Sunday, April 20, 2008

10th District GOP Convention Recap

The 2008 convention was held on Saturday, 19 April. In addition to the usual politicking, the agenda included three guests of honor: Secretary of State Karen Handel, Congressman Paul Broun, and State Representative Barry Fleming. As one would expect, all three delivered what in effect were campaign speeches.

Secretary Handel led off by detailing the turnaround and increased efficiency in her office since she took charge of the department’s bureaucracy. She should cruise to reelection without much difficulty.

Paul Broun gave a synopsis of his brief time in Washington, including the bills he has introduced, explanations of
the votes he has cast, and his ratings by various conservative interest groups. He noted that he was an “originalist” insofar as constitutional matters are concerned and that he subjected every bill on which he voted to his “four way” test. All in all, just what one would expect from a newbie congressman.

Barry Fleming’s performance is harder to categorize. I think that he may well be a more polished speaker than Broun, but then Fleming has been in office longer and has been part of the state GOP establishment for years. And therein lies the problem. Many of the Party rank and file are not enamored of the hierarchy these days, at either the national or state levels.

In other circumstances, Fleming may be an attractive Republican candidate for congress. In these circumstances, however, he is the challenger – and his strategy appears to be to tear down the incumbent. He is trying to do so by outflanking Broun to the right. Fleming’s attempt to tar Broun as soft on abortion and illegal drugs is laughably disingenuous. When he made such charges, as when he said that Broun voted “to make marijuana more available,” audible muttering rippled through the room. This does not bode well for Mr. Fleming. (Yes, I am supporting Broun, but my observation is valid nonetheless.)

10th District GOP Chairman Dave Barbee also spoke, giving a heartfelt eulogy for his good friend, the late Charlie Norwood. He also, and in unequivocal terms, urged the Republicans under the Gold Dome next session to “cut taxes and go home.” I heartily agree.

Of course, the business of the convention concerned the election of three delegates to the Republican National Convention, to be held this coming September. One of our own, local attorney Regina Quick (who also serves as Clarke County Republican Committee treasurer), was selected to represent the 10th District in St. Paul.

This year’s convention was held in Mahler Auditorium at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education on the UGA campus in Athens. It is a nice facility and we experienced no problems with the registration process, the computer/projection system, or the food service. However, the venue itself prompts a couple of observations. Directly across from the doors of Mahler Auditorium, on the exterior wall of Masters Hall, currently hangs political artwork consisting of a Mexican flag superimposed on a United States flag, along with stylized portraits of such illustrious figures as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. I did not take the time to identify the several others on display, but assume they were a collection of similar leftwing Latin thugs. I was not particularly concerned about the art but, on the other hand, it does speak volumes about the academy these days. The other thing is purely prosaic. After the convention, those assembled had box lunches, I assume catered by the Georgia Center. There were no receptacles for recycling the aluminum cans, plastic bottles, or boxes used for the lunches in evidence (at least none that I saw). Given
the emphasis on recycling these days, that struck me as extremely odd - especially for a public university campus.

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