Monday, July 18, 2016

1st day report from RNC NATIONAL CONVENTION!

by Steve Fair

The first day of the 2016 GOP convention is in the books.  Speakers included two Oklahomans- Governor Mary Fallin(who will also speak on Thursday night) and OKC Mayor Mick Cornett in the afternoon session.  Prime time speakers were Willie Robertson, former Governor Rick Perry, Marcus Luttrell, Oz and Tig from 13 hours in Benghai, Sheriff David Clarke, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Melania Trump.   The theme of the evening session was “Make America Safe Again.”  Donald Trump made a brief appearance and before he introduced his wife declared: “We are going to win!  We are going to win so big!”  I have never seen a politician other than Reagan who can fire up a crowd like Trump.  He is confident, self-assured and fearless.  Those are characteristics of exceptional leaders.  While there is still a Never Trump movement among the delegates, his wife’s address tonight may have moved some.  A delegate I spoke to after her speech told me: “I like her.  She seems so together and humble. I can get on the Trump bandwagon now after hearing her.”  That may not be the response of all women, but it is a start. 
     Trump’s family is scheduled to speak throughout the convention.  Many on the RNC think Ivanka Trump is Donald’s secret weapon with women.  She speaks on Thursday, when the theme is “Make America one again” Continental Resources’ Harold Hamm speaks on Wednesday night. 
Enthusiasm is high among the Oklahoma delegation.  The city of Cleveland has done an amazing job and security is very tight.  There are a lot of receptions/events in the course of the week hosted by elected officials and sponsors.  Governor Fallin sat with the delegation on the floor Monday night for over an hour.  Oklahoma is sitted to the right of the speaker, directly behind Alabama.  Oregon is across the aisle. 
     The business of the convention: rules, platform, and credentials went off with little fanfare.  The effort to unbind the delegates failed to gain significant support among the 112 members of the rules committee.  They needed to have 28 members sign off on a minority report to get to the floor.  They got less than half that.  The platform committee crafted a very conservative platform, leaving in the traditional marriage plank intact.  The platform is also very pro-life and strong on the second amendment.  An attempt to consolidate the platform into a one page ‘statement of principles’ failed to pass the committee.  The Credentials committee dealt with several ‘disputes’ in delegations, most notably the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Some mainlanders moved to the island and out organized the small state Party and took over.  While questionable what their motive and tactics were/are, they were within the rules to do so and were seated as delegates.  No roll call votes were taken today, in spite of an attempt to have the rules committee vote be taken by roll call. 
     National Conventions present opportunities to meet other like-minded people.  I met Robert J. Dechert from Ontario, Canada.  He is a former member of the Canadian Parliament.  In 1994, Dechert formed the “Blue Committee,” a group of conservatives who ultimately formed the Conservative Party of Canada.  Dechert was defeated last year, when Canada kicked out the conservatives and the liberals won 184 seats and installed Justin Trudeau, Pierre Trudeau’s son, as prime minister.  He is here as a guest of Oklahoma state auditor Gary Jones.  Very interesting gentlemen who is planning to launch an effort to take back Canada from the liberals.  He also told me that Canada is ‘paying for a $4 billion bridge’ from Detroit to Windsor because 25% of the goods exchanged between the two countries goes over that bridge.  Dechert said, “Mexico will pay for the wall.  I have no doubt the political pressure will be such they will have to pay for the wall because of trade.” 
     Tomorrow morning(Tuesday) Governor Scott Walker will speak at our delegation breakfast.  Congressmen Cole and Lucas are here at the hotel and Senators Lankford and Inhofe will be here later in the week. The spirits of the 43 delegates and 40 alternates is high.  Pray for a safe convention.  Unity would be great, but safety is our primary concern. 

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