I arrived at the 2009 Convention of the Republican Party of Virginia on Friday. Unlike previous years, this year I went to the Colosseum. This year the party had an especially large convention. Because of the crowd, over 10,000 delegates and 1000 guests, the convention exceeded the capacity of the Convention Center, and the show had to be moved to the Colosseum. Much like President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama has not wasted any time rallying the opposition.
The first thing I did is register. Then I received my badge with a gold sticker. This sticker informed all who cared to learn that I am a VIP, but none seemed to notice. I am afraid a payment of $35 does not buy a lot of importance.
I am a peon, at best a foot soldier. When we earn honor, it lies in the fact we choose to fight for a good cause. With that in mind, I attended to the business of the convention. I avoided those matters I considered extravagant for one of my means and health. When you have gout, cocktail receptions and fancy dinners lose much of their appeal.
The Main Business
So how did the business go? On the whole, I think most of the attendees rated the convention a success for the Conservative cause.
Bob McDonnell is now formally the Republican Party nominee for governor. While McDonnell is not the hard core Conservative I would like, his record is about as good we can expect from the GOP Establishment. As was the case with President George W. Bush, I will expect there will be times a Governor McDonnell will cause Conservatives vexation. Why do I expect trouble? Although McDonald talks like Conservative, when it gets to specifics, he does not get specific about cutting spending. Here is an example. McDonnell spoke of public/private partnerships to generate transportation funding (See here for a post on this subject.). Public/private partnerships are just a fancy scheme for politicians sell public assets without proper controls to assure fair competition.
Nonetheless, McDonnell is a relatively good candidate. He is polished, has an attractive family, an excellent story, and he does not take himself so seriously he cannot joke about himself. At the convention, he pushed all the right buttons, signaling his willingness to work hard to fight for Conservative causes.
That leaves Conservatives with a difficult choice. We can try to stiffen McDonnell’s backbone (support any leader needs), or we can abandoned the battlefield to the Democrats. Given the alternative — and how Obama got elected — common sense dictates supporting McDonnell.
As expected Bill Bolling won his contest with Patrick Muldoon. Muldoon made an earnest effort. However, instead of explaining what qualified him for the job, he spent too much time attacking Bolling’s record. Since most of the delegates like and trust Bolling, Muldoon’s attacks fizzled. While less glamorous than McDonnell, Bolling is a steady and patient campaigner. Hopefully, he will steady McDonnell’s campaign.
Ken Cuccinelli won on the first ballot, and his two opponents, John Brownlee and David Foster graciously conceded. Because he is recognized as a Conservative leader, Cuccinelli had the most enthusiastic supporters at the convention. That indicates that the grassroots support and organization that Cuccinelli talks about is real. That grassroots support and organization is essential for victory. Without grassroots support and organization, the cause of limited government will be overwhelmed by moneyed special interests.
Pat Mullins, the GOP Establishment’s choice for RPV Chair, won over Bill Stanley. The job was Mullins to lose, and he did not lose it. Mullins entered the race with an reasonably good record. Mullins and his staff did a good job with the convention. Moreover, Mullins carried himself well during the convention. So Stanley’s rebellion lost steam and whatever momentum it might have had.
As one should expect, there were many speeches made during the convention. One of the most enthusiatically received was given by Adnan Barqawi, a new citizen and a student at Virginia Tech. Barqawi is a powerful speaker. Barqawi described how he came to America, and he thanked his father for saving the money that paid for his education.
Barqawi also described the values he has dedicated himself to. Here is sample of his speech. In spite of the poor quality, the video makes it clear that here is a self-possessed young man who has centered his life on the right values. Hopefully, better videos of his speech will be made available.
Sean Hannity served as the convention’s keynote speaker. The most memorable points in his speech included:
- An endorsement the McDonnell/Bolling ticket (Voting had not yet begun.).
- A list of all of Obama’s bumbling mistakes with this question: What if President George W. Bush had done the same?
- The comment that self-actualization requires individual freedom.
- A couple of Ronald Reagan quotes. Here is my favorite.
- The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’
- Ronald Reagan
40th president of US (1911 – 2004)
Rappahannock Red offers some picks and his take on the Republican ticket here.
novatownhall Blog offers a video of Cuccinelli speech here.
The SkepticalObserver provides his review of the convention here. He obviously had a good time too.
Blue Virginia reviews the prospects for a primary winner here.
Reagan Conservative enjoys Cuccinelli’s win here.
Tertium Quids provides a nice summary of the convention — a bit unnecessarily combative, but otherwise good here.
PWConservative borrows a theme from McDonnell’s speech here.
Loudoun Insider promises to stop bashing Cuccinelli here. So?
From On High complains conventions are undemocratic here. I say he is wrong. Here is an old post on the subject, and here is what Tom Kopko, one-time Chairman of the Republican Party had to say about the subject.