Four Quick Takeaways From RNC Day One

After a 2:30 a.m. arrival back in our room and a 6:00 a.m. start to the morning, I have some brief time to blog Day One.  I have four thoughts:

1.  This is my first convention, and I’m struck by the difficulty in assessing the success of the day.  I can tell you who energized the convention hall, but I can’t tell you how it looked on TV, and aside from my Twitter feed, I was completely disconnected from the commentary (a good thing, perhaps).  At any rate, while I enjoyed Chris Christie’s keynote overall and admire what he’s accomplished in New Jersey, I may agree with Andrew McCarthy’s criticism — there was an awful lot of “I” and “me” in the speech.  Yes, bravado is his style, but it was just a bit off-putting in person, especially compared to Ann’s speech. Which bring us to . . .

2.  This was Ann Romney’s night.  While there is convention tension between “establishment” and “grassroots,” there was total unity in the hall when Ann spoke.  Everyone was rooting for her.  You could feel the crowd urging on the speaker, encouraging her, cheering her every applause line.  I don’t know how things came across on camera, but inside the hall, there was truly unique combination of warmth and sheer excitement.

3.  Honestly, the “establishment” and “grassroots” conflict confuses me.  While everyone seems to know who’s establishment and who’s Tea Party in the abstract, the individuals themselves almost unanimously view themselves as “grassroots.”  Even the briefly-notorious dispute that saw “grassroots” fight “establishment” over delegate rules was just as much a fight between grassroots activists with different viewpoints on the process.  Honestly, even I’m confused.  I’ve supported Mitt Romney since 2005.  Does that make me “establishment”?  I also represent Tea Party bloggers and Tea Party groups across the country.  Does that make me “grassroots”?  I don’t know and don’t care.

4.  It was a joy to vote to approve a party platform that so clearly and unequivocally commits the entire party to defending the unborn.  Abortion is the great moral tragedy of our time, and it is a blessing that at least one of our major parties is growing ever-more-committed to defending our most vulnerable citizens.  I pray the other party abandons its equally-unequivocal commitment to granting citizens the right to kill the innocent.

One final thing note: I can’t count the number of readers we’ve met since we’ve arrived.  It is a joy to see you, and please if you see a balding lawyer-looking guy with a very attractive wife wearing an “Evangelicals for Mitt” button, don’t hesitate to come say hello.

More reports to come . . .

  • FranInAtlanta

    In trying to follow the “grassroots” vs. “establishment” conflict, my stand is with the “establishment.” The idea of letting the people of the state vote (even in caucuses) then coming back to a convention and sending delegates in opposition to the votes of the people (the side of the “grassroots” as I understood it) is taking votes away from the voters and putting into the hands of activists (who may or may not call themselves the “grassroots”). In 2012, a plurality of the voters and the establishment were on the side of Romney. That will not always be true, and I do not want to see the will of the voters thwarted under any circumstances other than a late breaking true scandal and, even then, I would prefer to see a good pollster involved.

  • FranInAtlanta

    Just talked with neighbor who was delegate to Georgia Republican Convention. Said that Ron Paul folks were everywhere trying to take over. I do not call this “grassroots.” I call it bullying.

  • Mike Mckee

    The whole world looks to America for hope and guidence in a world seemingly overcome by tyranny and demogogery with a UN seemingly corrupted and unable to hold it’s members to account for their wickedness and underhand dealing against their citizens.
    Freedom and Liberty are the foundations of any democratic society worth anything, America has in this last two terms appeared to fall into the abyss.
    I hope that that can be turned around for all our sakes for just as evil and wickedness needs an anchor state to sustain itself in this world so to does freedom and liberty.
    For things are not what they seem, this is a world at war, the prize is your heart and we all have a place to play.
    God Bless America and all who reside in her.

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  • Jay Stang


    I was there too as a delegate from the 22nd District of Texas.

    The conflict between the grassroots and the establishment is about who runs the party. Do the people run it, or does the RNC? Obviously, the RNC has to administer the overall business of the party, but the people, as in those who contribute almost all the money, time and shoe leather, should have a great deal to say about how the party is run. The rules fight, of which I was a part of on Tuesday, was about the RNC controlling the rules and the delegates unilaterally, which should not happen.

    The people in each state vote on who they want to represent them at the Convention. Why should the RNC get to thwart or ignore the will of the people? That is what Rule 16 is all about. Having all delegates bound to the candidate that wins the preference poll leads to a redundant and unnecessary convention. Why bother having a convention if the nominee is already known? Delegates use to go to conventions to actually choose a nominee. If these rules had been in place in 1976, we would have never elected Ronald Reagan. The first proposed Rule 16 change was as bad as the “Compromise”. That change allowed the candidate to kick out any duly elected delegate he wanted, and replace that delegate with someone of his own choosing. Do we want Mitt to be able to stack the Texas delegation with the pastors of every Mormon church in Texas, or Rick Santorum to substitute our choices for delegate with members of the American Bishop Congress? No one candidate should have that power.

    We use to be able to choose the nominee at the convention and also decide on rules. This convention was merely a floor show that we got great tickets to. If you saw the video of the teleprompter, we didn’t even get to vote on the rules. The results were predetermined.

    We also are supposed to choose what the rules are. We can’t do that now with Rule 12. That rule allows the RNC to change rules between conventions, whenever they want to. Why bother showing up, if all the work you did at the convention can be thrown out as soon as you leave?

    I apologize if this post is too long, but I am very passionate about this topic, and the GOP. We are a nation of laws, not men. What I saw at the convention was a flagrant disregard for any rule that got in the way of the Romney campaign. It needs to stop.

    • David French

      You may not be aware of this, but a number of delegations were taken over by Ron Paul supporters in spite of how the people voted. In other words, the delegation was majority Paulite in spite of the fact that the people of the state voted for Romney or Santorum. Ron Paul supporters were muscling aside the results of democratic primary elections, exploiting archaic state rules, and attempting to change the direction of the party. That was obviously intolerable. It’s regrettable that this message did not get out.