Dallas “Does” St. Paul: The GOP Send-Off

(Pictured: delegate Donald Huffhines and Mary Catherine holding t-shirts that DC Comics might have something to say about)

So the send-off party was less party and more like a steering committee session at a Lutheran church, but there was a buzz there beyond the sugar high from some pretty darn good homemade chocolate chip cookies.

About a dozen people, including the three delegates and three alternates from the 32nd District, got together Friday afternoon at Congressman Pete Sessions’ office on Greenville Avenue across from the Arby’s in preparation for leaving for St. Paul. They weren’t just feeling beef and cheese. No, it was red meat. These people were excited. No one was talking much about McCain. They were talking about Sarah Palin. (The person that reserved that URL is JENE-YUS.)

Now the Democrat convention last week — let’s be honest. If you’re given to Obamagasms, it was the best, the tops, and the bee’s knees. (This was an older crowd in Sessions’ office. The vernacular rubbed off on me. Meh.) Barack Obama was JFK + MLK + — I don’t know, some other three-letter icon — all rolled into one.

But from an objective — or at least unconverted — viewpoint, the whole thing was pretty lackluster. The Biden announcement evoked no bounce and despite the chattering class going on an on, it’s going to be surprising if there’s much bounce after Obama’s speech.

Now, Palin may be Dan Quayle or she may be a Reagan light. (Reaganette?) But whatever proves out, she was the focus of attention, both among the delegates and on the cable channels. Not many were talking about Obama.

Jonathan Neerman, Dallas County GOP poohbah, says the Palin announcement Friday morning was working exactly as planned. He says the phones at the GOP HQ in Dallas were (he said “literally”; I groaned) ringing off the hook from Hillary voters who say they were on the fence and now going McCain. One even stopped by the office, he says, with a $1,000 check.

“Okay, so we’ll take credit for the pick,” he says.

Bruce Galloway, whose wife Carolyn is one of the delegates, couldn’t stop smiling.

But Palin, I pointed out, has little experience — just as governor and a business owner, and her constituency (about 350,000 680,000 Alaskans) is smaller than the city of Arlington Fort Worth.

“So what?” Galloway says, which I love. “They say she’ll have to learn on the job. That’s what VPs do. Their ticket, they want the president to learn on the job. Now that’s a problem. She can learn on the job. We can’t afford for Obama to have to.”

And she does have more executive experience than McCain, Obama, and Biden put together. So there’s that.

The biggest problem the GOP has had, in terms of ginning up enthusiasm, is that McCain isn’t exactly a darling of the conservative base. Donald Huffhines, one of the other delegates, admits he wasn’t a McCain man. Everyone seems to think Palin’s conservative credentials — reformer, NRA life member (woo-hoo!), pro-life, and all that — will bring the hardcore conservatives back for another look.

“She’s what we want as a Republican,” Galloway says. “The conservative base is thrilled. In the GOP, conservative women are the workers. So there’s going to be movement. And the right-to-lifers have been sitting in a corner sucking their thumbs. They’re going to be getting up and kicking in.”

I mentioned that it did seem strange that if Palin was such a bad choice, why are Democrats so upset and angry? As Admiral Horatio Nelson once said, when your enemy is making a blunder, don’t get in his way.

“They’re mad they got outfoxed. They didn’t expect this, and they know it’s going to be effective,” Galloway says, more confident than some Republicans who are worrying she may not be able to hold her own against her adversary, Joe Biden, who, say what you will, is an experienced political pugilist.

Remember when Quayle and Lloyd Bentsen debated? Yeah, they’re thinking that could happen. But they’re the silent minority among the ‘Pubbies right now. Still, the Dallas Republicans are jazzed.

“I think a lot of soccer moms are about to become hockey moms,” says June Rentmeetser, one of the alternate delegates, who was at the 2004 convention. She likes Palin’s support of offshore and ANWR drilling, as well as the fact that Palin is an Army mom. “Picking her really made clear the choice we’re facing. It shows the difference.”

When the meeting was called to order, Neerman gave a rundown on some of the basics. There was talk of the uniforms the delegates would be wearing. Texas GOP delegates always wear distinct uniforms and cowboy hats to conventions, and it sounds like any other college frat uniform — khakis and navy blazers one day, denim shirts the next, and so on. There’s going to be a blog from the Dallas delegates.

The Dallas folks are like a honeymooner on Viagra. They’re leaving Sunday for St. Paul. They’re not worried that the President is going to be an albatross for McCain. “He’s his own man,” they say. They’re worried a little about Hurricane Gustav putting a damper on things, but the new Louisiana governor, one of their own, is probably more capable than the last governor, who mishandled pretty much everything when Katrina hit.

“The Democrats talk change,” one of the delegates says, sounding suspiciously like a talking point. “McCain and Palin are change.”

Honest hope or quiet desperation? Who can say? It’s going to come down to whether the Palin high has the same good legs that, well, she has. And whether the initial buzz stays or wears off as fast as that chocolate chip cookie buzz did for me.

Next up: Dallas GOP watching parties.

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Comments

61 responses to “Dallas “Does” St. Paul: The GOP Send-Off”

  1. Trey Garrison says:

    I don’t know why you people let this hack write for you.

  2. Brown Bess says:

    Worst Pick Ever?
    (This guest post is offered by pollster Del Ali, the president of Research 2000.)

    Sarah Palin will wow cultural conservatives in areas where they may not have come out to vote before the selection. This is right out of Karl Rove’s strategy of getting more of your own to show up and vote.

    However, in many of the swing states that Bush carried in 2004, there were anti gay ballot measures to motivate the cultural conservatives to vote. There are very few of these measures on the ballots in those key states in 2008. Palin may not be enough for them to get out and vote. Clearly Rove felt in 2004 that Bush would not have been enough, thus the ballot measures.

    In fact, as Palin’s cultural views become better known — she oppose abortion in all cases and opposes the use of birth control pills and condoms even among married couples — she will undoubtedly scare the hell out of the soccer moms and 98% of Hillary voters. In fact, many of these women may feel insulted by this choice in that McCain and the GOP think they are stupid and would bypass their own interest (reproductive and economic) to vote for the ticket due to gender and anger that Hillary was not the nominee.

    In my estimation as a pollster and analyst, while historic for the GOP in selecting their first woman on a national ticket, this choice may be the worst selection by a major party nominee for President in modern times.

  3. Dubious Brother says:

    I was surprised, pleasantly, by McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin. I was concerned that he would not choose a woman and after reading more about her I think his choice is brilliant.
    During the campaign and her time in office, she will bring attention to organizations that serve those with “special needs” and not just Downs Syndrome.
    It doesn’t seem like there will be any doubt where she stands on the different issues today, next month and years from now. Her values won’t be moving targets.
    Her “inexperience” is equal to both B. Hussein and Hillary and it is true that she will be in a better postion to learn as V.P.
    I wonder if B. Hussein is trying to figure out how to CHANGE his VP CHOICE and abort Biden.

  4. Trey Garrison says:

    Spread that meme, Brown Bess. And stay classy.

  5. John Bacon says:

    Trey, best weekend post in a while. GG

  6. Trey Garrison says:

    Bruce and Carolyn’s last name is spelled with a G. My mistake. Correctifying ASAP.

  7. Nancy Nichols says:

    Trey, are you going to interview Vice President Barbie?

  8. Dave Thomas says:

    FYI – The 2007 estimate has the population of Alaska at 683,478, not the 350,000 you mentioned. Your general point is right, but you’ll have to change “Arlington” to “Fort Worth.”

    By the way, I love the pick. I was really shocked and a bit scared by it at first. But now that I’ve seen her speak and read up on her, I’m really pumped excited about it.

    It’ll take time to see whether this works or not, but right now I’d say it’s a home run for a McCain campaign that really needed it.

  9. Trey Garrison says:

    I wasn’t counting the Eskimoses and their button noses.

    (Sigh. This is what I get for trying to turn that thing too fast. Eric had the excuse of spotty Internet access. I have none. Mea culpa, and thanks for the info, Dave.)

  10. really though says:

    the whole executive experience argument is laughable…she was mayor of town of 9000 people before being gov of alaska. she is an ally of ted stevens not the reformer they’re marketing.

  11. Dallasite says:

    “the whole executive experience argument is laughable…she was mayor of town of 9000 people before being gov of alaska. she is an ally of ted stevens not the reformer they’re marketing.”

    What has Obama been mayor of? Or executive of? Or leader of?

    If you answered nothing, you’d be right.

    She’s governor of a state. Hopey McChangalot is a one term Senator, and not a very good one at that.

  12. Becky says:

    Dallasite, yeah, you just keep saying that to yourself over and over and only you and other neocons will believe it. Get real.

  13. Trey Garrison says:

    You stay classy and tolerant, Becky.

  14. Dubious Brother says:

    SRP

    History has already decided Bush to be the worst President in History? And he isn’t even out of office yet. Can’t handle the heat in the kitchen? What heat? Early cocktails today maybe? Better chill or you might end up with two brain aneurysms like Biden did.

  15. Trey Garrison says:

    Nice assumptions, SRP, but you’re talking to a guy whose neither a Republican nor a Christian, so there’s that.

  16. Trey Garrison says:

    whose=who’s

  17. Trey Garrison says:

    I think. Never was good with that. Where’s Ray Balestri to correct me?

  18. Tim Rogers says:

    Good participation for a weekend post. Especially from Trey, who has so far contributed one-third of the comments on this post.

  19. Ray Balestri says:

    Trey:

    You’re correct on the “who’s.” A few other things, too, I would venture, but not the gun stuff.

  20. Steve says:

    Nice trick for McCain to steal the weekend news cycle. But guess what? Next week belongs to Gustav, memories of Katrina, and of course Bush and McCain eating cake while New Orleans drowned.

    http://tinyurl.com/5ox3ge

    Next weekend people will be trying to remember the Republican VP nominee’s name. You know, that nice lady?

    Have a nice convention!

  21. diahh says:

    Here’s a good side by side comparison of Palin and Obama.

  22. Steve says:

    @diahh: Wow – Redstate says she’s “Smoking hot in a “naughty librarian” sort of way”. That’ll get the Hillary supporters on her side for sure.

  23. diahh says:

    @ Steve

    Heh, it’s just a joke. Craig Ferguson said it a while back (about 2:25 if you don’t want to watch the whole thing).

  24. Trey Garrison says:

    I’m here to serve, Timmy.

  25. SB says:

    Trey, are you gonna be back on Frontburner full-time now? If so, it’ll be good to have you back.

  26. SB says:

    @Amy S:

    It’ll rank just above Howard Dean’s rebel yell, but just below P. Diddy’s Vote or Die Campaign and the video of Michael Dukakis riding in the tank.

    Give me a break…

  27. Wolverine says:

    Republican babes don’t wear pantsuits. They wear skirts!

  28. greg says:

    Dubious Brother,
    You sound like a bit unintelligent by calling Obama – “B. Hussein”. The true Republican you must be, it’s not surprising that you made that comparison without having looked at all the facts.
    However, I was glad to hear that McCain had 15,000 people in attendance to hear him make his VP announcement. After Obama had over 75,000 come listen to him the previous night, it would have been embarrassing if McCain couldn’t pull an audience at least a third as large. But he did it! Impressive.

  29. SB says:

    It was great seeing the disbelief in the faces of liberals when Kerry lost in 2004. It’s gonna twice as sweet to see that same look in November.

  30. SB says:

    It’s also hilarious to me to hear SRP throw out terms like “evil” and “worst president ever” when referring to George Bush. Let’s pretend for a moment that those descriptors are true. Combine them with the fact that gas prices are at an all time high, the economy is in a huge downturn, there’s a controversial war going on and approval ratings are low. You’d think the Democrats would have a cake-walk to the White House. However, every poll that comes out has Obama and McCain separated by mere percentage points. The left and the Democratic party is so out of touch with the citizens of America that they can’t even pull away in what they think is the worst time in our country’s history.

    Celebrity candidates and overly dramatic rhetoric aren’t what the people want. This will be driven home when reality kicks the Democrats in the balls in November.

  31. Trey Garrison says:

    Obama convention bounce vs. McCain’s VP bounce

    McCain/Palin 47%
    Obama/Biden 45%

    http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews1547.html

  32. Harvey Lacey says:

    Trey, the bounce is to be expected. She is a pretty lady and most of us can remember back when a pretty lady was in charge. Life was so much simpler back then. Even wonder why pretty ladies stopped being in charge after early grade school?

    This will be great for the democrats btw. I’m one. Her pick defines the “McCain, more of the same” theme. She is much prettier, a lot more attractive, and definately much more glib and intelligent than Dubya. But she is more of the same.

    I’m surprised that Rod Dreher hasn’t jumped in on this thread talking about how she’s anti-abortion and she believes in home schooling. I have’t seen him with his skirt this high, ever.

  33. Randy says:

    SB: I clearly remember walking through the Miami airport on November 16, 2004. The place was full red-eyed and dejected Kerry operatives heading home from Florida in defeat. That was absolutely priceless. This year oughta be even better, so make plans to be in a ‘battleground’ state if you don’t want to miss it!

  34. Harvey Lacey says:

    Randy, I still have my Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker proudly displayed on my welder on my truck. I want to make sure everyone knows I’m not responsible for the Iraq War, Alberto Gonzales being Attorney General, Cheney being vice-President, etc. and so on.

    It wasn’t the democrats that were the losers in 2004. It was the world.

  35. Randy says:

    Harvey: Just keep saying that. It’s easy to fantasize about the performance of politicians that couldn’t get elected. It should have been easy to beat Bush last time with an unpopular war, loads of campaign money, and the liberal media on your side. This time it should be even easier, but at best it’s gonna be very close. It probably has sometyhing to do with a Democrat-led congress that has done absolutely nothing and earned a single-digit approval rating for it. As Americans, you and I are both responsible for the actions of our government and a bumper sticker doesn’t change a thing.

  36. CDD says:

    not only is Palin anti-abortion but she opposes the use of birth control and/or condoms (even for married people). does that not scare anyone? especially since Bush has been trying to sneak the “birth control is a form of abortion” thing into policy recently?

  37. MushMouth says:

    Uh, yeah about attracting women voters with Palin – not so much…

    http://tinyurl.com/5moap8

    NEW YORK The first national polls on John McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin yesterday came out today from Rasmussen and Gallup — and contrary to what the GOP probably hoped, she scored less well with women than men.

    Here’s a finding from Gallup: Among Democratic women — including those who may be disappointed that Hillary Clinton did not win the Democratic nomination — 9% say Palin makes them more likely to support McCain, 15% less likely.

    From Rasmussen: Some 38% of men said they were more likely to vote for McCain now, but only 32% of women. By a narrow 41% to 35% margin, men said she was not ready to be president — but women soundly rejected her, 48% to 25%.

    Only 9% of Obama supporters said they might be more likely to vote for McCain.

  38. JK says:

    The more conservative characters here are much more defensive and bitter than I would’ve expected. Maybe it’s because they’re secretly really worried now that Palin has been named as McCain’s running mate? I would be. “SB” is like a cocky, obnoxious little kid rather than someone trying to engage in a debate with some class. Randy, too. So many excuses.

  39. diahh says:

    not only is Palin anti-abortion but she opposes the use of birth control and/or condoms (even for married people).

    Got a link for that? One that’s not just a liberal site repeating the claim? What i found was that she’s a member of Feminists for Life, which is a pro-contraception group

    Sarah Palin, the presumptive 2008 Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States and the first female Governor of Alaska, is strongly pro-life as well as pro-contraception and belongs to Feminists for Life

  40. diahh says:

    Here’s another poll from Rasmussen –

    When Biden was selected, just over half (52%) of Democrats believed he was the right choice. Sixty-three percent (63%) of Republicans say McCain picked the right running mate in Palin, and 40% of unaffiliated voters agree. A week ago, 31% of unaffiliateds said the same about Obama’s selection.

  41. CDD says:

    from the Columbia Spectator:
    http://www.columbiaspectator.com

    Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life, brought her campaign to ban safe and legal abortion to the Barnard campus yesterday. Feminists for Life packages its dangerous campaign to strip women of reproductive rights in pro-woman terms (Women Deserve Better is their slogan). By doing so, the group attempts to appear the moderate among pro-life extremists. But don’t be fooled, Feminists for Life is extreme, too.

    What Serrin Foster will not be advertising during her campus visit is that Feminists for Life is opposed to contraception. On this point, her organization and the rest of the pro-life movement is unified: most pro-life groups in the United States are anti-contraception.

    From Feminists for Life:

    Leaving abortion aside for just a moment, even most forms of contraception invade the woman’s body, not the man’s–and in more cases than we want to admit, scar and irrevocably damage those bodies. (Even condoms, the one “male” form of contraception, usually end up being the woman’s responsibility–survey after survey shows that it is invariably women, not men, who are responsible for purchasing condoms.)

    FFL is concerned that certain forms of contraception have had adverse health effects on women.

  42. SB says:

    “SB” is like a cocky, obnoxious little kid rather than someone trying to engage in a debate with some class. Randy, too. So many excuses.”

    Randy and I obviously made good points, because that’s usually when the name calling starts.

  43. JS says:

    “What has Obama been mayor of? Or executive of? Or leader of?” Uh, he chaired that one committee that never met — does that count?

  44. diahh says:

    @ CDD

    Is this the article you meant to link? If so, it’s just another liberal/pro-choice person repeating the claim without backing it up. And it seems a stretch to say that being concerned about the health effects of birth control is tantamount to opposing it. The groups FAQ page says it doesn’t even take a position on birth control –

    Preconception issues including abstinence and contraception are outside of our mission. Some FFL members and supporters support the use of non-abortifacient contraception while others oppose contraception for a variety of reasons.

  45. Jack E. Jett says:

    A potential tragedy? A Republican Convention?
    Where is Dick Cheney? Overseas.

  46. Jonathan Neerman says:

    For local Republicans, the Palin selection has been a huge hit. Whatever the effect on former Hillary supporters, Pailin has unified the Republican base. She should be a great complement to Senator McCain on the campaign trail.

  47. Dave Thomas says:

    Among Democratic women – including those who may be disappointed that Hillary Clinton did not win the Democratic nomination – 9% say Palin makes them more likely to support McCain, 15% less likely.

    Let me point out the obvious: when you poll Democrats about Republicans (and vice versa) you’ll get plenty of partisans who would NEVER vote for McCain saying this makes them “less likely” to vote for him. The percentage of Democrats who might consider voting for McCain is fairly small. The Zogby poll cited earlier, 8% of Democrats say they’ll vote for McCain. 4% of Republicans will vote for Obama. McCain’s support among Republicans is 87% while Obama’s support among Democrats is 85%. One more thing, 7% of Democrats are undecided. 5% of Republicans are undecided.

    If nothing else, the Palin pick has solidified the conservative base for McCain. Last I heard, he’s raised $7 million since her pick. That’s a big boost in fundraising for a campaign that really needs it.

    Like I said earlier, it’s going to take time to tell whether this was a godo move or not. Right now it looks like a very smart pick.

  48. Dubious Brother says:

    The dems made their choice between two candidates that had no experience although Hillary does claim that her 8 years as first “lady” was experience probably based upon her and Bill’s incredible couple communication. BHO made the correct choice as he didn’t want to be the one who’s heart beat stood between Hillary and the White House. He chose Biden who has had two brain aneurysms. The national press will have a great time trying to destroy Sarah Palin while continuing to give B. Hussein a free pass. BHO is a product of the most corrupt political machine in the country – Chicago, Illinois.

  49. CDD says:

    Did anyone see Sam Bee on the Daily Show the other night? She’s bummed about Hillary being out, but she’s found a new candidate!

    Samantha: as a proud Vagina American myself, I can tell you that I’ll be voting for McCain in November!

    Jon Stewart: that’s it? I mean you just vote for whoever has a…

    Samantha: a fun pouch.

    Jon: a…the…uh…

    Samantha: the love pita.

    Jon: right. but in many ways, Gov. Palin is the ideological OPPOSITE of Sen. Clinton…

    Samantha: oh yes, but she’s her GYNacological twin. you see, the thing is, let me explain: they both have vaginas –

    Jon: I understand, I understand. But Sen. McCain is someone who voted AGAINST equal pay for equal work –

    Samantha: boobies. boobies.

    Jon: I understand that, but both Palin and McCain believe Roe v Wade should be overturned –

    Samantha: ow ow ow ow can you just stop overloading my lady brain?! ok. John McCain chose a woman who is almost completely unprepared for the job and who disagrees with me on every core value I believe in, but I will be voting McCain in November because he understands that women don’t vote with the big head – they vote with the little hood. am I right ladies?!

  50. Dubious Brother says:

    SRP – You certainly do have some issues. If the ticket was worthless me thinks that you wouldn’t be so worked up.

    I admit that Falwell and I did not see eye to eye on all of the issue but if what you are saying is that Falwell represents Republicans and Jeffrey Dahmer represents the Democrats, I would say Republican for me.

    Since you don’t know me, I’m not sure that you can say my values suck as much as Larry Craig or Barney Frank.

    David Vitter may have a little Bill Clinton in him but I’m not sure about the diaper comment.

    The point that I was making with Biden’s two brain aneurysms was that McCain is not the only one with health issues.

    At the risk of stooping to your level – I can not say “weee tar did” but I will check with your hero Teddy’s office to see if they could help me with it – you know the one who pioneered the concept of aborting the mother and the baby at the same time.

    It is my understanding that it is a much safer Iraq today than in the past. Please go to this link and let me know who you would rather have in charge of the 550 tons of yellowcake uranium: Sadam Hussein, al Qaida or the Canadian Nuclear Energy Industry and ask yourself why this wasn’t front page news.

    http://townhall.com/columnists/ChristopherMerola/2008/07/11/have_your_yellowcake_and_eat_it_too

  51. amanda says:

    Best birthday gift ever…Trey back on the burner.

  52. J.Paul says:

    Comparing Biden’s health to McCain’s is totally irrelevant. McCain croaks, you get Mayor Palin. Biden croaks, the President picks someone else (probably not Laura Miller).

  53. Dubious Brother says:

    I’m starting to understand. You can’t vote Republican because if McCain dies, you have someone who you say lacks experience because she has only been a governor for 2 years but you can vote Democratic even though the Presidential candidate has only two years in the Senate all of which he has used to campaign for President.

  54. Grumpy Demo says:

    We Demo’s aren’t worked up we’re laugh our tails off.

    The only thing more funny that Palin, is watching you delusional 24% Bushies claim that less than 20 months as a Governor and a Journalism degree from the Idaho is WAY more qualified than 128 month in State and Federal Government, Constitutional Law Professor at one of the top schools in the country, Harvard Law magnum cum laude. Keep drinking that GOP Kool Aid.

    I swear, if Karl and Rush said the Jenna Bush was better humanitarian that Mother Teresa, you guys would be denigrating Mother Teresa in a NY minute.

    Bush a President so unpopular they cancel their convention.

  55. Grumpy Demo says:

    LOL, D’s spam censor doesn’t like the phrase

    magnum cum laud!

  56. Dubious Brother says:

    Excuse me but it seems like the denigrating has been aimed at Governor Palin.

    No one knew who B. Hussein was until the national press fell in love with him and delivered the primary to him because he had accomplished nothing prior to that. The only other choice was a former first lady who carpet bagged to the only state in the country that would elect someone to represent them that had never lived in their state.

    The last President (Democrat) who came directly from the Senate was JFK who started the Viet Nam experience which was handed off to former Senator LBJ (Democrat) who escalated it.

    I’ll take a NON-LAWYER governor any day even if we have to wait four years for her to be elected President.

  57. Grumpy Demo says:

    denigrating=accurately detailing Palin’s record.

    LOL, she’s such a weak candidate the so you consider just reviewing her resume as “denigrating”.

    So Dubious Brother where did you go to school and how may Constitutional Law courses have you taught (My quess as many as Palin)?

    Dubious Brother”he had accomplished nothing prior to that”

    Yeah right, NOTHING=self made Harvard Law School grad and Review Editor, major law firm, Professor of Constitutional law, Director of Community Development Group, Illionis Legislator, US Senator with an attendance record better than McSame. Yeah accomplished nothing, do you have a clue about anything you talk about?

  58. Dear Grumpy Demo:

    It’s “magna cum laude.” (Magnum describes my .357.) Magna from the Law School is indeed an achievement. Had he graduated summa, I might have considered voting for him.

  59. Trey Garrison says:

    Marty, keep taking Magnums. See if I don’t marry you.

  60. SB says:

    The fact that the Dems are so uproarious about this pick tells me it was the perfect choice. Keep screamin’, Grumpy Demo, and we’ll keep ignoring you.