GOP Convention 2010–Nevada

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 2010 Nevada GOP Convention in Henderson, just outside Las Vegas.

From a social standpoint, this convention was very disappointing for me. There were no afterparties! How can a city right near Las Vegas not have a ton of political social events in the hotel suites at night?

I suspect that because the convention had so much action of political floor battles, people were drained at the end of three days. From a political standpoint, this convention was very successful.

The Friday night dinner was fantastic. Comedian Rich Little did many of his famous impressions, including several past GOP presidents. His routine was bawdier than I expected, but because he is Rich Little, he got away with more than an up and coming comic would. His sidekick, a Ms. Walker, did a fabulous impersonation of Katherine Hepburn.

Senate candidate Sharron Angle spoke, but she was preceded by her defeated rival Danny Tarkanian. The theme of the night was unity, and Mr. Tarkanian gave a rousing and very gracious concession speech. When people want to have a political future, they have to fall in line during the president. He did, and his very classy remarks helped unite the party after the brutal primary.

When I met Mr. Tarkanian I told him that although I did not know Nevada politics, his father Jerry was one of my favorite college basketball coaches of all time. Tark the Shark was awesome at UNLV.

Sharron Angle’s greatest strength is also her greatest weakness. She is not a professional politician. I have done events with her since the convention, including a couple days ago. She is a Tea Party favorite, which means that the left will try to demonize her as a nutcase. She is nothing of the sort.

She is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. I kept calling her Mrs. Angle, and she kept insisting I call her Sharron. Although I was the comedian, she got laughs and applause when she referred to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as Phony Mae and Fraudie Mac.

Her appeal as a citizen candidate has been a double edged sword. She has made some gaffes, and Harry Reid is a seasoned politico willing to get as far in the gutter as necessary to save his job. The issue will be if Mrs. Angle is tough enough to throw elbows back. She speaks in such a soft, calm voice. She does not yell. If she keeps reminding the voters that the election is a referendum on Reid, she wins. If Reid convinces voters it is about her, he has a chance.

As I said, Sharron Angle is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. We shall see if there is steel underneath that velvet exterior. One issue she brought up is that while Harry Reid does have a respectable B rating from the NRA, she has an A. Gun owners should not be fooled.

The main speaker at the convention dinner was RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

I have said before that I love the man. I was not sure he would remember me even though I had spoken in front of him only a couple weeks earlier. He meets hundreds of people. However, he saw me and gave me a big bear hug.

When I brought up the event a couple weeks ago, I said, “Mr. Chairman, not only did the media write a hit piece on you from that event, but they even came after me. Who am I?”

He laughed, and I let him know that I offered a full throttled defense of him. He deserved that.

Steele did not back down, nor should he. In a fiery speech that had people repeatedly interrupting him with ovations, he went after the left, and the weak kneed jellyfish that claim to be on the right. Unlike our current president, Chairman Steele offers soaring rhetoric, but actually backs it up with substance. He is not a human platitude machine. He understands that the 2010 elections are critical, and he reminded us to stay focused, and not turn inward.

Yes, he has been under fire by people determined to undermine him. He is still standing, and I suspect he will be tall in the RNC saddle after these elections.

The blinding beauty of the convention came in the form of a woman who could easily have a modeling career if she gets bored with politics. Elizabeth Hurley is now the other Elizabeth. Nevada offers us Elizabeth Halseth. In addition to being stunning, she is also a solid substantive conservative Republican.

(Sorry boys, she is happily married with children.)

The gubernatorial candidate who ousted Jim Gibbons spoke to the crowd. He was tall with very good hair. He could run for president.

I mistook the local congressman for the valet guy, but that was only because he was dressed so nicely. Besides, if a congressman is not noticed, it means he is doing his job.

Naturally the ladies of the Nevada Federation of Republican Women were in attendance. The days bracketing the convention were spent speaking to the Sparks (Reno) and Pahrump groups, and they were fabulous. The Active Republican Women of Las Vegas have their 40th anniversary celebration in mid-October.

One thing I noticed at this convention was that I was not the only vendor who was “convention-hopping.” Jeff Reul has great merchandise, and another guy name Tom Wild has some of the best t-shirts in the country. He has t-shirts of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi that say “Replace this face.” I have decided to do business with him since I like him and trust him.

The convention itself, despite the lack of afterparties, was very successful. Nevada had some of the most brutal primaries in the country, and the party appeared very unified by the time the weekend was over. Republicans in Nevada will not be engaging in a circular firing squad. They understand that a certain liberal majority leader needs to go. Republicans need to stick together if they are to, as my new friend Tom Wild says, replace his face.


One Response to “GOP Convention 2010–Nevada”

  1. When it comes to Angle, I don’t see this “velvet exterior” you see. I see a nut. It’s not that she’s a “Tea Party favorite,” it’s that she comes off like a nut. You say she speaks in “a soft, calm voice.” Well, she could whisper for all I care, if she’s saying something nutty, it’s still nutty, no matter the tone of voice.

    All this superficial nonsense aside, Angle’s religious zealotry, the constant, frighteningly divisive talk of “war” when it comes to our politics, talk of getting rid of social security entirely, talk of deregulating to the point of a Third World nation – this is nutty rhetoric. It’s not how she says it, it’s not what she looks like when she says it, it’s not who she says it to – it’s what she says. That’s what makes her seem like nut.

    This sentiment isn’t just coming from the Left. Many within the GOP are very concerned with Angle. She’s known as rigidly ideological, unrealistic, and difficult to work with – a “difficult person.” She is associated with Oath Keepers, a radical and dangerous, subversive group.

    She refuses to talk to the media, aside from Fox and a few other rightwing outlets, and has even come right out and said she only wants to answer the questions she wants asked and wants to use media outlets for free fund raising!

    She’s a nut. Period. Tea Party or no Tea Party. Soft spoken or not. Velvet exterior or not. She’s a nut. Period.


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