GOP Convention 2010–Arkansas

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 2010 GOP Convention in Arkansas.

I almost didn’t make it to Arkansas. Due to a bizarre set of circumstances, it took me 34 hours to get from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to San Antonio to Dallas, and finally, to Little Rock. After that, the drive to Palm Springs was a piece of cake.

The convention itself was one of the shortest conventions I have ever attended. In less than half a day all of the business was done. In the past Arkansas has even wrapped up the entire convention in only 2 hours, while some states (even small ones) need 3 days. This convention lasted 6 hours at most, but the pre and post convention activities provided plenty of political importance.

The convention itself was in Little Rock, but much of the convention action before and after was in Hot Springs, about 45 minutes away.

In Little Rock, the night before the convention, the gubernatorial dinner took place. The main speaker was Jim Keets, the Republican nominee for Arkansas Governor.

I was not at the dinner because I was speaking to the Garland County Tea Party in Hot Springs.

I cannot praise this Tea Party group enough. Diane Silverman leads this group. In addition to this special pre-convention gathering, she also has meetings Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. She even gets different people at her meetings. The problem with most Tea Party groups is that they hold rallies, have speakers, and then do nothing after the rallies end.

Mrs. Silverman’s group actually follows through. They are backing several candidates, and I got to meet and hear many of them speak. Every Tea Party group in the country could learn from the Garland County group. They are intelligent, passionate, and most importantly, productive with their time. It was an honor to speak to them twice in the same week, before and after the convention.

Two of the candidates the Garland County Tea Party is backing include Rick Davis for Judge and Tommy Thompson for County Assessor. Normally a person way off on the left coast would not care about such local races, but these are good people, and local races get overlooked. Most people never care about the assessor until their taxes get raised through the roof. Most people never focus on judges, then complain when a liberal activist judge blocks the will of the people by judicial fiat. People cannot complain unless they do their part. Check out Mr. Davis and Mr. Thompson.

At the convention itself, my highlight was meeting former Congressman Asa Hutchinson and his wife Susan. Susan Hutchinson is one of the loveliest human beings you will ever meet. She is kind, warm, empathetic, and funny. She is a devout Christian with a deep love for Israel. She and her husband have always supported Israel. No, they did not try to convert me. Like most Christians, their affection for the Jewish people is biblical and noble. There is no hidden agenda.

I have always admired Asa Hutchinson since he was one of the Clinton impeachment managers. I know he did the right thing, and he conducted himself with dignity while the left was trying to trash his reputation to protect another Arkansas fellow in the White House who acted with none.

What Mrs. Hutchinson let me know is that her husband has done many other noble deeds as well. He successfully prosecuted the Aryan Nation in Arkansas. For those who think that nothing has changed in the South, try being a bigot and breaking the law when Asa Hutchinson is coming after you. Bill Clinton was deemed to be the first “black president” by an insulting standard of what that means, but it was Asa Hutchinson who was truly enforcing civil rights in the most important way possible. He broke the Aryan Nation in his state. Like most truly good people, he did this quietly. I am mentioning it because somebody should, and he is too modest to do so.

One of the things I noticed at the convention was how diverse the attendees were. Leftists in the media love to point out the number of Caucasians in attendance at GOP functions, but this convention had plenty of Republicans who happened to be minorities. The number of Republicans who happened to be black was higher than at any other convention I had attended. The treasurer is a black man, and I can tell you that merit is alive and well in Arkansas. I look forward to his gubernatorial campaign in eight years.

A major highlight of convention weekend came at the post convention rally. The Paint Arkansas Red Rally was put together by Garland County GOP Chairman Alan Clark.  had the honor of speaking at the rally, and making friends with Alan was a great experience.

In an act of bipartisanship, Alan had Arkansas radio host Dick Antoine emcee the event.

(Initially I was going to emcee it, but I deferred to Dick. I did not know the politicians, and they deserved proper introductions. Dick provided that in spades.)

Dick is actually a Democrat who voted Democrat in the 2008 presidential election. It may seem odd to have a Democrat host the biggest GOP rally of the weekend, but Arkansas people are very friendly. They don’t get in the gutter across party lines. They take great pride in the honor in which they conduct themselves.

Dick and Alan teased each other, but it really was good natured. Alan did not convert Dick to the GOP, and Dick failed to convert the entire crowd to his side.

Dick’s son Drew Clark chairs the Garland County Young Republicans, and he has them energized. The young man is a workhorse, balancing a couple jobs in addition to his political responsibilities.

One of the candidates for congress was a former Miss Arkansas who is as physically stunning as she is made of steel. A former Army girl with several brothers serving America, she made it clear that Arkansas were not going to be separated from their guns. She is only 5 feet and 100 pounds, but she pointed out that “somebody needs to go to Capitol Hill and look Nancy Pelosi straight in the eye.” She is a former assistant to Mike Huckabee, and Arkansas will be lucky to have her in congress.

Naturally when I spoke to the Arkansas crowd, I pointed out that they were “the loveliest bunch of Astroturf I had ever seen,” and that, “when I heard the Pelosiraptor use the word astroturf in a sentence, I thought that another immoral liberal woman had just admitted to being in Bill Clinton’s pickup truck.”

The keynote speaker at the rally was gubernatorial candidate Jim Keets. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the convention, and I liked his style at the rally. I prefer standing up on the stage in a rigid manner. He easily waded into the crowd and spoke in a style that was pleasing to all involved.

I was surprised and honored when I was summoned to Mr. Keets in front of everybody. I was by myself getting a soda when I was told to get back to the center of the crowd where Mr. Keets was.

He said that I “should go to Capitol Hill and replace Al Franken because you are a lot funnier than he is.”

I am a believer that one should never upstage somebody else, and I was not going to forget that he was the next governor and I was just a guest. So I very gingerly had him move the microphone toward me one last time.

“It was my honor sir. I believe you should come to my home state of California and replace everybody. You can have any job you want.”

I then left the microphone to him, and he lit up the night sky.

After Mr. Keets spoke, musician Rick Roberts played his guitar, doing mostly John Denver covers. The left loves to make GOP and Tea Party rallies out to be violent groups of mob activity, but this was a love-in. I referred to it as Woodstock without the hippies and drugs. You can’t get more peaceful than a group of people singing John Denver songs.

After the rally, Alan took the volunteers out to dinner. Given how awful my sense of direction was, I was glad that one of Alan’s friends is a respected police officer. The officer gave me his personal cell phone in case I got lost. He said he would rather hear from me at 3 or 4am than find out about me. I was told by others that this type of caring is simply what Arkansas is all about.

I got to meet the ladies of the Arkansas Republican Women’s Federated. Their new president is as nice as can be. Their next state convention is in April of 2011. Whether then or at other times, I look forward to being back in Arkansas many times over.

I did not manage to meet the Jewish community of Arkansas on this trip, but I did get to go the Clinton Presidential Library. I went in with an open mind, and left convinced that Mr. Clinton was simply peripheral. Many good things happened during his time in office, but not because of anything he did.

The thing about Mr. Clinton was that he was very immodest. He takes credit for things that would have happened without him.

This only made the GOP Convention and Paint Arkansas Red Rally even more important, because it showed the contrast. The people I met were not interested in taking credit for everything. They just wanted to get the job done. They were committed to electing conservatives, but they did not treat the other side as evil.

The Arkansas Republicans and conservatives I met, from Jim Keets to Alan Clark to Diane Silverman to the Hutchinsons, were just simply good people following the main ingredient of “Arkansas values.”

It starts with a healthy dose of “love thy neighbor.” After that, it only gets better, and that is before the Southern barbecue is cooked and the Razorbacks come on tv.


7 Responses to “GOP Convention 2010–Arkansas”

  1. I checked out the Garland County TEA Party site. Who knew English was our “official language?” I didin’t know we even had an “official language!” But not to worry – the Garland County Tea Party “believe” English is our “official lanuage” and that they are to protect that status. They also offer a programs for “emergency preparedness,” just in case Arkansas is attacked by terrorists! Because, after all, we all know Garland County Arkansas is second only to Manhattan on the terrorism target list! LOL!

    Our good host laments not meeting with the Arkansas Jewish community. May I suggest, next time he’s in Arkansas, just look in the mirror! There. You have just met the Arkansas Jewish community! Just kidding, just kidding! Seriously though, Arkansas has a very tiny Jewish population. Less than 1,700 all told. There apparently were a lot more Jewish people in Arkansas a few generations ago. I don’t know why they left. It doesn’t appear to have had any nefarious cause, or anything like that. I figure they just left to places with better prospects. Arkansas is a very poor state.

    If the TEA Party thinks conservatism is going to make Arkansas a better place, they have another thing coming. Conservatives and the GOP do not have much of a track record of turning around the fortunes of the poor.


  2. Toma says:

    The liberals and Dems have created the welfare states of America, all for the good of the poor of course.

    A little story: An old Republican attended a small dinner party in his neighborhood. He was approached by a couple along with their young daughter about 6 years old. The couple were flaming liberal democrats and wanted to goad the old republican a little by asking their young daughter to tell the gentleman what she planned to be when she grew up. The little girl smiled sweetly and stated that she would be President when she grew up. The old republican then ask her what she would do as president. She smiled sweetly and said, “The first thing I will do is make sure all the homeless people have homes”. Her parents were beaming proudly.

    “Well that is a very noble goal”. Said the old Republican. “I’ll help you make a good start in helping the homeless. If you will come over to my house Saturday and help me mow my yard I will pay you $50.00 and then you can take your $50.00 down to the corner where the homeless gather and give them your $50.00. How about that dear”?

    The little girl thought for a moment and asked. “Well, why don’t we have the homeless people come to your house and help you mow and you can pay them the $50.00”?

    “Welcome to the Republican Party my dear”. Said the old Republican.

    Her parents scowled at the old gentleman and scurried off. The little girl looked very puzzled.


  3. Eagle 6 says:

    Toma, I hadn’t heard that one in a while, and I have always appreciated its longevity, brevity, and levity…

    I have wrestled with the Army’s “celebration of diversity” for the last couple years. What makes the US Army so great are all the things that we share in common – not what separates us…that is why Basic Training is fairly rigorous – to break people down and build them up…to become brothers and sisters in arms…and when Soldiers from 40 years ago talk to new recruits, they still have a common “language”… Likewise, whether we want to have an official US language (i.e. English) or not, it only makes sense that if we want a United goup of people, we should speak the same language.

  4. Toma says:

    Eagle, Dems don’t want a “united group of people”. A united people can not be controlled. Keeping us divided is their only avenue to absolute control. They loathe unity as did Lenin and Stalin and Marx and so on.

    Notice the divisive rhetoric and in your face attutude the Dems demonstrate. Most Dems and liberals do not understand Americans nor will they understand your analogy of Military diversity vs common ground and common language.

    Your point being, I was in the Army from 64 to 68. I have two sons-in-law in the Army today. When we are together we still talk the same language. Even my girls can add to the conversation. It is unity and common language thru the ages. It is good to see.


  5. Gee, Toma, and all this time I thought the the litle girl said, “Well, why don’t you import cheaper labor from Mexico, pay them $10, put the homeless people in for-profit prisons that you own at the expensee of the taxpayers, and then give me $40 to be your mistress when I grow up?” And the old man said, “Welcome to the Republican party, my dear.”

    That’s the way it really is.


  6. Toma says:

    Jers, you illustrate my point exactly. Thank you again.


  7. The point, Toma, is that if you believe the Republican party is about the common man, about the uplifting of the people – and in particular the poor – then you are one of the “born every minute.” Regular joes who call themselves Republicans may believe all they they are well-meaning, patriotic Americans, but the people they put in power are anything but.


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