Oklahoma GOP convention wrapup

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When BC Lee (whom I met at the Oklahoma Republican State Convention on Saturday) said he looked forward my opining about the weekend, this is what I posted on Facebook in reply:

My opining in a nutshell: Very happy about Gary Jones winning re-election, unhappy at the defeat of the caucus proposal, even more unhappy at the tone of the debate on both sides of the issue, and perplexed that I had an easier time bending the ear of a Democratic legislator at a coffeehouse on Friday than in having a substantive conversation with any Republican legislator at the Republican convention on Saturday.

The caucus proposal was sound and well-thought-out, but it wasn't promoted well. I was very annoyed by the speech that one opponent gave -- a tall thin man with white hair, didn't catch his name or his county. His speech was filled with mischaracterizations of the proposal, and his tone communicated disrespect toward caucus supporters. But then I was so embarrassed by caucus supporter Tom Roach's overly emotional rebuttal that I walked out of the hall.

I wish in hindsight that I'd spent some time setting out the case for returning to the caucus here, but I was most concerned about getting Gary Jones reelected, and I hadn't seen all the specifics of the rules amendments.

There was another proposed rule change, coming from the Woodward County convention. The proposal seemed to add a convention in 2010 and a standing rules committee to propose changes that would be considered at that convention. The proposal did not specify which state rules were being amended or provide the new language that would go into the state rules. (The caucus proposal was very thorough in that regard.)

There were some issues (specifically State Sen. Tom Adelson's anti-SLAPP legislation) that I'd hoped to discuss with my friends in the legislature, but I didn't get the chance. The convention was an intense event, not quite as high stakes as last year, but there were a couple of big decisions to be made and a governor's race to get launched, and that may explain why people spent more time in the convention hall and less time schmoozing in the lobby, which in turn would explain why I didn't have much contact with legislators beyond a quick handshake. It didn't help that I got there at 9:10 and spent the next 40 minutes in line to register. I would have had more time to talk with people if I'd gotten there earlier. Unlike years past, I opted not to drive down the night before. The ticket price for the gala plus the cost of a hotel room was more than I wanted to pay.

Earlier I posted my Twitter feed during the convention. This link leads to my photos from the convention.

John Williams nominates his wife Cheryl Williams for Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican PartyHere's Michelle Byte's commentary on the convention. She has a good summary of the caucus debate. She also reveals why she banned John Wiliams, husband of state chairman candidate and former vice chairman Cheryl Williams, from the GetRightOK forum. John Williams was engaged in a bit of sockpuppetry on the forum and inadvertently gave himself away. (I can't look at that photo without thinking, "How about a nice Hawaiian Punch?")

I wholeheartedly agree with these comments:

There is one elected official, however, that stands above the rest. One who is willing to pitch in and help, and doesn't think of herself as above doing work. That person is Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy. What a wonderful lady! She worked with us in registration getting people's name badges for them on Friday night, and then on Saturday helping to control the line and again fetching name badges. I don't think you would see many any other elected officials serving others in that way. In fact, I didn't. So, Dana Murphy is awesome....

I wasn't able to see any of the speakers in the morning, but I did see Randy Brogdon's speech on youtube. It was excellent!...

I LOVED John Wright. He was a great convention chair and he made it fun.

State Rep. John Wright presides at 2009 Oklahoma Republican Convention

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6 Comments

David V Author Profile Page said:

I wish I could have been in 2 cities at once. I missed the convention.

I did hear the caucus debate was a huge flop.

I would have loved to have 30 seconds to ask:

1. If we journey back, in our minds to last Febuary, I'd like a show of hands of how many of you are pleased with our state's choice of of John McCain, given the very narrow margin of his primary win?
2. Was Bob Dole any better, back in '96?
It's time to enfuse some passion into our Caucus.

The "tall thin man with white hair" was Jace (pronounced like Jack) Dake from Cleveland County, I believe.

Mr. Bates, I agree with you about the Caucus issue. It was very thoroughly thought-out, and unlike the Woodward amendment, was carefully considered and crafted. It is very unfortunate that Sen. Coburn derided the proposal during his speech, as I believe he probably knew very little about the actual proposal, and returning to a caucus system, like we had not all that long ago, worked very well. The primary system is indeed broken as was previously pointed out by David V.

The Caucus OK team worked hard to get the word out - traveling to many county conventions to explain and promote the proposal, establishing a website (caucusok.org) that thoroughly explained the proposal, and e-mailing delegates in advance of the convention, inviting them to come and inspect the proposal for themselves at the website.

Unfortunately, such efforts were not enough to make enough delegates feel that they were sufficiently informed about the specifics of the proposal. And after the very hostile tone of the opposition (not only the debaters but also the crowd in general), I believe some of the Caucus OK debaters (well, one mainly) abandoned their practiced talking points.

However, in the end, I don't think had they stuck to their talking points it would have altered the outcome. After Coburn's comment, I think it was pretty much done.

Perhaps it will be brought up again two years from now at the next convention. When it does, I would be glad for you to support it here. I think such exposure is precisely what was lacking this last time around, and resulted in many delegates feeling they did not sufficiently understand the proposal to support it.

Thank you.

Jason Carini said:

MuskogeePolitico - the "tall thin man with white hair" is Jack Dake. He's a good man, and I know him well.

Nice article, Michael.

Thanks, Jason. Mr. Dake didn't make a good first impression on me.

W. said:

Serious question: What exactly were the objections to the caucus proposal?

Was it a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude? Or did delegates see something sinister with a caucus format?

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on April 23, 2009 6:34 PM.

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