Young Republicans Party–Indianapolis 2009

I will not be covering the Sonia Sotomayor hearings unless something notable happens. I would rather live my life than focus on pro wrestling, or as they call it on C-Span, Congressional hearings.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of joining the Young Republicans for their national biennial convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.

While I had done many events with other Republican organizations, this was my first YR conference. The YRs are not the same as the CRs, that being the College Republicans, although there is some crossover. The YRs contain many working professionals with some students in attendance.

I would like to personally thank Chicago YR President Kyle Stone for letting me know about this conference. He attended a speech of mine in Chicago, and his friendship allowed me to have another great weekend in a new place.

The experience can be divided into three parts. There were the committee meetings, where new officers were chosen and various amendments from many delegations were chosen. This had its ups and downs, with a range of situations that ran the gamut from colossal boredom to riveting political intrigue.

The second part of the conference involved a bevy of fabulous speakers, whose remarks deserve and will be covered in the coming days. Illinois Congresman Aaron Schock, the youngest Congressional member at age 28, spoke passionately about the stimulus bill. Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter provided humor and political insights on various topics.

At a gala dinner at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer spoke of his experiences of working in government during times of crisis. Indiana Congressman Mike Pence served up red meat to the crowd literally and figuratively. Before speaking he actually handed us our plates for dinner, trying to convince many out of towners that he was the waiter and not the guest speaker.

On the final day of the conference, Ohio State Senator Josh Mandel spoke of his past experiences, and his current run for Ohio State Treasurer. I have heard him speak several times, and it never gets boring.

The third part of the weekend put the party in Republican Party. For those who think that YRs are a bunch of elitist, wealthy, generic individuals sporting matching blue blazers, think again. They are Republicans, but they are young, and they know how to party.

I should not say “they.” A more appropriate word would be “we.”

Downtown Indianapolis had several bars within walking distance of the  Hyatt Regency Hotel, which I highly recommend. The hotel is connected to a mall, and has more food options than most places. After long days of politicking, nights at O’Reilly’s (not owned by Bill or anyone else at the Factor), Rock Bottom, the Beaver, and Howl at the Moon went well into the wee hours of the morning.
Let’s just say YRs are from uptight. One memory seared into me was YRs dancing to an x-rated gangster rap song. The title of the song involved a word used to either describe a kitty cat, or an aspect of a woman that has gotten guys into trouble since the beginning of time. “If you want to control the (kitty cat–redacted), then you’ve got to have (kitty cat–redacted) control…Yyyyyeeeeaaaahhhhhh, (kitty cat—redacted) control…Yyyyeeeeeaaaahhhhhh, (kitty cat—redacted) control…”

Look, it does anger me when married, adult politicians act like overgrown adolescents and destroy the brand name of the party because of their inability (or unwillingness) to control themselves and stop chasing (kitty cat—redacted). However, Young people letting loose and blowing off steam is healthy. I think it actually keeps them from bad behavior as older adults. Suppressing fun was not on the agenda this weekend.

Veering back to hard core politics, the purpose of this weekend was to select new officers, and to carve out an agenda for the entire YR organization. Some of this was not useful to me from a participant standpoint because I was not a delegate. I was only an attendee. I could not vote. However, from a learning standpoint, it was great seeing so many young people passionate about politics not just as television watchers, but as future leaders advocating passionately for their causes and teams.

Intercine battles involving parliamentary procedure and allegations of dirty tricks led to tempers flaring on several occasions. Yet like the 1787 Constitutional Convention, this infighting was not a threat to democracy that weakened the organization. I believe it was democracy working. Team Renewal fought Team Next Level for the right to lead the YRs. Team Renewal came out on top, although Team Next Level had great parties on both nights. More importantly, members of both sides shook hands and hugged after the battle was over.

Yet one cloud hung over the convention, and if it does not get resolved in the coming days and weeks, the entire YRs could have a big problem. A racial scandal over comments left on a Facebook page led to charges and countercharges of racism. The crowd at this convention was very diverse. Some GOP events with older crowds have one or two minorities. Young people are less reflexively liberal, and this crowd truly was diverse. The minorities were not tokens. They were a large segment of the attendees. Yet the Facebook issue had several of the black attendees upset.

I am neutral in this fight not out of cowardice but out of ignorance. I want to get all of the facts together before telling that story in the coming weeks. Since the issue has already gone public, I will not be exposing anyone. Anything currently private will stay private.

The main argument appears to be that when white conservatives say, do, tacitly approve, or are slow to condemn racism, it makes it much harder for these passionate black Republicans to sway their liberal friends. As a Jewish Republican, I am constantly battling with my own community, and sometimes my own party that I deeply believe in hampers my efforts.

I see the YRs as absolutely obsessed with broadening the party. I pray that they succeed, because everybody wins that way.

The scandal involves the new YR chairwoman. She has intense supporters and detractors. I have never met her, but I hope that when the dust settles, the YRs are united.

Despite this unfortunate issue, the YRs are a family, and I expect the internal disagreements to be hashed out, with a strong family structure in place for a long time to come.

One other disappointment came not from the YRs, but from my home city of Los Angeles. If people in liberal cities want to fight back, they need to start coming to these types of conferences. The Texas delegation was large. Ten gallon hats and belt buckles dominated. Yet despite a large California delegation, I was the only attendee to my knowledge from the heart of Los Angeles. Bakersfield, a GOP stronghold a couple of hours north of Los Angeles, sent about twenty people. Los Angeles sent nobody. I found out about it by accident. Los Angeles doe not even have an established YR chapter. This is pathetic. Young Republicans in Los Angeles must step it up.   Forget no taxation without representation. This is no representation without participation.

As for me personally, I wish I had become active with YRs years ago. As a Jewish person, I just did not meet enough Republicans growing up. I never joined CRs because my school did not have them. The Republican Jewish Coalition is successfully reaching out to young people, but the median age is older. I am barely young enough at 37 to participate with the YRs.

The 2011 YR Convention will not be in Indianapolis, Indiana, but I suspect if I attend with the Sacramento Queen, we will somehow find a way to have fun. It is being held in Puerto Rico, which actually had delegates at this convention. I will still be barely under 40. In the mean time, several positive things happened to me personally at this convention.

I sold a bunch of copies of my book, “Ideological Bigotry,” and hope that the YRs that bought it enjoy it. Many of the attendees are connected to speaking organizations, and it looks like I will be lining up many more speeches and book signings. In the coming days I will be linking to many of their sites to promote their good works, from their business ventures to their political aspirations in 2010.

Most importantly, I made friends that I will have for life. After all, advancing ideas is important, but in the end it is all about people. The 2009 YR Convention in Indianapolis will be remembered for an overwhelming number of good, decent human beings all packed into one hotel.

It was a pleasure to get to know them, and become one of them just in time.


6 Responses to “Young Republicans Party–Indianapolis 2009”

  1. Dav Lev says:

    As a Jewish Republican (older than Eric), I was brought up in the liberal
    tradition of my relatives. My high school had both very conservative,
    and moderate students. There were few really liberal..but more than
    just a few redneck types.

    Even though the Jewish community was basicly Conservative (in their
    religious affiliation-meaning, the bible was not translated literally, but
    subject to interpretation and evolving), I seldom heard any positive
    remarks from my non-Jewish friends and classmates about it. Just plain
    old anti-religious types..if not ourright anti-Semtism.

    Frankly, w/o the Jewish community ( involved in business and the
    services), I doubt the community would have survived.
    But that is another story.

    Let’s face it, what we now have in the USA is a government of one party, the Democrats. There are some moderates in the party, but most are
    very liberal. My state has one liberal (Boxer) and one conservative Senator.

    I wish in the next election, Sarah Palin would run for Senator.
    Maybe then we would have a better balance representing
    all of California?

    Sarah is visiting Simi part of her journal to regain
    some of her lost prestige..and put her in contention for a national
    office. She will be speaking before Republican Women.

    With the tragic loss of Senator Coleman…and the entry of
    someone who is basically a poor comic..and the other Republican
    shifting to the Democrats, let’s all face the reality of our poor
    status. It’s also possible that a liberal may become next SC

    I ask, how much farther down can we moderate to conservatives go?

    We need a David Axelrod type..who can SELL the Republican philosophy
    to the majority of the American population. It’s all about numbers, and the Democrats don’t have it.

    Obama’s popularity is almost as high as ever, even though he has
    destroyed the US credibility for years in foreign affairs, and whose
    economic policies are yet to be felt by we Americans. When they do
    look out.

    He has repeatedly said that even though the US is coming out of the
    recession, unemployment takes’s just economics.

    Soooooo, Iran is making a nuke, No. Korea is making more nukes,
    Chavez still sells Citgo gas in the US, Syria and Fatah are demanding
    Israel both stop any further settlement growth and relinquish
    the Golan Heights prior to any negotiations, (growth meaning any
    construction in land taken after 1967 in israel’s defensive wars, if lost, there would be no Israel today but lots of more Holocaust museums).

    Back at the ranch, Obama’s staff understands he got nothing
    at the G8 meeting, except previously funding…Russia wasn’t impressed
    by his efforts to get Iran to comply with the UN or stop it’s illegal
    manufacture of enriched uranium or start behaving like
    a democracy. There were no rants and raves for Obama in
    Moscow, but hard, shrewd, tough talk.

    It is now known that Obama’s foreign policy team is rethinking
    his approach.

    Basically it comes down to this: the liberal fascists have taken
    over our government. Their “volk” approach is based on govt
    in our lives..every aspect, from education to child rearing (see Hillary
    Clinton’s past).

    Saul Alinsky is laughing in his grave., as is Adolph.

  2. Well, I can understand missing the first day of a SCOTUS nom hearing, but to miss the Q&A days to come, of one of the most important functions of our government, seems like actively intentional ignorance to me. It will be difficult to take you seriously if or when you comment on this nominee in the near future if you can’t even be bothered to monitor these important hearings. Like so many other pundits, everything you say will then seem like nothing but regurgitation of standardized talking points rather than honest informed opinion. I strongly suggest you at least pay some attention to these constitutionally vital hearings.

    I recall the YRs first coming to prominence in the 80’s. Disaffection with a tired, inaffectual, corrupt, old Democrat Party Machine combined with a bipartisan uniting, albeit not for any good, under Ronald Reagan, created a groundswell of support for Reagan and his new brand of “conservatism” with many young people. This, with the rise of the white middle-class suburbs and exurbs from the White Flight phenomenon of that period ,and the coming of age of Generation X in that, became the core of the YRs: White, suburban, middle-class Gen-Xers. A new group of Americans who would be key to the direction of the country over the generation to come. That generation is now assiliated, no longer new and no longer the key to the future political direction of the nation.

    The average age of today’s GOP-registered voter is now over 48. That’s FORTY EIGHT. Those people are the YRs of Reagans time, and it’s up from an average age of 45 1/2 just nine years ago. ( In the population in general, religiousity is down, social conservatism is down, with only “national security” as a “Republican issue” on the up. 88% of Republicans are white and that remains virtually unchanged over the years. The general public, on the other hand, is only 66% white. That is a HUGE disparity. And in a significant majority of the major issues of the day, more Americans agree with the Democrats than the Republicans. The GOP is in serious trouble.

    Democrats currently hold about an 11% lead over the GOP in the numbers of registered voters. Independents and others make up about 40%. If the GOP continues to look inward towards satisfying it’s base, it will continue to become more and more of a minority party. It must appeal more to independents and swing voters in order to win. America is no longer swinging to the Right, and given the horrific failure of conservatism in action in recent history, it is hard to imagine that the GOP is going to be able to swing the country back to the Right anytime in the near future. And with the identified Dems and liberals solidly controlling the under-25 demographic, the ability of the GOP to swing the country back to the Right is only further diminished.

    The YRs have a long, tough, lonely road ahead.


  3. Nice, Dan. More NAZI comparisons, huh? Real nice. You wouldn’t know a Fascist from a Hippy.


  4. Micky 2 says:

    Isnt Obama a Fascist Hippie ?

  5. pobaldy says:

    am i the only one to misunderstand “lit it up” to mean that our self-serving libertarian was showing improved fealty to individual liberty, both against the protections of the state and his republican base, and speak out against marijuana prohibition?

    subterfugers everywhere know that pot smoking is no different than underage drinking, pre-marital sex, adultery, or fudging your taxes, and that even regular people in middle america indulge under the radar as regularly as free-floaters out west and denmark. prepared to vote the issues, more and more liberals wouldn’t mind if it were crazy young republicans to be the ones demonstrating evenhanded conscience. but those republicans can’t, can they. they must continue to play to core constituents, to whom they sell a regular bill of goods.

    i’m not finished. rabbi lerner wrote precisely about the unwillingness of his own dem cohorts in the senate to affirm their own worldviews, and it should be read. talking about sotomayor,

    “You’ll be facing an even more difficult challenge when you get to the Court: taking on the class biases that still shape legislation in the Congress and that have been part of past Supreme Court nominations. To take the classic one: the Supreme Court decision a hundred and thirty years ago to call corporations “persons” and interpret the 14th amendment, meant to protect former slaves, as protecting the so-called “rights” of corporations. From that has come a series of decisions that favor America’s rich and powerful at the expense of the American middle class. Ever since then, the Court has bent over backwards to twist the Constitution in ways that serve the interests of the rich and the powerful. For example, when the Congress tried to put some restraints on the way that the rich can buy the legislation they want by spending endlessly to elect candidates to serve their interests, the Court said that “free speech” of corporations or the rich would be impeded by spending limits on campaigns. To tell us that you are going to be bound by these biased decisions of the past, because you “respect the precedents and must abide by them as a judge,” is to ignore the ways that the Court itself continually undermines the desires of the people when those desires conflict with the interests of the powerful. We hope that you will reverse that kind of judicial activism by an activism favoring the poor and America’s working families.”

    puff, puff, pass.

  6. blacktygrrrr says:

    “Lit it up” absolutely was not an allusion to illegal drugs. I saw people smoking cigars, and that was it.

    Lit it up was metaphorical in the sense that people got loose, had a great time, and had fun, including on the dance floor.

    Some of the people were “lit up,” but that was alcohol consumption.

    As for taking a puff, I will stick with Nancy Reagan, and just say no.

    Puff, puff? No, I’ll pass.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.