David Rodeback's Blog

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Saturday, April 28, 2007
Utah County Republican Convention: Before

You might not think a county party organizing convention would be interesting. But I've never gone to a political meeting planning to vote against a resolution opposing "Satan's Plan." What should I wear? Does it mean something that I bought a black car yesterday, or that my official Chris for Congress water doesn't stand straight, but leans to the left?

You probably think that a Utah County Republican Convention in an off year, when it isn't nominating any candidates, is rather boring, don't you? Let me see if I can make it interesting to you for a few minutes. The main meeting hasn't actually started yet; I'm sitting in the hall as it fills up with delegates -- at least I hope it fills up.

It's not every day of one's life that offers a chance to vote in a political context for or against a formal resolution opposing "Satan's Plan." Someone's pretty serious about that, this weekend, and I'll take it seriously, too, in the end, but there's too much comic potential here for me to resist.

It's purely coincidental that I bought a black car yesterday (well-used, if you must know), and that I was worshipping in my friendly neighborhood LDS temple last evening (ward temple night, we call it), and that I am speaking in church tomorrow (ward conference, so-called, and I'm the bishop). Then again, is there really such a thing as coincidence? (I write with a mischievous gleam in all four of my eyes.)

As I was dressing this morning, I asked MFCC what color of knit shirt would be most satanic for the convention, inasmuch as I fully intend to vote against the resolution opposing "Satan's Plan." She said, essentially, anything but white. I briefly considered black, red, and a burnt orange (which I'm sure is really a more modern-sounding shade that I don't remember). I chose the orange. [Later note: I looked up the shirt at JCPenney.com. It's "sailing orange."]

It was a relatively short drive to Canyon View Junior High School in Orem, the staging ground for my cosmic rebellion. I ran the gauntlet of adults and children passing out flyers inside and outside the front doors, picked up my delegate credentials, and went to the cafeteria. There, according to signs, I could have breakfast with US Congressman Chris Cannon, who with that mention makes his second appearance of the month here at the blog.

In the cafeteria, I was accosted by an assortment of pleasant individuals hawking either a candidate for party office or an issue. I picked up a "Choice in Education" button for myself and one for someone else. (Want it? Send me an e-mail.) I added a few pages to my flyer collection, including a full sheet touting the virtues of the gentleman who is sponsoring the resolution against Satan's plan. I thought that might be fun to read. Will he tell us how many children he has? What are his assignments at church? How often does he goes to the temple? (I guarantee he's LDS.) I haven't read it yet.

As regards the breakfast, the Congressman wasn't actually there at the moment, but it eclipsed the continental breakfasts I usually see at the class of hotels I frequent. I went light, though, settling for a bottle of "Chris for Congress" water and a square glazed donut.

Square? It was the shape of the donut that intrigued me. Is it a statement about Utah County Republicans? A nice piece of efficient engineering? Or an omen that the universe really is somehow derailed today? (True confession: I took it because I thought it might be fun to write this paragraph in a blog post.) It tasted like chicken. No, seriously, it was a very conventional, good glazed donut, in taste, appearance . . . everything but shape.

[Short pause for two swallows of Chris for Congress water.]

After the cafeteria, I went looking for a men's room, which I found without difficulty. I set down my things, put on my purple "Choice in Education" button, and checked to see if my minimal hair was, perchance, looking somewhat like Andrei Kirilenko's. It wasn't. Then it got interesting -- the restroom stop, not the hair.

On the little shelf in front of the mirror, where I had placed my things for a moment, I noticed that the Chris Cannon water was leaning to the left. That is passing strange, don't you think? The mechanical explanation is that there was a little dent in the bottom of the bottle, which made it lean. Was the dent by design? Should I have turned it 180 degrees, so it leaned to the right? What does it all mean?

As I turned away from the mirror and began to leave, I was accosted by a man who wanted me to take yet another sheet of paper. I recognized his name when he said it: It was the sponsor of the resolution opposing Satan's plan. I listened for a moment as he told me he's been 100% mainstream Republican all his life. When he was finished, I asked him if he was actually that sponsor, and he said yes. I told him it didn't seem mainstream Republican to me to couch a political resolution in sectarian religious terms. Naturally, he thought that meant I want to separate religious principles from politics. He started quoting Pat Buchanan. I was about to explain that that is not the case, when another fellow came up and saved one of us (or perhaps both of us) with the message that Mr. Sponsor's wife needed him right away.

Mr. Sponsor left, and our mutual rescuer handed me a copy of a flyer, which lists several candidates for party office. He said, "Vote for all of them, but especially for me." He pointed to one name on the list, "Phill 'Generalismo' Peay."

I joked about him not having an accent, but the part about being a general is real; he is a retired Army general. I'm considering voting for him for Central Committee, for the following reasons, and in spite of the fact that it's spelled generalissimo in my dictionary:

  1. He saved either me or Mr. Sponsor, or both, from a useless conversation in the doorway of the restroom. (That's more than the rest of the candidates have done for me so far, except for the one who gave me a candy bar and, recognizing my name, thanked me for my labors last year on the Orrin Hatch campaign. I'm voting for her, too.)
  2. Maybe a retired general will know how to kick a few Party posteriors. That can't be bad, can it? Just in case the need arises?

Maybe these reasons seem shallow of me.

Well, 9:30 a.m. has come, and the general session is about to be gavelled to order. Attendance appears to be about 400, which is about one-third of the total delegates. I suppose that's not bad for an organizing convention (as opposed to a nominating convention).

More later.

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