I was in the Bay Area this weekend to check out the California Republican Party Convention. So were a great many other journos — especially on Saturday, when presidential hopeless Newt Gingrich got into town, and the Hyatt filled up with national media and reporters from the big California newspapers.
The result: lots of double-bylined stories telling readers what Newt Gingrich said in a speech that was video-recorded by dozens of sources and is readily available in full to anybody with a connection to the internet.
There were also some interesting bits of coverage, many of those collected by Jon Fleischman’s Flash Report blog, the indispensable resource for Golden State Republican news. Here are some samples.
Fox & Hounds Managing Editor Ashley Hemkin wishes Ron Paul supporters would take their energy, enthusiasm and organizational skills and go bother somebody else:
As California Republican Party’s spring convention Saturday’s lunch was about to commence, featuring presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, hundreds of Ron Paul supporters stormed into the Hyatt. Paul’s supporters took over the main display area at the hotel, and crammed into balconies and stairways. Their chanting could be heard throughout the hotel, halting conversations, committee meetings and luncheon attendees...
Sure, these outbursts get press (obviously I am helping his campaign by writing this) but is it helping Paul get closer to clinching the nomination? The cost and coordination of hundreds of people is expensive and laborious.
Why not take those resources and energy to blanket nearby neighborhoods and identify supporters. Knocking on doors can change election results up to 8% experts say. Maybe these campaign supporters could even join us at the CRP convention and educate attendees on why Ron Paul is the best candidate using reason and intelligence.
Jerry Roberts of CalBuzz interviews Newt Gingrich on immigration, women and why the state with the most voters in it has almost no impact on the primaries:
Do you think California’s going to matter in the end?
Yes. I think Texas and California coming late virtually guarantees that nobody’s going to have a majority before. Listen, I came to this convention to literally outline why I think California will be in play this fall. I’m going to talk about energy, I’m going to talk about Afghanistan and I’m going to talk about putting California in play.
Conservative activist Mike Spence created the Conservative Republicans of California in the aftermath of a divisive leadership fight at the California Republican Assembly, a 75-year-old group that bills itself as the "conscience of the Republican Party." The charter allows the new group, which includes several GOP legislators, to use the party's insurance policy, reserve space at the convention at a lower cost and assign one delegate to vote on party matters.
Spence's effort to place a vote to charter his new organization on Sunday's general session agenda stalled in a committee earlier in the weekend. CRP Chairman Tom Del Beccaro initially tried to block his move to bring up the issue on the floor as the end of the session neared. A voice vote on whether to take up Spence's motion was too close to call, leading Del Beccaro to ask opposing camps to congregate in different areas of the hotel banquet room so the votes could be counted without a roll call. Del Beccaro, who had argued that the procedural issue should be worked out in a committee, was out-voted by delegates and the charter was approved after continued debate on the merits of the group.
Flash himself is happy with the way that floor fight turned out:
This go around, there was a major run at the platform by party moderates, seeking to water down the platform by reducing its length and making it far less specific in many policy areas, and eliminating some areas at all. The well-funded effort (by Charles Munger, Jr., son of Warren Buffet’s business partner, and now the Chairman of the Santa Clara County GOP) to water-down/moderate the platform was defeated in a rather high-profile platform committee meeting at the CRP’s Fall ’11 convention in Los Angeles. At this convention the critics of a conservative party platform did not choose to engage in what would have been a public drubbing, and the conservative draft platform was adopted without any meaningful opposition.
I want to thank the many conservative activists who played some role in this victory.
Patch.com's David Carini notes that Tim Pawlenty was as encouraging to the anemic Golden State GOP as you'd expect a Jim Nabors lookalike from the Gopher state to be:
“If I can be a conservative governor in Minnesota, we can do it anywhere,” he said, noting that Minnesota has elected liberal politicians such as Al Franken and Walter Mondale.
He told Californians that they live in the most entrepreneurial and innovative state in the country, and they must fight to keep it that way, arguing that only lower taxes and less government intervention will stimulate the economy.
San Francisco Chronicle culture blogger Beth Spotswood objects to the lack of food for reporters:
Having had enough of that, we headed down to the ‘banquet’ which was held in the ballroom. As “press” we weren’t actually allowed to dine at the banquet. The press was escorted through a separate door and seated along the wall. We were expected to simply watch Republicans eat.
I was unexpectedly impressed by Pawlenty’s quiet but on-target comments to the California GOP; heartened by the brief signs of life Ron Paul supporters and the convention's Liberty Caucus brought to the convention; and pessimistic about the California Republicans’ ability to admit they have a problem.
This last part remains a topic of dismal consideration. I’m not a Republican or a conservative, but nothing good can come of the Democrats’ tight and tightening grip on nearly all areas of California politics. Most states need a third party. California needs a second.
Here's Fleischman interviewed a while back by Reason.tv:
Here are Ron Paul supporters halting conversations, committee meetings and luncheon comments — most of which were focused on the problem of lack of enthusiasm among Republican voters: