Greetings again, dear readers!
I will start by again thanking Katie for allowing me to crash her blog – hope y’all enjoyed my last blog post. I’m planning to finish up reporting on the Republican State Convention in today’s post.
Last time, I left you at the break after we approved the report of the Permanent Rules Committee. Chairman Munisteri gaveled us into recess so that some of the delegation could go to the RPT Gala with special guest Rick Santorum. I was unable to attend the Gala, but I did hear of something terrific that happened at the dinner. According to several attendees, a balloon popped while Santorum was speaking. He quipped, “They missed!” while the lady sitting next to Rep. Jason Isaac reached for her boot. (Hooray for the 2nd Amendment!) This theme followed throughout the convention. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson retorted that the only reason Texas Republicans were being so nice to each other at Convention was because, “we’re all packing!” He was probably right, too!
After dinner, the delegation came back into the arena to begin deliberating the Party Platform. It was at this point that I realized what an asset to our Party Chairman Steve Munisteri is. He explained every single action, helping speakers along with correct verbiage and Robert’s Rules etiquette. He ran the most organized and courteous convention I have ever had the pleasure to attend. Republicans in Texas are blessed to have him.
Onto the Platform. There were really only a few major changes, but they were vigorously argued. One topic that didn’t cause a fight on the floor because of the actions of the Permanent Platform Committee was that of the pro-life planks of our Platform. The sub-committee had eliminated much of the wording, significantly changing and weakening our Party’s official stance on the pro-life agenda. However, when the sub-committee made their report to the Permanent Committee, they were overruled and the entirely of the 2010 language was reinstated to the 2012 Platform. This plank was not touched by the General Delegation, so remains as strong as it was written two years ago.
On the floor of the general session, we inserted a plank urging the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency. It passed overwhelmingly.
An amendment to the plank on Health and Human Services mandates regarding standing with the Catholic bishops on the issue of birth control failed. Most of the arguments against it focused on the fact that if we mentioned support for the Catholic Church, we should mention all faiths.
The last portion of the Platform was the most hotly debated and consisted of most of the 2.75 hours of debate Friday night: immigration. The 2012 Platform Committee probably spent the most time on this portion. The language on the issue of immigration in the 2010 Platform was very spirited, but more “one-liners” about what we believed than an approach on how to fix the problem. The committee took nearly all of the issues and moved them to the appropriate sections, (i.e., in-state tuition for non-citizens was moved to the “Education” plank, etc.)
They replaced the 2010 language with what they dubbed “The Texas Solution.” It included two sections that caused a majority of the issues within the general delegation. First, it eliminated the strong language against amnesty, including acknowledging the fact that it would be “impractical” to deport all of the illegal immigrants in our country. It also advocated for a temporary worker program for those immigrants who would come to the country legally (or, for those already here illegally, would pay all fines associated with their crime) to work.
Several attempts were made to replace the 2012 language with the 2010 language. After vigorous and loooong debate, that motion failed. The arguments were that the language was not strong enough, and that eliminated much of the plank. Supporters of the 2012 language pointed out that nothing was lost of the 2010 language – it was just placed in different areas of the Platform. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson received special permission from the delegation to speak in favor of the new language about the Temporary Worker Program (since Commissioner Patterson was not a delegate, we had to suspend the rules to allow him to speak.) People tried to amend the 2012 language on numerous occasions, but every motion failed. We gaveled out of that long session about half after 11 p.m.
Saturday morning, we started our second Congressional District Caucuses. The job of each CD was to elect 3 delegates and 3 alternates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL in August. Additionally, we were to nominate a man and a woman to represent Texas on the Republican National Committee. Finally, each CD elected a presidential elector to go to the Electoral College in December of this year.
While, of course, each of the 36 Congressional Districts conducted their own business, my CD, CD-19 elected me as first alternate to the National Convention, and one of our longest working Republican women to the electoral college. Our CD nominated Weston Martinez and Borah Van Dormolen to the RNC, but most of the CDs nominated Dr. Robin Armstrong, former Vice-Chairman of the RPT. All of the CDs nominated Borah Van Dormolen as Committeewoman. Weston and Chairman Curt Nelson conceded to Dr. Armstrong, so he was elected as RNC Committeeman.
Representative Paul Ryan spoke to the general delegation, as did Ted Cruz and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Many of the CDs (including mine) were not done with their business when these gentlemen spoke, but I heard Cruz gave a very energetic speech. Lt. Gov. Dewhurst gave a rousing speech as well, though the crowd became unruly, yelling, “You Lie!” at most of his statements. I spoke with several of the so-called “Cruz Crew” after the speeches, and they, like me, were vastly disappointed in the lack of decorum by some Cruz supporters.
With the last of the CD results in, the RPTCon was officially over. Those of us elected as delegates and alternates to the National Convention had another meeting to go to – most importantly, we elected Governor Rick Perry to be the official chair of our delegation. In addition, the following people were elected to the RNC Permanent Convention Committees: Tom Washington and RNC Committeewoman Borah Van Dormolen to the Organizational Committee, Eric Opiela (RPT Asst. General Counsel) and Mandy Schope (RPT Secretary) to the Credentials Committee, David Barton of WallBuilders and Denise McNamera to the Platform Committee (this was particularly exciting to me, as David Barton is a terrific Constitutional Conservative, and will have a lot of force on the RNC Platform), finally: Butch Davis and Melinda Fredericks (RPT Vice Chair) to the RNC Rules Committee.
The rest of the meeting was informational, discussing hotels and other information in preparation for the Republican National Convention, which will be held August 27-30 in Tampa, FL. Perhaps if your wonderful author allows me, I will be able to keep you advised as to the goings-on of the Convention, when the time comes. It would be an honor!
Until then – safe travels and a terrific summer!
God Bless Texas,
Kristen Vander-Plas, @KVPTexas