GOP Convention: Unity, Activism, and Bonds Rejected
8-21-2006 8:19 am
This last weekend, along with many hundreds of other State GOP Central Committee members, I participated in the State Republican Party Convention at the Hyatt Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. This hotel is the site of a lot of fond memories. At one point, Californians for Schwarzenegger finance guru Marty Wilson and I were reminiscing about how all of the Ronald Reagan victory parties were held in this hotel. Of course, Republicans gathered here on the night of the recall election, cheering on newly minted Governor Schwarzenegger at his victory party. So this is the hotel of Ronald Reagan...and Arnold Schwarzenegger!
Later this week, the FlashReport will be publishing its renowned "Winners and Losers of the GOP Convention" column -- and as always, many of our best ideas come from fellow attendees who submit their ideas. So you can write to me here, or even anonymously here, if you have any specific nominations that you would like to make.
My first two observations about the convention were that the attendance was a bit lower than usual for this event and that everyone at the convention was extremely positive and unified about our GOP candidates and the importance of a strong, unified effort to help those candidates to be victorious in the November elections!
GOP conventions are important for a few reasons -- the most important of which is the networking that takes place at them. California is a large state, and these biannual events are a great opportunity for GOP leaders from all 58 counties to come together and compare notes as to what is going on in the different parts of the state. California is huge, and it is extremely important that everyone understands that there is a statewide team effort on behalf of our party that comes not only from the statewide candidates, but is largely made up of the local efforts of tens of thousands of GOP volunteers from local communities.
At some conventions in the past, you could cut the tension with a knife as major issues have divided delegates. Then there are other conventions where there really isn't acrimony, but the media is taken down the rosy path by some, and so while we are unified on the same page, the story that is portrayed is a different, and inaccurate one. Since I am writing my take on the weekend, that means that I can assure all readers that if you were looking for political intrigue, this convention was very short on it (I'll share a little bit in a moment). But what this convention WAS about was pushing our GOP nominees for office, and for training and organizing for the final push in these last two and a half months.
Two Governors stole the show. Our own Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was very well received at a luncheon banquet on Saturday, where he received a rousing response from attendees as he proclaimed, "No to more Government spending! No to more Government control! And no to the policies of the past!" (The Governor entire speech is linked on the FR's main page.).
Also popular was a Saturday night dinner speech from Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. Romney is one of the front-runners for the GOP nomination for President in 2008, and he gave a red-meat conservative speech that brought delegates who attended the dinner to their feet. Romney also spoke with two carefully selected GOP groups - the Republican County Chairmen's Association, and the influential California Republican Assembly.
Governor Schwarzenegger also attended a GOP Victory phone bank that was set up at the hotel. Dubbed "Operation Sleeping Giant" -- over 12,000 calls were made by volunteers (including the Governor) from the hotel. As a matter of fact, the demand for making calls was great enough that more phones had to be added, and other delegates pulled out their own cell phones to make calls. The Governor spend almost a half hour himself making phone calls, and sharing his appreciation with volunteers. (See the photos above, right.)
For those who enjoy the 'nitty gritty' details from the convention, you can look forward to our Winners & Losers Edition, but I will close by taking a moment to congratulate GOP delegates for rejecting tens of billions of dollars in bond spending on the November ballot. The party ended up splitting its support, with approval going to some of the borrowing. But I personally feel that if the attendance was not low at this event, none of the bond measures would have been endorsed. Either way, it is important that all readers understand that the California Republican Party REJECTED all tax increase measures on the November ballot and REJECTED a substantial amount of government borrowing. There is too much run-away spending in government at the federal and state levels, and the State GOP rejects this financial irresponsibility.
On a closing note for this column, I would like to express my appreciation to the many, many delegates and to the GOP statewide organizations who endorsed my candidacy for Vice Chairman, South, of the California Republican Party. The election will not be held until February, but this weekend presented a great opportunity to talk with folks about my candidacy. If you want to read more about it, click here.
Have a great day!
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