With a few exceptions, the 2012 Republican National Convention went pretty much as scripted, without any major surprises. Tropical storm Isaac was kind to the GOP. It chose a path that kept it well clear of Tampa, and it refused to become a hurricane while in the Tampa vicinity. However, since hurricanes are notoriously unpredictable, the convention planners rightfully erred on the side of caution and cancelled the first day of the convention.
On Tuesday, during the early hours of the session, delegates voted on the adoption of two important documents, the party platform and the convention rules for 2016.
The platform saw a slight shift to the right, quite possibly fueled by influence from the tea parties and the Democrats’ steady shift to the left. A major component of that shift was the plank dealing with immigration. It echoed what conservatives and legal immigrants have been clamoring for in the last few years. It supports enforcement of the border first. It opposes any kind of amnesty. It opposes the dream act except for those that serve honorably in the military. To download and view the whole platform, go to http://www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_home/
The convention rules change has drawn a lot of criticism because it has been grossly misrepresented. There was an earlier version of the rule change that gave delegates cause for concern about grassroots suppression, but that is not the version that was voted on and approved by the delegates. To view the text of the approved measure, go to: http://arizonafreedomalliance.ning.com/group/all-things-romney-ryan/forum/topics/misinformation-regarding-the-gop-rule-16-vote. It very simply reinforces the notion that delegates must vote in accordance with the wishes of the voters of the state.
It has often been said that these huge political conventions are obsolete with the advent of high technological advances and extensive pre-convention preparations. The cost of producing such extravaganzas borders on the obscene. Since all transportation, lodging, and various miscellaneous expenses are borne by the delegates, these are not cheap events to attend. 2012 GOP delegates had to spend over $3,000 of their own money in order to attend the event. The party did not fare much better, because of high logistics and security expenses.
On the other hand, national political conventions do yield a very substantial benefit to the parties. They are an excellent way to bring together a significant national cross section of the party faithful who would leave the convention enthused, inspired, and energized.
A logical conclusion of all this is that national conventions do have an important role in modern politics, but would benefit from a substantial paring down, especially regarding the number of days. This was amply illustrated this year by the fact that a one day reduction in the GOP convention did not cause any significant loss.
Overall, this convention was a great experience for those who were fortunate to attend. Most likely, future conventions will be somewhat scaled down. But large or small, extravagant or subdued, they will offer a great opportunity for common folks to interact, in a positive manner, with like minded individuals from all over the United States, and that is a good thing.