has seen. I'm not an old timer, but I've participated before, and while we all expected fireworks, it was disappointing to see how some of our delegates chose to exercise their privilege to serve.

I saw several cars decked out with "Ron Paul Revolution" bumper stickers and paint on their windows while on the way here and it was clear from all of the earpieces, hand over mouth conversations back and forth that much plotting had taken place in an attempt to not just be heard, but to take over the convention and make a mockery of it. They cried, screamed, called other delegates names, and I was personally called a traitor by someone I had not even looked at much less spoken to. GET all constitute a minority. A vocal minority, and we all heard you, can still hear you, and will continue to hear you for some time to come as I am certain you are not all going to just fade away, but will maintain a solid presence in our political landscape. But, you are still a MINORITY. What this means, is if you have fewer votes on an issue YOU LOSE! Get over it and move on....

We spent two days with delegates using "points of order" to actually make speeches on their issues and it wasted so much time. They were indulged in an effort to allow them to be heard and educate them as to the process. These people spent so much time reading Robert's Rules of Orders but their application of obscure rules to attempt to get their way during on a specific issue was embarassing. The first day when a delegate yelled at our State Chairman, Luke Esser, and demanded to know if he "was from Acorn..." (a group that was recently found in Federal Court to have had employees that filed fraudulent voter registrations in WA), I was on my feet yelling. I believe in decorum, but it was absolutely lost at that moment.

Some Ron Paul folks did try to keep things intact, one that I recall went to the microphone and using a "point of personal privilege" thanked our permanent chair, Kirby Wilbur, for being fair and keeping order. Not long after this, however, things got dicey. I had to leave the floor for a while and when I returned there appeared to be a mass exodus from the convention floor, consisting mostly of people carrying McCain signs. I re-entered the floor to retrieve some of my belongings as I had to leave again shortly to meet my family and it appeared that the resolution process had been grueling, the convention was to close in about an hour, and the nonsense level of the resolutions being offered was getting higher and higher. McCain delegates were leaving the floor in an attempt to defeat quorum so that the remaining delegates would be unable to conduct any further business. There were 67 resolutions submitted.....Soon strains of patriotic songs came echoing out into the all became a bit Fellini-esque. McCain delegates returned to the floor to participate only to find very disgruntled and in some cases downright angry Paul delegates. See, they liked using Parliamentary procedure to gum up the works to this point, but when the rules were used to discourage them they just became HOSTILE. These are the rules folks, and while frustrating to their purpose, it was all perfectly legal....

After a floor count was taken and quorum was declared, I had to leave again, but I received word later from a colleague that voting went on for another hour and finally a vote was taken to cease business and it passed. There are hundreds of confused, sad, angry, exhausted delegates on their way home soon to ponder this experience and my hope for them all is this:
Learn from this experience and if you feel unhappy or disappointed figure out a way that
can solve your disappointment the next time around while maintaining order, respect, and
provide some heightened unity for the body.
The simple fact that I take from this convention is something I have known can not get a room full of over 1,600 people to agree on anything. The fact that you can get a majority to agree on some things is a fantastic feat and is the best we can do in any situation of this kind. To cram something down the throat of your neighbor will never cause a thinking person to join your cause, only to think of you as an ignorant soul who must resort to yelling and finger pointing to make a point. As one of my dinner mates said the other night, "being obnoxious is not cute."

I applaud and treasure our right to speak freely on ideas, especially political speech, but to lower ourselves to name calling on the convention floor is simply unacceptable. I hope that we never have to see this kind of debate again, but it certainly is a weekend I will never forget!

And now? Well, I simply can not wait for the dems in Denver...I am certain that no matter what we did here in Spokane, we would have a hard time beating the democrats at their own game...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Washington State Republican Convention

Coming to you from Spokane...I just checked in for the state convention. Rumor has it that Ron Paul's folks are planning something big and judging by all the "Ron Paul Revolution" marked cars I saw on my way here from the western half of the state I'd say we're in for a rolicking ride.

Don't get me wrong...some of Ron Paul's ideas aren't far from my own. I consider myself pro-life, tough on illegal immigration, (and it is illegal not undocumented), adamant about the individual right to bear arms protected under the Second Amendment, and a few other areas, but the isolationist anti-war position Paul takes I believe is completely unrealistic in the current "world community" we live in.

I heard Senator McCain today on Michael Medved's show. It was a fairly planned interview I think as Michael appeared to have set questions and there seemed to be an allotted time for the interview that allowed the Senator to give detailed, yet brief answers. McCain has it right on two extremely important topics; judges and the war.

I became politically active after 9/11 when I realized how vulnerable we were as a nation and how much people want to kill us. As I held my baby daughter in my bed and watched the World Trade Towers crumble I vowed to her and my other daughters that I would do what I could to assure they did not grow up in a world where they had to fear leaving the house, going to school, or any other public place, at least in our own country. Senator McCain understands the threat we face in this area and I believe is adamant about fighting this threat to ensure that this country continues to be the land of the free.

He has it right on judges too. One of the few places a President can really impact social policies in this country is to appoint judges that lean one way or another. I don't mean Republican or Democratic, although that might have something to do with it in the end, but I mean their judicial philosophy. There are judges who look at the facts before them, decide what a fair outcome would be, then tailor their opinion using existing law, no matter how loosely it fits the facts at hand, and crafts an opinion that tries to connect the law to the facts so that the desired outcome is met. This is judicial activism, or as some call it, "legislating from the bench."

Other judges, recognize their job is to review the facts, then the law, make a secure fit, and declare, (in the case of the Supreme Court), whether or not the issue at hand is Constitutional or not. They don't try to make it fit....Justices Alito, Thomas, Scalia and Roberts are our current Supreme Court Justices that fit this mold, and if you read the Constitution you will find that this model is what the framers and ratifiers of the Constitution had in mind.

As Republicans, we are all here together to nominate our State's nominees for office, and we should be putting our differences away to support the presumptive nominee for President, Senator John McCain. Do I agree with him on everything? Absolutely not. But I can see where our values meet and travel down the same road, and as a conservative within the party, I look forward to communicating with him and his staff to remind him of what conservatives stand for, and to ask him for support.

He's our nominee folks. I appreciate all the enthusiasm that comes from other corners, but please don't disrupt the business we are all here to do.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Apologies for the absence. My mother was in the hospital and she, thankfully, has returned home in better health than she enjoyed before. The experience, however, for those of you that haven't gone through this kind of thing, leaves you exhausted, and behind.

This Memorial Day I planned nothing special. Laundry. It's been a while since I had done any for myself, did I mention I fell behind on everything recently? My nineteen year old daughter surprised us all with a family movie afternoon and chose, for this Memorial Day, Top Gun for our viewing pleasure.

Some background here....I met and was dating my husband during the time when this movie was released. He was not a Naval Aviator, but a Naval Submariner, and I remember the pride of our forces and especially of our sailors ran very high in those days. I could not help but watch this movie today and remember, again with pride, the service my husband and those like him have given so selflessly to this country. The movie definitely showed some of the best of the Navy during that time, all adventure, confidence and well, nice looking guys in white uniforms? I digress....

I meet young military men and women today and am still filled with that sense of pride and thanks and want them all to know how grateful I am to them for the job they do that helps me and my family be safe at home. I know the anti-war gang out there would like us to believe that any terror threat is so attenuated for us here in the homeland that we don't need to be fighting anyone abroad....such naivetee will be the death of us all.

My father-in-law served in WWII in the Navy, as well as my uncle, who served as a Naval Officer in the Pacific. My dad was in the Coast Guard here in the Puget Sound region. I have had sons-in-law in the Air Force and a daughter who continues to show interest in serving today, with a war in full swing, and our future uncertain with respect to the threats we face from Radical Islam would-be martyrs. I look forward to the day that I return to Arlington to visit my father-in-law's place of rest, and to give my thanks to all of those who rest around him.

So, remember them today, and every day, with thanks and gratitude, because without these brave young men and women we would have no new individuals to remember in future Memorial Days and our country would face great peril. It is not that we want to have more young people die in service, but it is clear to me, that freedom can only be preserved with the occasional spilling of blood. It is with wonder I see generation after generation continue to turn out young men and women eager to serve, and I think it says a lot for our country, its values traditions and principles, that serves as the foundation for these young people to make such a decision to serve.

And hey, watching Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer play volleyball ain't all bad either...