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Monday, August 30, 2010

The Convention Part II

The Convention Part II

As I sit and try to figure out what to write about the Mi GOP State Convention, there are two over-riding premises I want to keep in mind about the details I’m writing.

1. The Michigan GOP leadership tried through manipulating the process to get their candidates nominated, through last minute rule changes.

2. That process was not entirely successful due to the efforts of the Tea Party. The Tea Party came out on the high moral ground.

As I said in Part I of this article (see previous post), the Tea Party Caucus was the political ticket to get. That platform was an opportunity for the Tea Party to pick who they supported and bring a substantial voting block to the convention floor. That did not happen except in the case of SOS candidate Ruth Johnson. AG candidate Mike Bishop did get a leg up also and I believe that helped him come close in his attempt to get nominated.

The Tea Party Caucus was taken over and driven by the Tea Party Alliance of which Tea Party of West Michigan is a member. They turned what could have been a unifying moment/ a defining moment into a quagmire of conflicting messages and broken down procedures. More on that later.

Fred and I along with the Uriartes luckily arrived early because we wanted to sit in on the Rules Committee meeting. We only had about a 20 min. wait to get into the Breslin Center and get our credentials. { Later I found out that they ran out of credentials due to the large number of PDs coming. After people had been waiting up to 2 hours outside to get in they decided to let everyone in and not worry about the credentials. !!!! This meant that the credentials were meaningless as a way to count votes on the floor. }

This all happened unbeknownst to us because we went our separate ways. Fred and I went to the Rules meeting. Lots of confusing things went on there and I won’t bore you with the details.

I was lucky to take pictures as this was closed to the press.
The overall summary I will say about this meeting is that time constraints were the overriding justification for all of the decision. To explain. When the subject was brought up about whether they could have additional paper ballot votes from the floor, it was pointed out that this would cause an undue delay because they would have to have 2500 ballots printed up while everyone waited. Mainly because of that it was then voted to have a “show of hands” vote instead if the situation arose. It did and I’ll explain later. This whole concept proved a fallacy as I will explain later.

This was a long Rules meeting and went until the leaders left to gavel the convention to order.

Here is where it started getting interesting.

Bill Cooper announced his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor at the Tea Party Caucus the night before as I posted in Part I. Convention day, Don Jaekel was trying to get Bill on the agenda. I knew this because Fred was in contact with him right along. Before the Rules Meeting came to order I talked to the vice parliamentarian about Bill getting on the agenda and he said that he would let me know by the end of the Rules meeting. I followed through and met the Chief Parliamentarian for the party who gave me the specifics of who what and when. I relayed this to Don through Fred but by then Don was in a secure room waiting for someone from the party. The bottom line was they knew we were serious and would not let this be brushed aside so there was a frantic rush to get Fred, Don and Bill up front in the staging area to get our final instructions. It was at this point where the pressure was put on us to not do this.

{The only example of which I took part was “behind the busses” with the Grassroots chair. He was telling us how much he believed in the Tea Party etc and that this was not the time to do this. I asked him then what was the last time he went to a meeting of a Tea Party. I then told him that he of all people should understand that this is about recognition about respect. That seemed to take the wind out of his sails. Don and Fred were obviously not changing their minds at this point.
To Don’s credit he didn’t buckle. Bill was standing apart from that part of the discussion.

To the Party’s credit the nomination of Bill Cooper went forward. At the time I was down in front taking pictures up close but to give out credit where it is due, I heard that David Farhat during this time called for and got a near unanimous vote (30-1) from the Muskegon Delegation for Bill Cooper.

Don Jakel giving the nominating speech for Bill Cooper

Fred Bertsch giving the seconding speech.

Don Jaekel gave a great nominating speech and Fred Bertsch gave a resounding seconding speech. Bill Cooper then gave a speech which was heartfelt. {To background -Remember that we all were told that Bill wasn’t going to be given a chance to speak until/if he was nominated (elected). What Bill said must have been pretty much off the cuff, I assume mostly from his talk at the Tea Party Caucus the night before.} His speech had everybody listening, he made a statement that fell on receptive ears.

Then the fun began. The Speaker then called for a show of hands in favor of Brian Calley. It happened so fast that this reporter didn’t think the audience really had grasped what was going on. At this point Kevin Heine was trying to get recognized by the Chair and he soon took to pounding on the stage and talking from the microphone. Finally he was recognized and Kevin called for a paper ballot. Then the whole thing broke down.

{As background please remember they ran out of credentials and let anybody in who wanted, there was no way to tell from the floor whether who raised their hand was a Credentialed PD or not.} The flaw of the voting system became apparent to all. Whether the rules committee was convened for that purpose at this point is conjecture. The Rules meeting called at such short notice is suspect. For example Justin Amash had not had enough notice to physically make the journey to get to vote in the committee.

After and during another failed attempt to get a vote by show of hands from the floor for Calley there was hasty discussions on stage between the leadership and Bill Cooper. Ron Wiser the State Chair and the legal counsel along with the parliamentarian were the main discussers.

While this was going on there was a growing uproar from the front of the stage where Kevin had made his motion and Don Jakel also ended up there and began being bombarded by the party and by Calley supporters. It was my opinion that the Calley supporters were also soundly in support of paper ballots. They were afraid that the un-documented (aliens – oops I couldn’t pass that up) the un-credentialed would be strongly in favor of the Tea Party Candidate; and in my opinion the independent anti politician crowd would swing that way also. I believe Bill Cooper actually had a chance to win a hand count of the approx. 4,000 in attendance, only half of whom were legally entitled to vote. By now the crowd had become pretty upset with the powers that be for all the delays and other faults in that convention.

I applaud Kevin for calling for the Point of Order but it could have worked against Cooper. However this is all academic as they could not get a legal hand vote and Kevin was right, a paper ballot was the only way to get a legal vote.

{ To background this was done later in the voting process for the different offices—Two hours tops to settle this affair. Please keep in mind I state this in hindsight. – The reality was that this idea would have taken at least 2 hours to get put in place and another two hours to happen. I would guess that the rules committee would claim they needed to meet separately but the whole convention would have been broken up over this. Would that be wise? Better and louder bloggers and talkers will be arguing this for months to come.}

On other issues, Mike Bishop had the closet race and lost to Bill Schuette by about 100 votes. Again in my opinion this Convention was stacked in favor of Schuette and for Mike to get within 100 votes goes to him as a candidate and I believe to the Tea Party which brought a lot of votes his way. {To background on the Tea Party, the Friday Caucus was split between the two with the edge going to Bishop, if Clem and Joan would have thrown their support towards Bishop he may well have carried the day.}

At the Caucus the night before Ruth Johnson won an overwhelming victory over her contenders. This was carried over to the State Convention the next day and she won the nomination for Secretary of State.

My conclusion on what needs to be done to straighten both the Tea Party and the GOP Party out. Hey I have a right!!! If you disagree, feel free to comment or start your own blog. Lol

1. As time was the deciding factor (excuse), let’s go back to a two day convention where floor fights add to the strength of the convention and not detract from it/not used as an excuse to Rahm Emmanual things through.

2. The Tea Party apparatus (leadership) in Michigan would be better represented through the Tea Party of West Michigan and not the Tea Party Alliance. I believe from the Friday Tea Party Caucus they put on they showed they lacked the leadership skills to run the event, plus the TPof WMI brings more membership to the table. Either that or the West Mi. group should break away from the Alliance.

3. The main thing – my main issue I fight for – is to change the party from within, to take over the party from within. Two words encapsulate it all. Precinct Delegates. We have another election coming up at the end of November. This is where we vote and decide on who runs our individual county parties. From there the next state convention will decide on the leadership of the District leadership. {To background, the Rules committee is made up of the leadership of the Districts}. If we as a Tea Party are serious about taking over this party we need to first take over the County then the District apparatus. That is a lot of work. BUT we have a great start.

My conclusion on the Bill Cooper Insurection, or as Jeff Roys told me excitedly after the “hand vote” fiasco. This is the stuff of legends. About what Mr. Cooper did

1. Bill did the only and the right thing by withdrawing his candidacy.

2. The only way he could have legally won was from a paper ballot vote and he could not have won that in my opinion.

3. If it would have come to that as he later told me he and the Tea Party would have become “Toxic” to the party.

4. I believe the main thing is to defeat the enemy and the enemy is the Democrat Party especially when it will be represented by the likes of Binero and his crew of socialists.

5. Bill Cooper by this effort brought some well deserved respect for what the Tea Party has accomplished so far in bringing change to the Republican Party. {To Background, I was happy to see and hear both Bill Cooper’s name and compliments coming from both Calley and Snyder on center stage. The pic below shows a look by Ron Wiser that to me says it all.

By this step The Tea Party has come of age as a recognized voting group in general and within the Republican Party as well. If we are not given our due – well, we will let them figure it out.}

6. For those of you who think more should have been done. Well we and you have an infinity called the future ahead of us in which we can put to practice all of our theoretical ideas. For that which we bitch about to happen as Rucker says It “needs to degenerate into work” and plenty of it. Or as Bill Cooper said simply
“Sticks and Stones”.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

Now for the pics of the winners. After all was said and done they got the victory crew on stage and let the balloons fall. Everybody was happy and shaking everyones hands, below are the pics I took. If you can't tell my favorite is Justice Young, Mary Beth hopefully will work well with him. And I'll say this now and with truth, I will do what I can to help the whole ticket whether they are true conservtives or not. I mean I helped McCain knowing what he was because I realized what the other choice was. I ask others to think about doing the same.
Any way to the pics

Now for the local talent Remember to click pics to enlarge.

Now all that is left is cleaning out the left behinds for a new Republican Party

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Three Days of August. Part I

Click on any pics to enlarge

Three days of August. Part I

I have found that if I am serious about politics, there is always something to do and at times hard choices have to be made as to which events to go to and which ones not. These three days of August are THE prime example.

Thursday started out with the 115th regular meeting of our Carmen Group. Along with the regular group Pat and Frank Uriarte were there and later Goeff Hansen dropped by.

After that I checked on my garden plot at Love Community Garden and picked some cherry tomatoes to munch on. Caught up on precinct happenings from Morning Bear, and kept up my search for a home to buy in the precinct. Thursday was a nice peaceful day without a conflict on the schedule.

Friday was when the hard choices had to be made.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been helping out the Goeff Hansen campaign for the 34th state senate seat for around 20 months. I also have been in the Tea Party movement since its inception, recently serving as the Chair of the Muskegon Tea Party.

Conflict #1. Goeff Hansen had one of his major fundraisers; a “Corn Boil” up in Hart starting at 6pm. At the same time there was a caucus for the Tea Party Precinct Delegates in Lansing that night, the night before the State Republican convention. I had been active in promoting Precinct Delegates since before the Tea Party started and as I was a PD I felt my loyalty must be for the Caucus, and the upcoming convention.

Fred Bertsch picked me up around 6pm and off we went to Holt just outside of Lansing. As we pulled up I was happy to see the busses from the “Spending Revolt Tour” run by Americans for Prosperity. I was also glad that Scott Hagerstrom was there. We had become friends on the trip to the Defending the American Dream Summit in DC last year. I signed my name on the bus.

As we came up to the entrance of the building there was a gauntlet formed by candidates and their staffers which we had to run to gain entrance. Everyone was reaching to shake hands and trying to slap campaign stickers on you, it was kind of strange.

Once inside we signed up and old friend Rod Merrill was at our sign in spot. Then we were able to mingle, take pictures and talk with old friends. For those of you in doubt, The Tea Party has grown and kept together to the point that all the candidates were enticed to show up. Rick Synder didn’t show, but as far as I could see all the other ones were there. At the last minute Calley, Rick Synder’s pick for Lt. Governor showed up. This event became the pre convention “ticket to get” in Lansing.

There were over 700 people there all the seats were filled and the walls were covered with the standing room only. The organization of the event however was pretty poor at least in execution; however everyone seemed to put up with it. The sheer numbers that showed up caused some of the problems. That problem of overcrowding as you will see in Part II of this blog foreshadowed the same problems the next day at the State Republican Convention. The Republicans have been around for over 100 years and the Tea Party for 2. They did good.

There was a straw poll taken and that is where the disorganization reared its head highest. Of the 700 there were over 200 voting Precinct Delegates to the State convention. Those were the ones who were allowed to vote in the straw poll. In the straw poll for AG the Tea Party picked Mike Bishop in a tight vote over Bill Shutie . For Secretary of State Ruth Johnson was the overwhelming vote over the 2nd and 3rd place finishers Anne Norlander and Cameron Brown.

Of all the candidates present, Secretary of State candidate Ruth Johnson was the darling of the Tea Party and as you will see at the Convention this translated into a hard fought victory for her. Bob Young the incumbent Supreme Court Judge was not present but he also was the darling of the Tea Party Movement. He has appeared at many Tea Party meetings and his “Rule of Law Court” platform based on the Constitution found loud and overwhelming support within the Tea Party as well as the Republican Party.

The candidate who wasn't a candidate yet, who is also a favorite of the Conservatives and who the following day will take another step along his path in a Reaganesq moment at the State Republican Convention.

Bill Cooper

The pictures I took are with a new SLR camera and I am still learning to use it.

The voting was long and the whole thing took a lot longer than the planners and I thought. Fred dropped me off around 1:30 and I didn’t get to bed until after 2am. I set my alarm for 4am so Fred could pick me up again this time at the Kmart parking lot at 5am. Pat and Frank Uriarte were going with us to the State Convention also.

Hope you enjoy the pics. I’ll be posting Part II which will be about the convention. Lots of insights into the Cooper affair and all else and lots of pics.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative