2004 Washington State Republican Convention, Day Two

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Day two of the 2004 Washington State Republican Convention was far more boring than day one. And a bit more angering.


We had a keynote speaker today, RNC Deputy Chairman Maria Cino. She noted how important this year's election is, especially in the State of Washington. There are few races expected to be close in the Senate and House, but three of them are in WA. Further, WA is one of the few "battleground" states for the Presidential election.

She talked a bit about how well the GOP is doing these days, having a majority not just in the House and Senate, and not just holding the Presidency, but Laos having a majority of houses and senates in the states, and a majority of governorships. The Democrats really are losing this country. They really are the minority party in every sense of the word, all across this country. But it is close enough that this could all change, this year.

Voting, and Losing Again

As I suspected, I didn't get a chance to speak on my own behalf. There were 124 candidates for at-large delegate, and only 11 spots (plus 11 delegates). I got some support, but not nearly enough to win.

One person moved to allow each candidate to speak for 30 seconds. This would require close to two hours of our time, it was estimated. We compromised and had each candidate file in front of the podium, after having the chairman speak their name.

The slates that had been removed from the ballot by amendment to the rules were on a separate piece of paper today, as they should have been. The initial plan was to use punchcard ballots, but they were tested the previous evening and the machine broke. Back to pen and paper.

The first ballot turned up only three winners (candidates being named on a majority of the ballots) of 11 spots. So we voted again, this time getting seven more. Most of those selected were on the slate. We were about set to vote one more time to get the final delegate, when someone moved we suspend the rules to just take the next candidate who had the most votes, from the last ballot. The motion passed.

Then we voted on alternates. This time, a motion was made to suspend the rules to take the top 11, regardless of majority. It passed. Later, we also voted for the two electors, along the same lines.

Unfortunately, the above voting process took several hours. It was entirely ridiculous. At least, while they were counting the first vote, we were able to get the platform passed without much discussion. Indeed, a motion was made to adopt the platform without any amendments, and it was passed. I've never seen a platform adopted so quickly.

More Speakers

So then we split for lunch, and when we came back, they were still not done counting. Two hours later, about three hours after voting, we were still doing nothing. So we listened to some more speakers: people running for Congress.

My district, as mentioned previously, has three Republicans running for Congress: Suzanne Sinclair, Glenn Coggeshell (the sword dude), and -- the man whose name I could not recall the last time -- Larry Klepinger. Larry and Suzanne spoke in the congressional district caucus on Day One, and Glenn and Suzanne spoke on Day Two.

I got to speak briefly to Larry and Glenn. I like them both, but I think maybe Suzanne has the best chance against Democrat Rick Larsen. Larry would make a fine candidate, and in some ways a better one, but I think his ideas -- which I largely agree with -- are just too extreme. I will likely vote for him in the primary, though. Glenn is just too unpolished, I think. But he thinks he can get enough grassroots support from young people. We'll see.

I think Glenn read what I wrote last time (and he might read this). He said he thought I wrote I didn't like him. As you can see, I said I wasn't impressed. Those are very different things, to me. I don't dislike him, I just think his campaign lacks what it takes to win this sort of a race. "Unpolished" was the main reason why at the county convention, and it's the main reason why today.

More Voting

After the platform, we still had to pass the resolutions. But after an hour of doing nothing and another hour or more listening to more speakers, we were still waiting, and it was getting late. Some of us tried to get to the resolutions, but the chair, for some reason, decided we couldn't, because we were in the middle of the (on hold) voting process. But if we could pass the platform while the voting was on hold, why not resolutions?

We finally got to to the resolutions. They were split up into three sections: those the platform committee recommended, those it made no recommendation on, and those it recommended against.

The first resolution was to propose to change the state law so that Washington electors would be granted by popular vote by congressional district, not the state (except for the two at-large delegates, which would continue to be awarded by the statewide count). On principle, I like this better, although several valid objections were raised, including the weakening of WA's status as a battleground state. It passed.

The next resolution was, despite initially being recommended, rejected because it was considered redundant and unnecessarily negative. It was about unions, trying to express support for union members while not supporting all the goals of the unions themselves.


Then, the fireworks started. There were two more recommended resolutions, one expressing support for the war, and another expressing support for changing laws to give both parents equal rights regarding their children (apparently, some laws are skewed toward granting more rights to mothers than fathers). Then there was one resolution with no recommendation: expression of support for a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Now, in some ways, this amendment was redundant. The adopted platform says the WA GOP supports "an amendment to the United States Constitution defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman." But the resolution went further, calling for an amendment that would explicitly ban the states from recognizing gay marriages, and appears to me to even ban the granting of civil union rights. It also demanded the state party send a copy of the proposed amendment to the President, congresspeople, and more.

One delegate moved to adjourn the meeting, which would have the effect of adopting the last two recommended resolutions, and rejecting the ones with no recommendations, or negative recommendations. Seeing this as a clear ploy to avoid debate, many of us rose in objection. However, it was noted that our business was not done: we needed to hear the results of the previous delegate and elector voting. Someone else noted we didn't need to hear those results; but someone else noted we still needed to vote to approve the district electors voted on in the districts on the previous day.

So, the motion was withdrawn, and I told the person next to me that as soon as we voted to approve those electors, she would re-introduce the motion, which she was about to do, but someone apparently convinced her not to. I'm not sure what happened. She left soon afterward.

The next two resolutions went quickly, to my dismay. It was close to 6 p.m., and no one was interested in discussing anything. It made me quite angry, because we had wasted so much time during the day, when we could have been doing something useful. This is how bad laws get made. Thankfully, we were not doing anything nearly as important as legislation.

The pro-war resolution, I wished to amend. I didn't get a chance, because someone called for the question before I had a chance. Basically, the resolution had one phrase where it our "freedom gives misguided dissenters in America and other free countries the right to protest this war all they like." I wished to strike the word "misguided." Further, it said, "politically motivated attacks upon President Bush and the military serve only to assist the enemy by encouraging hatred of the United States," and I wished to strike that whole section.

But, at 6 p.m. on Saturday night, no one wants to hear it.

After the two resolutions were passed, another motion was introduced to adjourn. This time, it unfortunately succeed.

As some of you reading this know, I am against a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. I am against that plank of the platform. I am even more against what was stipulated in this resolution. But refusing to allow debate on it -- taking procedural actions to take away someone's voice -- is unconscionable to me.

It sickens me, really. The party leadership should apologize for running the day poorly, such that we wasted so many hours and were put into that situation (maybe they did it on purpose?), and the members who intentionally took an end run around democracy should apologize for being anti-democratic tools.


Betty Neighbors, the wife of our county vice-chairman told me she had just been interviewed by Fox Q13 news about the Log Cabin Republicans. I TiVo'd the 10 o'clock news, and just watched it. It started off saying, "State Republicans are meeting in Bellevue this weekend, and their new platform is stirring up a lot of controversy." (emphasis theirs) It was about the plank stating support of a gay marriage amendment.

I watched the story, and saw the state party chairman Chris Vance say, "The Log Cabin Republicans are good, loyal Republicans. They disagree with the President and the majority of the party on this one issue. And that's fine."

Then Betty said, "I believe the Republican party offers a big tent, and we are inclusive of other people."

Then a member of the Log Cabin Republicans said, "The great thing about the Republican party is that you can have an open debate, you can disagree with people, but you come together on things that really matter," like taxes, education, and limited government.

The report also noted that the platform was adopted with no amendments, no complaints. So where's all the controversy the news anchor was lying about^W^Wreferring to? I see almost none, and she said there was a lot of it. I see disagreement, but they showed no controversy in their story, and I saw no controversy while I was there.

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