Democracy at Work – the 2012 Nevada Republican Caucus

I love being a part of democracy at work. I just got back from the 2012 Nevada Republican caucus. It was so much fun!

I've been to a caucus and blogged about it twice before. My blog about the 2008 caucus is here and about the 2010 caucus is here. Of the caucuses I've been to this seemed the most organized and the best attended. There were a lot of people there. The caucus was held at our local middle school. 

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Registration didn't take long and then they sent us off to the classroom where our precinct was meeting. In my precinct meeting there were 23 people. We met in an American history classroom. I loved the quotations on the cabinet behind me.

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First we elected a chair person and a secretary. My new neighbor was elected precinct chair person. She was efficient and did a great job. She is the one standing on the left.

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The second order of business was allowing volunteers to speak for each candidate. My neighbor spoke for Romney and was quite convincing. She talked about watching Romney when she lived in Utah and how impressed she was with how he managed the Olympics. Someone else suggested we read Romney's plan for America.

Another woman spoke for Rick Santorum. No one volunteered to speak for Gingrich and when no one volunteered to speak for Ron Paul I said I would.

I am a life long Republican. I believe in small government. I am a fiscal conservative and I believe that usually free enterprise can do things better than government. But I do believe that government has a role to play. I have become convinced that everyone should have health insurance and that Obama care is a step in the right direction. I am pro choice and pro gay marriage.

When I spoke for Ron Paul  I was thinking about foreign policy. I still have not forgiven the Republicans and George Bush for capriciously taking us to war in Iraq and for running up our national debt. Because of George Bush I voted for a democrat for the first time in my life four years ago.

The president can't change fiscal policy without the congress but he can take us to war. After listening to the Republican debates I am afraid that Romney would invade Iran to prevent them from becoming a nuclear country. So I spoke for Ron Paul because even though he is a bit of a wing nut I am confident that he wouldn't start another war.

So anyway, the next step in our precinct caucus was for people to volunteer to be delegates to the county convention. I volunteered.

Next we voted and the chairperson and I counted the votes.The results were

Romney 14

Santorum 4

Gingrich 3

Paul 2

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The whole experience was fun! I got to meet neighbors and as I said enjoy democracy at work. I even got to see Reno's mayor Bob Cashell.

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If you would like to see all my pictures from the caucus you can see them on Flickr here.

I usually avoid talking about politics but you can see all my politics blog posts by clicking on politics in the category list to the right.

 

I Heard Michelle Obama and Harry Reid Speak Today

My friends Linda, Pat, Beverley and I went to the Women's Summit Reno 2010 this morning. 

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The highlight of the summit was seeing and hearing Harry Reid and Michelle Obama. Harry Reid introduced Mrs Obama by talking about the important role his wife has played in his success and how Mrs Obama  plays a similar role for her husband.

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Michelle Obama apologized for her hoarse voice which was a result of the cold she caught from her husband. She gave a great speech about the role women have played in our country and continue to play. I found it very inspiring. 

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The whole event was fun. I got to shake Harry Reid's hand.

Over the years Beverley has met four Presidents and before today two First Ladies. I should have stayed with Beverley because she was the first one to speak to and shake Michelle Obama's hand as she left the stage.

Washoe County Republican Precinct Meetings

Saturday I attended the Washoe County Republican Precinct Meeting for my precinct. Two years ago when I attended the Republican caucus for the presidential election there were several hundred people and McQueen High School was overflowing. I would guess that 40 to 50 precincts meet at McQueen High School. There are 261 registered Republicans in my precinct and I have no idea how many Republicans in all the precincts that meet at McQueen.

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The meeting started out with all the attendees from all the precincts in the entry way of the High School getting instructions. I would estimate that there were about 50 people in total attending. We split up into our precincts and went to separate rooms for the actual precinct meeting. There were two people from my precinct, myself and another woman. So I was the meeting chairman and she was the secretary. We elected ourselves as delegates to the county convention and central committee. Then we voted in the straw poll for our choices for the senatorial and gubernatorial races. Then we adjourned.

You would think that if you were a hard working well organized candidate you would try to attend the these meetings or at least have someone there representing you. It was interesting to note that only two candidates were represented. It makes me wonder if the other candidates even care about the people they would represent if they were elected.

It was quite impressive that Sharron Angle's husband was handing out campaign literature and she was at the meeting. Sharron Angle is running for the U.S. Senate. Angle and her husband live in our general area. She said she was going  to try to attend  all the precinct meetings around Reno. I think the other represented candidate was Brian Sandoval but I'm not sure. I talked to Sharron briefly and had my picture taken with her. I was impressed with her and I liked the fact that she makes her positions very clear on her web site. Many candidates don't. I was a little put off by the fact that another woman I talked to said that Angle is just too much of a right wing fringe candidate. My politics are probably closer to independent than to Republican but I find the whole political process fascinating.

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The straw poll ballots were counted later in the afternoon at the Washoe County Republican headquarters. I got  an email with the results.

GOVERNOR
 
Jim Gibbons            45.6%
Brian Sandoval       41.4%
Mike Montandon     12.6%
Brian Krolicki             0.4%

U.S. SENATE
 
Sharron Angle         42.9%
Sue Lowden            18.4%
Danny Tarkanian    15.2%
Mark Amodei           10.0%
Bill Parson                  5.8%
Brian Krolicki              5.5%
Robin Titus                 1.3%
Chuck Kozak              0.3%
Mike Wiley                  0.3%
Brian Sandoval          0.3%

I’m in Favor of Health Care Reform!

I'm going to do something today that I haven't done in the almost five years that I have been blogging. I am going to take a political stand. Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By asked that elder bloggers stand up and be counted about where they stand on health care.  I am for health care reform for the following reasons

  • It bothers me tremendously that 15% of Americans have NO health care coverage (cit.
    census.gov). We spend more on health care than 191 other countries
    studied and are ranked 72nd by overall level of health (cit. WHO).
    These numbers are all related. We can do better. I hate that as a country we are so second class, actually 72nd class in this department. I hate that the French, The English, The Canadians etc can all look down their nose at us when it comes to health care.
  • It bothers me that we ration health care today by how much money you make or we just let the insurance companies ration it. That just seems wrong to me. I unfortunately listen to Hannity and Limbaugh when I am in the car with my Dad. Both men rail against health care rationing as though the rationing we have today does not exist.
  • It upsets me that my daughter who has diabetes probably would have a very hard time if her company went belly up. When my second daughter's company went out of business cobra coverage wasn't even available. How could either of my daughters possibly afford health insurance as an entreporeneur. They both have pre existing conditions.
  • As my Dad has spent so much time in the hospital lately I have seen how wasteful our current system is and how it rewards the wrong things. For example Dad's doctor said he could be released from the hospital but they kept him and charged Medicare for another night because they couldn't arrange transportation to the rehab facility. I am convinced that the shortage of transportation was no accident.
  • On the whole people with Medicare like it. My Dad who is a Rush Limbaugh Republican and who has Medicare and great cheap secondary insurance through his former employer has no complaints about Medicare. A lot of people think government can't possibly run an insurance program well but it seems to me that Medicare is proof that a public insurance program can work.
  • People say we can't afford health care reform. Given how much health care costs today I don't see how we can afford not to change the current system.
  • When Duke and I left California we had to give up Kaiser where your medical records were computerized. When you had a test at Kaiser it was in the system, when you had a prescription it was in the system. The system I deal with for my Dad where the only one who knows what meds he is on or what is medical history is or his history of tests is him is stupid.

My friend Myrna forwarded to me this email from David Axelrod. I think it makes the case much better than I have. I urge you to read it.

Ronni Bennett who launched today as elders for health care reform is collecting and listing on her site blogs from elders on this subject. I Like what she says about why we need to stand up and be counted. (I'm an over 50 elder even if I am too young for Medicare)

" It has already become a kneejerk reaction for reporters on
television, the internet and in print to preface their reports on town
hall meetings and other reform events by noting that participants are
mostly old people. Their references are sometimes snide and dismissive
as they point out the ignorance on display and the raucous nature of
the gatherings.

I want to believe those elders are a tiny minority. Let's show the
internet world tomorrow why we believe all citizens should have
coverage at least as good as the Medicare we enjoy."

I have always believed that the private sector is more efficient and better at getting things done than the government but I now believe that in the case of health care other countries are right and we are wrong. We need to give the government responsibility for continuous improvement in the quality and cost of health care. Every American should have basic health insurance coverage. Our medical system can and should lead the world.

Voting – John Marshall by John Edward Smith

I love voting. It is absolutely one of my favorite things to do. It makes me feel good. I just walked up to the Aspen Lodge and cast my vote. There was no line so I didn't even need to use the book I brought along to read if I had to wait in line.

I am reading John Marshall by Jean Edward Smith  and I am really enjoying it. I just read about the congressional election of 1799. Marshall was running against John Clopton in a very close race. I love Smith's description of the voting process

" Election day, April 24,1799, had a festive air about it. There were no written or printed ballots at that time in Virginia, and the voter merely announced his choice to the election judges seated behind a long table placed on the courthouse green. Suffrage was limited to male freeholders twenty-one or older, and it was customary for the candidates to sit alongside the judges, where they acted as scrutineers. When a voter announced his choice, the candidate for whom he voted rose, shook the voter's hand. and thanked him for his support. All of this took place before a partisan crowd that grew in size as the day wore on. Each party provided a barrel of whiskey, and voters often tested both barrels before making their choice. The liquor warmed the spirits of the crowd, who greeted each vote with the appropriate cheers and catcalls.The contest between Clopton and Marshall was tight, and throughout the day the lead shifted back and forth between the two men. Each party worked hard to get absent voters to the courthouse"

In the end Marshall won by 114 votes.

Irrational Optimism

I read both conservative and liberal blogs.

I like Digital Rules by Rich Karlgaard on the right and Robert Reisch's Blog on the left, to name just two.
In all cases I enjoy thoughtful discussion and am always depressed by extremism.

I was especially depressed recently when one of my Dad's doctors in all seriousness told us that he believes that Obama is a sleeper cell agent of terrorists. And then even more depressing the next day a blackjack dealer openly displayed her racism when she told us she was appalled that we might actually elect a black man. Both of these people are in professions that usually keeps their political opinions to themselves which makes you wonder  if they are just the tip of the iceberg. Depressing!!

For me the bottom line is in a comment I recently made on another Blog.

In either case you have to hope.
If I vote for McCain I am hoping he will be more like he used to be
before he ran for president and will not be like he is now….
pandering to the far right.

If I vote for Obama I am hoping that in spite of his liberal voting record he will govern from the center.

It probably comes down to irrational optimism in both cases. I'm inclined to believe in Obama more than McCain.

Which delegates were seated?

If you have been following my posts about the feud within the Nevada Republican party you know that two different groups selected delegate to the Republican National convention. It was left up to the national party credentials committee to decide which delegates to seat.

One group of delegates was selected by the party insiders. After the insiders lost control of the state convention they ended the convention and later had the central committee name the delegates privately.

The other group of delegates was elected at a second convention that was primarily made up of Ron Paul supporters. When the insiders blocked their efforts to elect Ron Paul delegates at the original state convention they held their own convention and elected their own set of delegates.

So the decision of which delegates to seat was left to be decided by the credentials committee which met in private last Saturday.

According to the Reno Gazette Journal:

"Ultimately, a national contest committee rejected both delegations and
named a compromise slate that included four Paul supporters and 27
delegates originally appointed by the party.
In its report, the
contest committee slammed the state party’s “ineptness” in mishandling
the delegate election that left out the “grass-roots”.
“The committee finds the state party’s delegate selection process flawed, inadequate and unacceptable,” the report said."

"Nevada Chairwoman Sue Lowden defended the state party…………

But she challenged the idea that "nine people on a committee" had the standing to judge the party "inept."

"It's unfortunate they would use that particular word, and I've been assured they will make it up to us," she said."

It will be interesting how this soap opera impacts the way Nevada Republicans vote in November. I used to think it would make them stay home but I have come to the conclusion that it will be old news by then and they will come out and vote for the McCain- Palin ticket.

In any case it has been entertaining to watch. I certainly have found my first introduction to party politics educational.

Chihuly, DeYoung Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Duke, and McCain’s Hand

Life has been hectic around here lately. Right after we got back from Iowa I made a trip to San Francisco for a girls weekend with a couple of friends. Among other things we saw the Dale Chihuly exhibit at the DeYoung Museum.

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I enjoyed the Chihuly show and also really enjoyed going up in the new observation tour at the DeYoung. Here is a picture of the view from the tour. The building in the front is the new California Academy of Sciences which opens in a little over a month. Their website is cool. I can't wait to visit the new academy when it opens.
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The day after I got back from San Francisco  McCain was in Sparks (right next to Reno) for a Town Hall meeting. Duke and I went to see him. I continue to be impressed by his honesty and competence but he sure doesn't create enthusiasm. One guy McCain called on said "When I vote for you I won't be voting for you I will be voting against Obama because I don't believe you are a conservative. Tell me why you think you are a conservative." I thought McCain gave a pretty good answer but I don't think he convinced the guy who asked the question. After the meeting was over Duke went down front and got to shake McCain's hand. He got stopped on the way down and was told by a secret service agent to take his hands out of his pockets.

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The day after the McCain visit my sister came to spend a few days with us and visit Dad. My Daughter and her family came for one night and my niece also stayed with us for a few days. It was all a lot of fun and and My Birthday was in there too.

Nevada Republican Executive Committee will Pick Delegates to National Convention

If you have been reading my posts about the Nevada Republican state convention or if you have been following the story in the news you know that the original Republican State Convention was adjourned after the Ron Paul delegates staged a coup. The party elite said that they would schedule a reconvened convention soon. The original convention was April 27. They finally got around to scheduling a part 2 convention for this Saturday July 26. The Reno Gazette Journal ran a story Friday saying the new convention has been canceled and the party central committee will pick state delegates to the national convention. I think this was what the party elite wanted all along after the Ron Paul supporters took over the first convention and it was clear that if the convention elected delegates they would be Ron Paul delegates not John McCain delegates. I'm a John McCain supporter but his back room politics makes me question whether I want to be a loyal Republican in the Fall!

The next chapter of this cliff hanger drama will be when the national Republican party credentials committee meets to decide whether they should seat the delegates picked by the central committee or the delegates picked by the Ron Paul supporters at the alternate part 2 convention they staged on June 28. I wonder if the meeting is open to the public. It would be very entertaining to listen to the arguments.

Update 8/8/08: I emailed the party and asked them whenthe Credentials committee meets and whether it is open to the public. Here is the answer:
Hello and thank you for your interest in the 2008 Republican National Convention.
The Convention Committees that meet the week prior to the convention are not open to the pubic.
Thank you for your questions.

Nevada Republican State Convention Alternate Group Tries to Reconvene

Last April the Nevada Republican party held the state convention to elect delegates to the national convention. The convention didn’t go as scripted by the party bosses and the Ron Paul faction of the party was able to pass a rules change that said all nominated delegate candidates should be voted on. Soon after that the convention chairman abruptly recessed the convention, saying it would be reconvened at a later date.

I am a  state Republican delegate and since the April convention I have received announcements about two different attempts to reconvene the convention. The official party date to reconvene the convention is Saturday July 26.

Yesterday a splinter group of Republicans who feel that the state party is trying to disenfranchise them reconvened the convention on their own. Most, if not all, of them are Ron Raul supporters who feel that the Nevada Republican bosses are trying every trick in the book to make sure that the Nevada delegates to the national convention are McCain supporters.

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I received the announcements about the alternate convention. I didn’t want to contribute to their numbers and to their ability to get a quorum but I was curious about  the convention so yesterday I went to it, got a visitor badge and listened for a while.

It certainly wasn’t a diverse cross section of Republicans. There was unanimous support to nominate and elect Mike Weber as chairman. I called Weber a jerk in an earlier post. I’m sorry about that. You have to admire someone who cares so passionately about politics and who is wiling to work so hard for what he believes in.

It was very clear that Weber and his friends had scripted this convention to take the steps that they believe will allow them to make a case for their delegates being recognized by the national Republican Party. Weber said that to make the case for yesterday’s convention being official they have “a small hole to get through”.

They made a big deal of the fact that a list of the delegates to the April convention was never released. They announced that delegates not present at yesterday’s continuation of the April convention are in dereliction of their duty and therefore the 352 delegates present yesterday constituted a quorum. I left before they elected delegates but Local So-and-So another Republican blogger who attended yesterday wrote a good post about the convention .

While I was there I did get interviewed by the Associated Press reporter, Martin Griffith and I got quoted in this mornings paper.  As I said to Griffith it doesn’t bode well for McCain’s chances in Nevada that 352 Nevada Republicans were willing to go through all that was necessary to make this alternate convention happen.

On the other hand, there were 1,347 delegates at the April convention. If the 352 delegates present yesterday were enough to reconvene then wouldn’t 5 also have been enough to reconvene. It doesn’t seem to me that the delegates elected yesterday should be seated at the national convention. I wonder how many people  will attend the ‘official ‘ state convention at the end of July. This saga will be continued.


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The rest of my pictures from the convention are on Flickr  here.