Bobby On The Loose!

Sarah Who?
August 30, 2008, 3:04 pm
Filed under: Republican National Convention

Yesterday morning I turned on the TV and learned that Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty were officially out of consideration to be McCain’s VP.  Then they began to talk about Sarah Palin, and I said to myself “Sarah who?”  While I was happy to hear a lot of speculation focus on a woman candidate, I was still unsure of how to feel since I have never even heard of this lady before. 

During the morning session, they streamed in McCain’s announcement live so we could all watch.  Everyone at that point had been well assured she was the pick, so it was no surprise when the official announcement came.  And then she spoke, and I was wildly surprised.  I thought she spoke exceptionally and I think she brings a lot of attractive values to the ticket.  She is definitely very conservative, which was important in a pick to assure that the Evangelicals come out to vote on Election Day.  But what I liked most about her is that she is a Washington outsider.  That seems obvious, but what I mean by that is that she didn’t get involved in politics because she wanted to make it a career, she did so because she saw something that needed to be changed and she did it.  She didn’t plan to rise up the ranks and eventually be the governor of Alaska, but as she got involved in city council and then mayor, she saw even more challenges that needed to be faced.  Even though she is “inexperienced,” I still feel as if she is one of the only candidates who was able to give a speech about the accomplishments she had in office, not just attack the other person.  She also brings energy to the Republican Party.  Is going to attract many Hillary Clinton voters?  Probably not.  But I think she will get conservative women out the polls, a group of people who may have otherwise not voted in this election. 

No matter what happens on November 4, it is going to be historical.  Either the first African American will be elected president or the first female will be elected vice president.

Sound bite of the day: “…reform…” -Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) (Finally the Republicans have found a synonym for the word “change”)


How did a chair nearly end up in the TV?
August 29, 2008, 4:26 am
Filed under: Republican National Convention

Because I nearly threw a chair into the TV while watching Lord Barack Obama’s speech tonight.  No number of eloquent words can begin to describe the frustration I experienced as I watched a man in contention to be our next president describe policies so insulting to what it means to be an American.  Just typing this blog angers me to think that the Democratic nominee for president has such flawed and unrealistic economic ideas that could damage our economy in a very severe way.  How does passing out entitlements benefit the economy of the United States?  How does subsidizing health care create a better economic environment for America?  How does raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy create more jobs for this country?  How does blaming George W. Bush for a housing crisis that was out of his hands and an unpreventable natural disaster that hit New Orleans make sense?  How does promising to be independent of foreign oil in ten years seem to be a realistic outlook on the future?  And how does Barack Obama wearing a $2,000 suit relate him to the common man and the struggles he claims they face?  These were just a few of the gripes I had as I watched The Messiah promise policies so out of touch with reality.  These are just a few of the reasons why I nearly threw a chair at the TV.  Was the speech orated masterfully…absolutely.  Do the Republicans need to dazzle in Minneapolis…without question.

Sound bite of the day: “If you are not liberal when you are young, you have not heart.  If you are not conservative when you are old, you have no brain.” -I didn’t hear it today, but I did at some point in time from either Ana, Amanda, or Ruth.

The reason I make that the sound bite of the day is because I have been thinking a lot about the youth support Barack Obama has.  Every corner I turn on Temple’s campus, there seems to always be someone with a Obama t-shirt or someone handing out fliers.  But I think Obama winning based on the ignorance of college students is also a scary thought.  In my opinion, people my age are voting on emotion.  The question is, are they going to be able to live with the repercussions that will exist years down the road when so much of their hard earned money is being subject to unbelievably high taxes?  It is a question that not even I can answer now, but one that will eventually be answered if Barack Obama is elected.

The rise of the executive branch.
August 28, 2008, 4:13 am
Filed under: Republican National Convention
Me and Former Congressman Mickey Edwards

Me and Former Congressman Mickey Edwards

This morning’s business got a little heated when former Congressman Mickey Edwards gave his presentation on something that he wrote about in his book, “Reclaiming Conservatism.”  In it, he discusses how Congressional power has decreased while the president has gained authority dating back to FDR, particularly in foreign affairs.  Many Americans view the president as a leader and figure head of our country, however, the Constitution states that we have three equal branches of government.  Despite being a passionate conservative his entire life, he talked about his grievances he has with the Bush Administration in regards to such advances in power.  He believes that in a number of instances, the Bush Administration has done things that violate the Constitution and the concept of checks and balances by not having Congress approve some of Bush’s actions, such as the wire tapping.  As he made some of these accusations, a number of people began to get upset.  One student raised his hand and began shouting at Congressman Edwards, more or less insinuating that Congressman Edwards was being a liberal and that a true conservatives voice should be represented in this debate (although he was unwilling to debate.  Congressman Edwards defended his conservatism in saying that while he agrees with President Bush in policy, he doesn’t in many cases with the procedures Bush has taken to get what he wants. 

After this happened, I sat back and analyzed both people’s positions and came to the conclusion that in reality, Congressman Edwards was being even more conservative than President Bush.  In requesting Congress to reduce some power of the executive branch, it is limiting the central government, and that is what conservatism is all about.  It is probably safe to say that much of Congressman Edwards bias comes from having served time as a Representative in the House, so that should be taken into consideration.  It is also important to look at technological advances that has made quick decision making by the president essential, typically not leaving time to wait for Congress to vote on whatever measures need to be taken.  However, the scary thought is what precedent have presidents of the past, including but not limited to George W. Bush, created that could continue the expansion of the executive branch and giving it excessive power?  As a passionate conservative myself, I stand with Congressman Edwards in agreeing with Bush policies, but not necessarily procedures in all cases, and that checks and balances need to be restored to proper function to maintain democracy. 

Outside of the Xcel Energy Center

Outside of the Xcel Energy Center

After all of the rousing discussion, we were bussed to the Xcel Energy Center where we got a behind the scenes look as the venue for the convention was being set up.  The technology and design of the building are incredible.  It is sure to be a glamorous event.

Sound bite of the day: “I have watched how Barack Obama touches people.” -Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE)

Why we have conventions.
August 27, 2008, 4:07 am
Filed under: Republican National Convention

Today Jo Ann Davidson, the Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee, spoke to us about the importance of conventions for political parties.  Despite the media’s portrayal of a National Convention as simply being a huge celebration (I even commented tonight that the DNC seemed to be like the Academy Awards), there is a lot of behind the scenes work that happens that essentially helps clearly define what a particular party stands for.  For example, one of the most important tasks of a convention is setting and adopting the rules and platform of a political party.  Unlike the Democrats, the rules established at the RNC are set in stone and cannot be changed until four years later when the entire party reconvenes at the following convention, which makes them very important.

As the current Co-Chair of the RNC, she next discussed the site selection for a political convention which I found to be quite interesting.  The first step is to send out letters to a variety of cities to find out which ones would be interested in hosting such an event.  For this particular convention, the Republicans heard back from Cleavland, Tampa Bay, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and once again New York City (NYC hosted the 2004 Republican National Convention).  After receiving these responses, it was next their duty to tour the cities and venues to see which would be capable of holding such a massive event.  In the end, the final decision was based on the facilities and whether or not the community would welcome the event.

Many people have come to oppose political conventions because they believe that increased technology makes them unnecessary.  There are also many obstacles when planning conventions, such as security and raising enough money.  Although each party receives a certain amount of money for their conventions, that hardly puts a dent in the total cost and it is up to the party to foot the rest of the bill.  However, conventions are still important because they energize supporters to do what needs to happen to get their candidate elected.

We also took a four hour bus tour of Minneapolis/St. Paul and of the Minnesota Capitol Building.  While Minneapolis and St. Paul are beautiful cities with their lakes and access to the Mississippi River, I find that both towns lack the historical background of Philadelphia, which made the tour somewhat boring, however that certainly won’t interfere with what is to happen in the coming week.  We ended the bus ride at the Minnesota State Fair and I ate a lot of fried food on a stick (enough said).

Sound bite of the day: “…sisterhood of the travelling pant suit…” -Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY)

A dose of reality.
August 26, 2008, 3:51 am
Filed under: Republican National Convention

We had a few doses of reality today.  After having to wake up at 6:30 this morning, we soon took a stroll a few blocks to Augsburg College, a small liberal arts college that is hosting The Washington Center for the duration of the convention.  We enjoyed a few guest speakers who continued to reiterate the importance of politics in our lives in order to maintain the democracy that we cherish.  Once again, former Congressman Mickey Edwards spoke, this time about the day he was inaugurated into the House of Representatives.  By comparison to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s historic runs for the White House, he reflected on the fact that American politics, despite many people’s views, are no longer controlled by WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) as they formerly were.  Raised in a Jewish family, he reminisced of when he was elected in 1977, and how this notion has been reinforced by Senators Obama and Clinton.  There was also much discussion of who will be John McCain’s VP pick, and let’s just say there was no clear consensus.  Speculation ranged from Joe Lieberman to Mitt Romney to Kay Bailey Hutchinson, and there was even mention of Hillary Clinton!  What is interesting to note is that McCain plans to announce his selection on Friday, the day after the Democratic National Convention wraps up, which will surely shift media attention away from the Democrats all weekend until the RNC begins, and will likely negate any bump in the polls Obama might expect following his convention.

However, much of the fun stopped there.  We took a break for lunch and went to a restaurant infested with unemployed hippies who are in Minneapolis to protest next week.  After hearing their shenanigans and then being called a fascist, I left to eat someplace else.  Following lunch, we met in our small groups to begin formally learning about the political conventions.  My expectations coming here, especially as a business student, are to have a phenomenal time and take in the rush and excitement that I am going to experience as so much national attention will be focused on Minneapolis.  If all went well, I might meet and have my picture taken with John McCain, George Bush, maybe even Sean Hannity and Info-babe Megyn Kelly, but nobody told me we were going to have HOMEWORK!  But so it seems that if I expect to receive three credits upon the completion of the program, I am going to have to keep a journal and write a paper.  Thank God there are no midterms or finals.  My last big disappointment of the day came as I continued to meet many of the fellow students here.  It seemed reasonable to expect that the people who would want to be here would be other conservatives like myself.  Finally, I can have a week to bask in the glory of being a Republican, something that is not easy to do these days.  But no.  People starting coming out of the woodwork and revealing that they are actually Democrats!  How did this possibly happen?  I am sure that no Republicans mistakenly showed up at the DNC!

Nonetheless, I am still having a great time, and I think that my interaction with my honors advisors has proven that I get along just fine with liberals!  We concluded the day with a trip to the Mall of America.  While it is thrilling to say that I have been there, it is really nothing special, other than having an amusement park right in the middle of the mall.  For any Philadelphians who love to shop, my opinion is that King of Prussia is nicer!

We Made It!
August 25, 2008, 3:33 am
Filed under: Republican National Convention
Us at the Philadelphia International Airport before departure!

Us at the Philadelphia International Airport before departure!

We arrived in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul this afternoon following two hassle free flights (which is uncommon these days).  We were meeted and greeted by the wonderful people of The Washington Center and dinner soon followed.  After dinner, we had a short ice breaker in which fellow Temple student Ian Peterson stood in front of the crowd and did his impressions of Greta van Susteren and Geraldo Rivera.  Let’s just say he was a fan favorite.  Next we got the run down of what to expect, but more importantly, we were warned not to have too high of expectations so that when exciting things happen, we can be pleasantly surprised, and when other things don’t happen, we won’t be disappointed.

Former Congressman Mickey Edwards also spoke, reminding us all of why we were there.  Despite many people’s negative views towards politics, he said “politics is the way free people govern themselves.”  This is evident given right now a whole separate platform of opinions are being discussed in Denver.  Even though politics are often perceived as people bickering with each other, the engagement of free ideas is what make democracy works, which is important for all citizens to consider.

Lastly, we got together in small groups that we are going to meet with throughout the course of the week to satisfy our academic portion of this trip.  Each of the twelve groups have a faculty advisors, and let’s just say my group lucked out.  Most advisors are professors at universities throughout the country, however, mine also holds the duty as a delegate from North Carolina, which she ensured us would help to get my group credentials and invitations to many exclusive functions and parties.  More on that as it develops!  I am definitely in store for an exciting two weeks, despite having to be up at 6:30am every morning!

RNC Here I Come!
August 21, 2008, 11:30 pm
Filed under: Republican National Convention

It all started one sunny morning during my freshman year at Temple University.  I opened my email to a message from Ruth Ost with the subject line something to the effect of “Political Junkies…Great Opportunity!”  Now typically I disregard emails from Ruth because most of them belong in my junk mail, but as an avid Republican and political guru, this one caught my eye.  As I scanned the message, I was excited to learn that the Vice Provost’s Office would sponsor three Temple students to travel to the Democrat and Republican National Conventions in Denver and Minneapolis.  I thrillingly thought to myself, “that has me written all over it!”  However, I soon disregarded it once I considered the thousands of students at Temple and the fact that I was just a first semester freshman.  How could I possibly put together a resume and write an essay so impressive to compete with the hundreds of upperclassmen that would surely apply for such an exciting opportunity?  Even though Temple is a very liberal campus, there has to be at least a couple hundred Republicans on campus who would also think of this as the chance of a lifetime.  Well that was my first mistake…the Republican population on campus is probably in the teens.  My second mistake was discrediting myself to think that I didn’t have what it took to be awarded such an opportunity.  While debating politics with Ruth one afternoon, she asked me if I was going to apply?  I expressed my lack of confidence, but she encouraged me to give it a shot anyway.  After spending countless hours sprucing up my resume and drafting my essay, I finally felt assured I had put together an impressive application.  

And then I waited.  I waited for days, and weeks, and months.  Each day I would ask Ruth when the decisions would be made, and she promised me by Halloween.  Finally Halloween came, and still I heard nothing.  The Honors Office closes at 5:00, so by 4:30 I had simply accepted the fact that I didn’t get it.  But, at nearly 5:00 on the dot, I received an email from Ruth titled “This is not trick-or-treat…it’s all treat!”  Let’s just say the rest is history.

All summer I have prepared for the RNC by contacting my local delegates and spending much of my money buying ties and dress shirts.  I recently learned my fieldwork assignment will be working with photographers from and the Pioneer Press, a large media outlet in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region.  Now I am just three days away from hopping on a flight at PHL headed for Minneapolis and one of the greatest experiences of my life.