GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA, June 11, 2012 — Last week the Republican Party of North Carolina held their annual convention. North Carolina is a great state, and the Republicans are in great shape. With the presidential election only five months away, it has emerged as one of the few battleground states that both campaigns are obsessing over. In this election, the winner of North Carolina will win the White House.
At the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, close to 2,000 delegates got down to business. Chairman Robin Hayes wanted a unified GOP, and by the end of the weekend he had it.
One thing Chairman Hayes did that clearly worked was treat the various factions of the party with dignity. One group called Conservatives for Guilford County wanted, as their name suggests, a more conservative party. When they held after-parties in the hospitality suites, Chairman Hayes joined them. I addressed the group the first night and comedian Steven Crowder did likewise on the second night. Lee Haywood put the events together, and the conservative wing of the party was ready for business.
Another group of separatists were the ones who attend all the conventions. They are economically conservative who also have leftist views on foreign policy. Some conventions devolve into chaos because of these people. Chairman Hayes let them speak, and insisted that the discussion be civil all around. The separatists did not carry the day because they were outvoted. They simply had a smaller presence from a percentage standpoint than they have had in other states.
Governor Mitt Romney is the GOP nominee, and the lunches and dinners were reserved for his top tier surrogates.
The Friday night dinner featured Donald Trump. Trump was as fiery and exciting as expected. The liberal media desperately wants to label him a “birther” in an attempt to embarrass Mr. Romney, but that was a tiny slice of his remarks. The main issue that has always galvanized Trump is the economy. He is angry that China cheats the United States out of trade dollars with no recriminations. Trump is not anti-Chinese. He is anti-cheating. He received a rousing reception when it was over. In an odd turn of events, he spoke before dinner rather than after. So once he was done serving up red meat, the crowd got to devour some more of it at their tables.
The Saturday luncheon featured former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty is often described as “boring” and “milquetoast.” So it was a shock to the crowd when he exploded out of the gate like a bottle rocket. Pawlenty was intense, and immediately exhorted the crowd to help him fire President Obama. If “T-Paw” had shown this passion during the primaries, he might have been the nominee. He is a serious vice presidential contender.
Saturday evening brought Texas Governor Rick Perry. In another moment of confusion, dinner was served while he was speaking. His remarks were passionate but surprisingly short. The crowd loved what he said, but was more than a bit confused as to why he did not say more. Faith and Freedom Coalition Founder Ralph Reed also gave some brief remarks as a prequel to his lengthier remarks at the Sunday prayer breakfast.
In an honor that never gets old, I got to address the delegates myself at the beginning of the afternoon session. The only thing to do was give them a heaping dose of North Carolina humor.
“I got lost while driving in Charlotte. I stopped into a church with a liberal Jewish friend to ask for directions. The preacher kept talking to us about the Reverend Billy Graham. My friend got frustrated and said that he did not want a bible-thumping Christian zealotry session. He did not want to be converted. He just wanted directions. The preacher calmly looked at him and pointed out that Billy Graham was the highway.”
“So whether one is Jewish, Christian, or any other religion, Billy Graham does lead to all the answers. Everything turned out all right and we took the road less traveled.”
“To understand how revered Billy Graham is in North Carolina, even Dale Earnhardt admired Billy Graham. When the Intimidator is intimidated, then you know the other person is a big deal.”
“North Carolina is very different from California. North Carolina gave the world the great Dale Earnhardt, who left us way too soon in a tragic car wreck. California gave the world Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi, who turned California into a tragic car wreck.”
“A town near Charlotte is named Newton, North Carolina. (NFL Panthers Quarterback) Cam has only been quarterback for one year. It is a little to early to name a city after him. Don’t put him in the Hall of Fame just yet.”
“The good news is that Governor Beverly Perdue is going, going gone. The bad news is that she will be staying in North Carolina doing the only job that matches her skill set. The misery will continue since she has just been announced as the next coach of the Charlotte Bobcats.”
“I used to think California Republicans were the most dysfunctional individuals on Earth. I have thoroughly enjoyed these last couple of weeks learning about North Carolina Democrats. When John Edwards is not your biggest source of embarrassment, your party is in trouble.”
North Carolina is expected to be a battleground, but the Democratic Party is in shambles. The Executive Director was caught in a sexual harassment scandal. The Chair of the Democratic Party was accused of covering it up. Governor Purdue is the most unpopular of all fifty governors. She “decided” not to run for a second term with quiet “encouragement” from President Obama. This is all in addition to the John Edwards trial, which ended just before the NCGOP Convention began.
The National Democratic Convention is in Charlotte, and things got so bad for Democrats that there was talk of moving it. It will stay in Charlotte, and the irony of President Obama bashing Wall Street from Bank of America Stadium is one of many reasons that the Democrats are dejected and the Republicans are energized in this state.
National Committeeman David Lewis is very popular, and he was easily reelected to his post. National Committeewoman Ada Fisher is a black, Jewish woman who gives rousing fire and brimstone speeches. She beat back a challenge to her post by sheer force of will. She knows how to rally the faithful.
As in many states, it is the ladies of the Republican Women’s Federated who do a lot of the heavy lifting. NCFRW President Dena Barnes continues to be the lady that young North Carolina politicians just starting out go to for help. Martha Jenkins is with the organization at the national level, in keeping with the importance of the state in general.
Yet if there was one person who inspired me, it was Ann Sullivan. One week before the convention, she was in the hospital after another heart attack. She should have been resting. She feels that the stakes in this presidential election are too high, and that we all have hard work to do. I told the delegates that if anybody thought they had a valid excuse to slack off before November, they had better be prepared to answer to Ann Sullivan.
From the pre-convention kickoff barbecue to the final prayer breakfast and wrap-up session, the North Carolina Republicans took their responsibilities seriously. While credentials, platform, resolutions, and other committee meetings can range from dry to exasperating, the hard work resulted in a truly unified GOP.
The media keeps saying that North Carolina will be close. My personal prediction is that President Obama will get trounced in the state. His decision to endorse gay marriage will help him on the coasts but fatally wound him in North Carolina, which voted against gay marriage by a 60-40% landslide only one month earlier on the day of the state primary. President Obama barely won the state in 2008 with a disproportionately high turnout among black voters. Black men oppose gay marriage more than their white counterparts. The Democratic coalition in the state is cracking while the Republican coalition is united.
Chairman Hayes guarded against complacency. His warning was well heeded. From highly regarded gubernatorial nominee Pat McRory to rising stars running throughout the state for lower offices, the 2012 North Carolina Republican Convention had the feel of a victorious pep rally.
Since the objective was to come together and be focused on the fall elections, it is safe to say that the first step of unity desired by Chairman Hayes should be described as “mission accomplished.”
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian.
Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.” Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. After years of dating liberals, he has finally seen the light and now only dates Republican Jewish women. His family is pleased over this. Republican, Jewish women, you may contact Eric above.
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