Starting Monday, August 27th, Republicans from across the country will convene in Tampa, Florida, to talk politics, meet each other, have fun, get to hear both the venerated and rising stars of the party speak, and most importantly, officially nominate Mitt Romney to be the Republican Party's candidate in the 2012 presidential election.
Interesting to watch will be NJ governor Chris Christie, the party's preeminent firebrand who will no doubt be throwing some of the hardest punches the campaign effort has seen to date. Also featured will be a diverse array of speakers demonstrating the female and minority leadership within the party, perhaps putting those "white male" stereotypes to rest once and for all.
The convention will be much more than just the speeches on television. Those down at the convention are staying in hotels around the Tampa area. The NY State GOP is staying at the Hilton at Clearwater Beach, and it is almost assured party members will come back with a tan almost as red as their neckties! Throughout the week GOP delegates, officials, and guests will be attending breakfasts, lunches, and parties hosted by members of Congress and state governments. The excitement over this election will be palpable, and many of even the more uptight members of the Senate will be in rare form!
As a member of the NY Republican Party, and as one who is bummed that he had to give up his own guest pass to be fiscally responsible (no doubt a recurring theme of the convention), I will be continuosuly updating this blog as the convention progresses with insider commentary and living vicariously through my friends down in Tampa and through my television screen. There are sure to be some great stories, some planned, and many more unplanned, as the week progresses!
PolicyMic will be covering all the events and speeches during the Republican National Convention. For live updates, please bookmark and refresh this page!
Wednesday 11:00 PM:
Romney time! He has provided us a cliff notes version of his philosophy. Promised us 12 million new jobs. 5 steps to do it:
1. energy independence by taking advantage of our natural resources
2. school choice and job training at schools to teach everyone useful skills
3. new trade agreements and hold nations to those agreements. consequences for countries that try to cheat on their agreements.
4. cut the deficit and put america on track towards a balanced budget (note he did not promise a balanced budget during his presidency) to garuntee that the investment in America won't be lost like in Greece.
5. Simply and modify regulations, cut taxes on small businesses, and repeal AND (the and is key here) replace Obamacare with something better and more efficient.
He has also promised now to never raise taxes on the middle class. "Protect" marriage (meh). And he has garunteed to protect freedom of religion.
"Obama promised that he'd lower the ocean leves, and heal the planet.... my plan, is to help you and your family."
He will begin his presidency with "a jobs tour, not an apology tour."
Ouch, called Obama out on the comment he made over a hot mic to Putin. Mitt has promised to show Putin less flexibility, and more backbone.
Mitt Romney's speech is a speech for the ages. If you think Obama promised hope and change, Mitt has brought it to a whole new level. Seriously, it was like watching the king give a speech before the final epic battle scene of a blockbuster movie. We'll see over the next 70 days if he can follow through on the momentum built this week. There were some questionable statements in his speech that Liberals are no doubt trying to tear apart and twist around, but Romney did tonight and through this convention, precisely what he set out to do. He has undoubtedly reunited this broken angry party into one with a unified purpose and goal, and there isn't a doubt in my mind that over the course of this week he has attracted millions of independents, hopeful for the America Obama never gave them.
Wednesday 10:30 PM:
Came in early into Clint Eastwood's speech. He seemed a little old and got lost in thought a few times, but was exceptionally funny and commanded that room like no one else has during the convention. The man is just the embodiment of charisma, and also brings back the thoughts and feelings of the older generation of America where people didn't bitch and complain about how unfair their lives were on a blog, but instead went outside, took life by the horns, and flipped it around.
Rubio reinforced that same thought, in a different way. He threw so religious applause lines in there, whatever, but his story was mostly about the American dream, what it meant for his family fleeing Cuba, and what it means for immigrants around the world. Great point of his speech was, "people come to America to escape these [referring to Obama's] policies" and he's right. Liberal American don't understand perhaps, they're American, they haven't lived abroad. I knew a girl here in NY whose parents came here from Vietnam. Anything with a hint of government, a hint of communism or socialism, they despised. They voted Republican to protect their new home from the policies of their old one. They left that oppressed nation, came to America, became engineers, and had three children who are now all doctors. Only in America does that happen. Not coincidentally, some of the strongest neighborhoods for the GOP here in New York City are the ones packed with immigrants from the Soviet Union.
American Exceptionalism is real because the American Dream is real.
Thursday 9:30 AM:
Sorry everyone, I didn't get home until late last night, but managed to catch Tim Pawlenty on through Ryan.
My opinion is heavily biased, but Condoleeza Rice was the real star last night, as anyone could have predicted. She managed to be rather soft in tone, and not too exciteable, yet still got the crowd going with substance alone. She once again proves she the smartest person in the room, but it also becomes apparent why she hasn't, and won't ever, seek elected office. A stadium full packed with 50,000 people is different than a small classroom at Stanford, or the UN, and in the beginning of her speech, her nerves were showing. Despite having a very solid speech with exceptional understanding of how the outside world works, the thought of her being the one to stare down a guy like Vladimir Putin is not an encouraging one.
However, if she does want a 2016 run, she has plenty of time to practice being tough. We can make an Iron Lady out of her yet.
Her speech was all about what American exceptionalism really means. I challenge any Democrat to watch that speech and not feel pangs of love and admiration for our great country. Condi Rice just reminded us what this country really means, really stands for. Thank you.
Tim Pawlenty was boring.
Beyond that I need to rewatch the speeches to get a better sense of them. I was coming off my Condi high and discussing it with my roommate while Martinez was speaking, but I'm told she was excellent, so I clearly missed something.
Wednesday 9:30 AM:
Admittedly, I missed some of the high profile speeches. I missed Mia Love, and zoned out during Anne Romney's speech as I was engaged in a tax debate with a liberal friend.
But with what I've seen so far, the winners of Tuesday night are:
1. Artur Davis
2. Rick Santorum
3. Chris Christie but possibly speeches that I missed
That's right, me, the pro-choice / pro-gay marriage guy thinks Santorum was excellent last night. I talked a little about it in a previous update, but I have a soft spot for traditional family values, which is what Santorum spoke about. He did a good job of steering clear of divisive social issues (for the most part) and instead focused on strengthening the family unit again in America. Excellent speech with the right balance of inspiring rhetoric and emotional rhetoric to really fire the base up.
Looking over reports and twitters etc from last night:
My liberal friends all rolled their eyes (naturally) at the economics stuff, but most of them did not react all that strongly to the RNC, negatively or positively. When social issues such as gay marriage and abortion are factored out of the equation, it becomes clear that my friends in the millenial generation are not as engaged as the media would have it seem.
The overwhelming opinion I've seen among my liberal friends is that Artur Davis was the best speech. Not surprising, he used to be a Democrat, so he speaks their emotional language. However, in this case I whole heartedly agree with them.
When Barrak Obama spoke in 2004, I confidently told me mom, that guy is going to be the first black president.
Mark my words, Artur Davis is going to be the second one.
This is hysterical: MSNBC cut away from the RNC and skipped over most of the minority speakers! Including Artur Davis! They played commercials through Davis's entire speech. They skipped over Vela Fortuno's (first lady of Puerto Rico) speech by cutting to Maddow and Matthews in the studio, and they skipped both Gov. Sandoval's speech and Mia Love (a black woman running for congress in Utah, who also gave one of the better speeches that night).
The Liberals are not waiting to play the race card. LA Times headline today: RNC puts a Brown Face on a White Party
And on MSNBC's website, they only show video clips from white speakers. As of 9:00AM. We'll see if they change it as the rest of the world picks up on it.
And here is the Daily Caller first noticing MSNBC's failure to show the minority speeches.
And of course more gems from NBC with Chuck Todd's statement that the RNC seated minorites where the cameras can see them.
Who's the real racist here? Is it the GOP for trying harder to promote diversity within the party? Or is it the Left who apparently only thinks minorities count as people when they are Democrats. Whereas minorities who are Republicans are merely props? Left, why do only minorities who agree with you count as people? Has it occurred to you that maybe, just maybe, minorities can have opinions other than the ones you tell them to have?
Tuesday 11:00 PM:
Great speech by Chris Christie, but much like Obama, didn't live up to the hype in my opinion. I was hoping for stronger, more edgy attacks, more hard truths.
Tuesday 9:50 PM:
Hey, a Black Guy! Oh wait... there's lots of Black people at the RNC. Surprised? I'm not.
Artur Davis is the man who officially seconded Obama's nomination in 2008. He is now asking us to forgive him, he "was at the wrong convention."
He's giving a great speech. I'd say reminiscient of Obama's keynote speech in 2004, but that'd be racist... right? Actually it's nothing like Obama's speech. This speech actually has substance, and isn't about himself.
He is touching on a multitude of topics, but is mainly focusing on acknowledging the greatness of America and what America stands for. "What does it say about a family who doesn't honor the photos on their wall?" he asked (or something like that).
So far his speech is the speech of the night. Nikki Haley up next.
Tuesday 9:40 PM:
Lot's of Latin-Americans at the RNC. Obviously many of them were giving speaking positions to help encourage the Latino vote, but I think the GOP is doing better with the Latino community than the media or Dems are giving them credit for. Other than California, all the other majorly Latino states are solidly Republican, even New Mexico elects GOP locally (though they went for Obama in 2008). It really isn't surprising. The traditional Latino family values marriage, children, Catholicism, and hard work. They align with the GOP on most issues with the exception of immigration.
Tuesday 9:30 PM:
Santorum starts with talk about working class people, clearly a target for the GOP this season, but segues into his pet issue of family. He makes a very compelling case for strengthening the family. According to him, a high school diploma, marriage before having children, and work hard at a job, and there is only a 2% chance of being below the poverty line. Whereas not doing any one of those things increases the chance of poverty by 38 times. He doesn't cite his source, but it doesn't seem too off the mark. Though a big problem these days are people who live "near-poverty." It is unclear whether he is using poor as a relative term or if he is referring to the arbitrary line that dilineates poverty.
He does make a very compelling case for strengthening the family, and I'm fairly certain I'm 100% on board with him, based on what he's been saying tonight. He's made a point to steer clear of abortion or contraception, and so long as he continues to do so I'm with him. I can now see why he had so much appeal during the primary season. He's giving an excellent speech. If he had this sort of performance consistently during the primaries, and avoided abortion and contraception, we very well may have nominated him.
Now talking about his daughter Bella. Sounds like the kind of situation where most would opt to abort. He has finally reached the abortion topic, but isn't being obnoxious about it like he has been in the past.
Santorum nailed that speech. Good job. Best defense of family values I've heard in a long time.
Tuesday 9:00 PM:
These stories from small business owners about their struggles are all too common in America. My mom is going through a similar story at the small business she works for. It is owne by a father and son team. The son recently graduated with an architecture degree, but while the business is floundering, he's postponing his own future career to help his father keep the lights on, which they are borrowing against their home to do. Those guys put in 14-16 hour days, and are risking everything for a family business that has been around for some 20 years. The prevalence of these stories in this economy make the RNC's use of them to highlight their point all the more damning for the Democrats. If this first day is any indication of how the next 70 days will be, Obama is in serious trouble.
Tuesday 8:34 PM:
Gov. Cassick of Ohio has segued from jobs into deficit spending and how the two are related. He's a very dynamic speaker. He makes a great case for why tax cuts help bring in more companies and prospective tax payers into the state. The concept of taking a dollar from 100 people rather than 5 dollars from 10 people. Talks a lot again about small businesses and enacting policies to help them. I'm seeing a pattern here.
The small business focus is a great strategy for the GOP. People don't hear it in their echo chambers, but small business owners everywhere are very upset with the last three years and they are a silent majority on the pundit scene.
Ouch, Cassick trashing Biden's golf game. Harsh bro.
Tueday 8:24 PM:
And we now meet this years "Joe the Plumber," Jack Gillcrest, who owns a small metal business in NH. He's telling a story of how his father started the company by taking a loan out against their house. They emply 40 people, most who have families. Jack lists the challenges in running a business and how the government, particularlly Obama's administration is making it tough. "They're killin' us out here" he said.
Tuesday 8:21 PM:
Ayotte starts off toting her husbands military experience and uses it to segue into a major point. Her husband was a returning vet, who returned to no job. They are talking about borrowing money, trying to make ends meet and starting a business. Describing the risks they took and how hard it is with Obama to start a business. She hasn't said it yet, but you can just tell that everyone is dying to shout out "We Built That." Calls Obama's plan to tax small businesses as they grow larger a "success tax."
She tells a story about a restaraunt owner, who wanted to open a second restaraunt, hiring many more people. But the penalties he'd trigger from Obamacare were far too expensive, so he scrapped plans to open a restaraunt. In that one instance, ten or so jobs were not created as a direct result of the ACA. This story matches my own experiences within the construction industry where a lot of people tend to start their own small firms and businesses.
Tuesday 8:15 PM:
While I download Java on my computer (reformatted this weekend and forgot about that one!) I'm watching on my Laptop. A woman who represents Washington State (missed her name) has presented the slogal "We Built It" clearly keeping Obama's terrible word choice from a few weeks ago in the spotlight. She is now introducing Kelly Ayotte.
Tuesday 8/28/2012 8:00 PM:
Just got home from the office, having difficulty getting the live stream to play on my computer. Going to update flash and see if that works.
Tuesday 8/28/2012 3:00 PM:
So far, today has seen mostly procedure with minor players, as well as Reince Preibus speaking as to the purpose of the conenvtion, the importance of it, how it will work, and what everyone can expect for the week.
Many speeches were from locals in the area, thanking the RNC for choosing Tampa, and discussing how Tampa benefits from the convention being in town. Also they acknowledged the names of those influential party members who had passed since the last convention. The list was surprisingly long, but a few names stood out, Andrew Breitbart, Ted Stevens, and Jack Kemp in particular.
Now, showing off the parties diversity, we have a congressional hopeful from California whose parents emigrated from both Africa and India. Echoing Christie's talk yesterday, he goes in brief detail about the problems plaguing his state. He spoke for roughly 5 minutes.
Now, Francisco Canseco, who represents Texas-23, is speaking. He gave half his 5 minute speech in English and the other half in Spanish.
Moving on from minorities, now they have a guy from Kentucky discussing how Obama's administration is destroying the coal industry, and how that affects electricity costs in Kentucky, which enable other industries, such as huge Toyota plant to operate there. Obama's coal policies are not just hurting coal miners, but everyone in that state and presumably in other states like it.
Now a string of more congressional hopefuls and incumbents, likely those who are running tight races in their districts. Each of them is getting a couple minutes.
Monday 8/27/2012 11:59 PM:
Chris Christie's highly anticipated speech isn't until Tuesday Night, but he's already turning heads and talking tough. Today he hosted the California delegation's Monday breakfast. At the event he gave a speech that was critical of Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, who has reprised his role as Governor after leaving the office decades ago. Christie called Brown an "old retread" and criticized Brown's leadership. He also held up his governorship as proof that conservatives can still win in heavily blue states and that California isn't a lost cause.
Former Republican California Governor Pete Wilson was in the crowd, and Christie singled him out as an example of a time when California was in good hands and things got done. In fact, California, at the time Wilson took over, was facing its worst recesion since the Great Depression. Wilson's administration in CA saw the state grow while most other states in the country were failing. Wilson left office due to term limits and handed Democrat Gray Davis a $16 billion surplus, which Gov. Davis turned into a $34 billion dollar shortfall in 2004, around the time he was recalled out of office.
Critics of Christie made sure to note NJ's high unemployment rate, which has gone up during Christie's tenure. However, this minor detail does not seem to be putting a damper on the RNC's enthusiasm for Christie, who despite inheriting a situation in NJ very similar to the situation Davis and then Schwartzenegger left Jerry Brown in CA, has managed to turn around into a success story.
Monday 8/27/2012 1:00 PM:
On the hurricane front, looks like Tampa is going to be spared the worst of it and the RNC will continue in its modified format.
The Weekly Standard has released the list of goals, themes, and talking points being circulated among Republicans at the convention. Briefly reprinted here: (Source: TWS)
"§ Monday -- We Can Do Better
§ Tuesday -- We Built It
§ Wednesday -- We Can Change It
§ Thursday – We Believe in America"
Staying true to the GOP's obsession with bringing back Ronald Reagan for an encore, and no doubt learning from Pres. Obama's 2008 run, the Romney Campaign is focusing on promoting optimism and confidence.
To further drive the point home that America is great, America will reocover, and Romney is the one to lead us to it, the RNC is making use of social media and the latest technology in unprecedented ways. They have noted the lack of enthusiasm Obama is drawing from the milennial crowd, despite its heavily liberal slant, and are trying to capitalize. 13 large screens will be videos, social network feeds, and photos, and the convention will be broadcast over both TV and internet, allowing more people to participate than ever before.
If Romney can successfully energize the base, and draw both independants and the millenial generation, who is seeing as high as 50% unemployment in some areas, this election may very well be his to lose. On the other side of the aisle, the Obama campaign is still struggling with their message and are losing the enthusiasm of their core supporters quickly. They've been running a primarily "Not Mitt Romney" campaign, whereas Romney seems to be striking a balance, 1 part "Say No to O" with 4 parts "America Is Awesome."
And a certain draw on a rainy day in Tampa will be the new Obama Documentary 2016: Obama's America. If the reactions from reviewers and friends alike is any indication, that movie will do more to drum up the base than anything Mitt can say on stage.
Sunday 8/26/2012 10:00 PM:
Protesters have been appearing at the event site all day today. One man, Jason Wilson, was arrested after failing to comply with instructions from police, presumably to stop and submit to a check for weapons. Well, police found out why. After the man resisted arrest police found, what they describe as, a "full-size" machete strapped to his leg. Looking up typical sizes for machete, one that can be bought at Cabela's is approximately 26" in length, with a 18" blade and weighs a little over a pound.
Overall, protesters have been peaceful so far. While they are trying to push the envelope slightly, they have on the whole complied with all instructions from police. Seems they've taken some lessons on proper protesting from the Tea Party.
Saturday 8/25/2012 11:30 PM:
No doubt many of you have heard that Hurricane Issac is pushing the convention back one day. No word yet on how it will affect the schedule, but a revised one is to be issued tomorrow. Rumor is that all major speeches will go as planned, but merged into the other three nights. Originally networks were not going to broadcast Monday anyway, possibly cutting Anne Romney's speech out among other things. While the storm is unfortunate for the convention goers (and of course the people who live in Florida) it does mean that she will no longer be cut out of prime-time television. Also the storm cancelled Joe Biden's distraction trip to Florida. As long as the storm passes quickly and benignly, this all may work out for the best.
Not going to lie though. I'm happy I cancelled my trip to convention. Who wants to spend thousands of dollars to be trapped by the weather in a tiny room all day... I already get that in my apartment!
Saturday 8/25/2012 4:30 PM:
For those without a television like me, live coverage on ABC for Monday is available via youtube!
For those in the NY area, your local New York Republican Party will be starting their week Sunday night with a welcoming party at Tropicana Field.
Every day during the week will begin with a Delegation Breakst, each hosted by a different prominent party members. Breakfast hosts include: NY State Senator Dean Skelos, Former US Senator from NY Al D'Amato (famous for a fillibuster where he read through the DC phonebook), and Governor Luis Fortuno, current Governor of Puerto Rico.
Every night the delegates and guests from NY will attend luncheons and parties at local establishments in the Tampa area with other delegations. They will have special events with Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and the Virgin Islands. There will also be events during the week for the full RNC, held at various stadiums and large venues throughout the area.