RNC Report: Glenn McCall checks in

Our latest addition to our roster of convention attendees to check in is none other than Glenn McCall, the Republican National Committee representative from South Carolina. The Blogland was proud to endorse his recent bid for this post, which he won handily.

Glenn called today to check in, let us know he was having a great time, and had a few things to say to us about the convention:

There is tremendous excitement here. It's my second convention, and I'm glad to have been able to come back to help represent South Carolina. The folks of Minneapolis have been great hosts and done a great job so far.

My favorite moment so far was Fred Thompson's speech. His speech was on the money on the issues. You could feel the energy and excitement among the audience.

Many of us are looking forward to Sarah Palin's speech tonight.

RNC Report: Mary Pearson on Day Two

Another day at the GOP Convention in beautiful Minneapolis and that weather I wished for yesterday is here, well almost.

A lot of people from the Gulf States flew home yesterday. The day starts early as usual and with a flurry of activities, but the mood for the Lowcountry SC delegation is changing and turns to tropical storm, Hanna. As soon as possible I check in at the Treasurer’s Office to make sure that our emergency preparedness plan is ready to implement if necessary. All is ready.

During breakfast, I saw the reporters and secret service all hovering around so I know somebody was about to enter the room. It was a petite lady in a pale yellow dress with an up hairdo. It only took a couple of glimpses through the small openings to discover who was. It was none other than Cindy McCain. Mrs. McCain speaks with such sincerity about how much she and Senator McCain appreciates SC and she knows the importance of his victory in South Carolina in the Presidential Primary.

Next up to speak is a fellow POW who was in the Hanoi Hilton with McCain and what a story he has to tell about the strength, leadership, and the resolve of John McCain. How John is beaten and promised release before other prisoners if he will give his captors information. John had rather take the abuse than give up on his county and his fellow prisoners is constantly woven into his comments.

One thing that is really powerful for me is that John McCain always gave a thumbs up when he returned from solitude or hours of beating signaling to his fellow POWs all was OK. Your life is never threatened unless you give up it is said. John McCain never gave up in five and half years. Now that is a strong man. Rudy Giuliani is on the program too. Rudy takes a seat with First Lady Jenny Sanford and State Attorney General Henry McMaster. Also, I spot Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, Secretary of State Mark Hammond, Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, and Speaker Bobby Harrell in attendance.

Now we pass the donation bucket and receive a hurricane relief report. I am so happy to report that the GOP raised $1.5 for hurricane relief on Monday and we are still collecting. The plans are to do several blood drives and assemble care packages within the next few days.

The mood today at the convention is much more spirited than yesterday. Lively music is being played, we get signs to wave, and delegates are in their usual convention clothes with buttons, pins, and red, white and blue. Now, this is how I remember my previous two conventions. Chuck and I are on different seating levels, but some nice lady from Greenville reeking with Southern hospitality gives him her credentials so he can come sit with me for awhile. It is our policy to let all of the SC folks who attend to have an opportunity to sit on the floor.

We have a great list of speakers including First Lady Laura Bush, Senators Fred Thompson and Senator Joe Lieberman. The First Lady Laura in her power reddish suit introduces her husband, President George W. Bush. President Bush comes to us via video and speaks of his strong support for John McCain and how the county needs John. Senator Thompson elaborates about John McCain’s life from childhood, to POW, to his leadership in the Senate emphasing his character of doing what is right regardless of the consequences. Senator Liberman starts off by saying he is a Democrat and he supports John McCain because the McCain-Pallin ticket is the real ticket for change. “John has risen above politics to get things done and he has demonstrated that this week by putting the country first,” Lieberman says.

RNC Report: Midday with Moye

Going on lunch cruise on the Mississippi river with Mark Hammond as his guest to the Republican State Leadership Committee, which is made up of GOP elected officials for all states such as the Sec. of State, Lt. Gov. etc. It's quite an honor to be the one person from SC on board not an elected statewide official.

The breakfast this morning with T Boone Pickens on the fifty floor at Windows of Minnesota was great. He is quite a speaker. My table consisted of me and Mark Hammond, Congressman Joe Wilson and his wife, Celestine Parker, Drew Johnson and parents. Going to miss some but we had Jenny Sanford, Mark Hammond, Richard Eckstrom, his daughter, Congressman Inglis, Andre Bauer, several members of parliament from Great Britain. Mr. Pickens wife. Katon Dawson and just so many more man. Jim DeMint also.

Carolina Last?

Shares of stock in The South Financial Group Inc., the holding company that owns Carolina First, are reportedly down 31 percent in the last year:

In August, TSFG reported $16.8 million in losses for its second quarter and announced the reorganization of its executive management team from 11 to five.

Publicly traded on Nasdaq, TSFG’s stock closed at $7 on Tuesday, down 31 percent from a year ago. TSFG has a $100 million headquarters under construction along Interstate 85 in Greenville.

They're cutting positions, losing money, but somehow need a new mega-office building. For such a stellar performance at the helm, their CEO gets to retire at the end of the year.

Lucky guy.

Is the Hard Rock Park on a Highway to Hell?

According to a story in the MB Sun News, the overhyped expectations and sky-high ticket prices have turned a Stairway to Heaven into a Highway to Hell for Myrtle Beach's Hard Rock Park:

An Israeli company that is a major investor in Hard Rock Park wrote off its investment in the park last quarter because of problems stemming from poor attendance, a company official said Tuesday.

Africa Israel Investments, an international conglomerate with holdings mostly in real estate, wrote off its $10 million investment in the Myrtle Beach theme park "due to liquidity difficulties the park is experiencing due to low attendance compared to its business plan," Chief Financial Officer Ron Fainaro said on a conference call Tuesday morning.

The company attributed part of its $25 million net loss in the second quarter to the Hard Rock Park writeoff.

We think the idea of a hard rockin' theme park is cool stuff, so we're hoping that this venture can fly like an eagle, and not get shot down in flames.

Cool new website for the S.C. Secretary of State

The Secretary of State's office just rolled out a revamped website, offering a cleaner look, more information and new online services as part of Secretary of State Mark Hammond's ongoing efforts to make the office more customer-friendly.

In a telephone interview, Hammond (who some believe carries a .44 magnum) told us the website overhaul will lay the groundwork for even more electronic services that will be coming in the near future.

Want to see the website for yourself? Go to www.scsos.com

Great work, Mark!

Happy Birthday Jim DeMint!

Last night, they threw a big party in Minneapolis to celebrate Jim DeMint's birthday ... and back home, we're not forgetting the occasion either.

We also wanted to let everyone back home know that yesterday was his 35th wedding anniversary.

From the Blogland to Jim DeMint, we just wanted to say:


RNC Report: Mark Hammond

We were extremely grateful to get a convention report from one of the state's better known delegates: Secretary of State Mark Hammond. Hammond was impressed by tonight's speech from Fred Thompson, who he believed:

Made the case why we need John McCain. One part I really liked was when he said we already have 2 very important questions answered – who is this man and can we trust him to be our President.

A lot of my fellow SC delegation members are excited about the fall campaign and responded to Thompson's speech. They know why we need John McCain.

When asked what his favorite part of the convention was, Hammond said the contacts he made were the best part:

I always enjoy meeting delegates from across the country. Meeting fellow Secretaries of State that I’ve gotten to know over the years. We’re all ready to get back home with new ideas to serve our constituents - and to get John McCain elected.

Hammond said he was most impressed with three people who he'd seen speak thus far:

I was really impressed with the speeches from Fred Thompson and Laura Bush. Cindy McCain did a wonderful job speaking to the NH/SC delegation breakfast, talked about their family and what kind of person John McCain.

Thanks Mark!!!

RNC Report: Moye checks in

6:04 p.m. Mark Hammond and I are at the GOP State Leadership Committee RNC in St Paul reckon the rest are wondering where we are.

7:48 p.m.:On convention floor the Governor has arrived.

8:01 p.m.: Just swapped out credentials to get Sandra Bryant on floor did Joshua Gross last night.

9:32 p.m.: Joe Wilson is here beside me on floor.

RNC Report: Moye Graham, Morning of Day Three

Moye Graham stops for lunch and to check in with the Blogland:

Today has been tough. Need to make a lunch engagement in an hour.

Spent from 8 am until 1030 am at breakfast. Our speakers were none other than Cindy McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Dan Coates, POW with McCain named Lee Ellis, Sec. of Com. Carlos Gutierrez, Gov. Tim Roemer, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Rick Davis who is the McCain campaign head, Katon Dawson also the New Hampshire GOP Chairman. It was a joint gathering with New Hampshire and McCains group.

I cannot say enough about where the RNC and SCGOP has done to get us in this Hotel again it is the place to be. In attendance and I will miss someone was Mark Hammond, Jenny Sanford, Andre Bauer, Congressman Inglis, Henry McMaster, Ron Thomas of the SCGOP, Cindy Costas, Drew Mckissick, Glenn McCall and so many other RNC and SCGOP, New Hampshire GOP and NH and SC elected officials. We even had two of the McCain sons one is in the Naval Accademy the other the Marines. Most are staying here also here is Joe Lieberman, Fred Thompson have Mike Huckabee on way. Mitt Romney is here all of the McCain party.

Yesterday they set up a phone bank at hotel with 120 lines and raised $1.5 million dollars for hurrican relief. Several of our members are packing supplies to be sent for relief.

Last night at Senator Graham's low key milk and cookie gathering. The Senator gave a short speech and then introduced John McCain's sons. I actually got to meet them - one just got home from Iraq.

RNC Report: Mary Pearson on Day Two

Mary Pearson, Dorchester County Treasurer and long-time Lowcountry GOP activist, reports in on Day Two:

Rays of sunshine and greetings from the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. Yes, we are having a GOP Convention. However, it has been scaled way back due to the pending arrival of Hurricane Gustav somewhere in the Gulf and the atmosphere is quite subdued. We have been told that we will conduct only the official business to nominate our Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates for the 2008 General Election. Our focus will be on helping those in Gustav’s path and in their support for hurricane relief. I will update you as soon as those activities are scheduled. Senator McCain issued the following statement, “We must redirect our attentions and efforts. We will act as Americans - not Republicans - to help our fellow citizens in need.” It brings back first hand memories of Hugo and reports of Katrina and New Orleans. This is my third convention, but I do suspect this one will be the most remembered because of these unusual circumstances.

In June I told my husband that we would be vacationing in Minneapolis for the GOP convention in September. He was not nearly as excited as I was, but being the great husband he is, he said, “Yes, dear if that is what you want.” We arrived in the City of Friendly People Sunday afternoon to hot humid weather. Just what we had hoped to leave behind back at home.

Now maybe we could rest for a little while, but we hardly had time to get up to the room when I was summoned to be in the lobby for a delegation picture. Little did I know it was not going to be taken in the lobby of the hotel. We all lined up like good soldiers and marched off four blocks to the Minneapolis Convention Center for the picture. Now imagine getting all those people settled down with smiles and grinning faces for the group picture, but if anybody could do it our SC GOP Chairman, Katon Dawson could. We were so tired, but it was early, still more to do. Now it was time for our first delegation event. We had been invited to the 2008 Delegation Welcome Party. We mingled for awhile, standing, sifting, eating, and looking for someplace to sit. I know my eyes were trying to shut, but something took my eye some distance across the room. I could see a stovepipe hat towering above the crowd moving around. Chuck and made our way in that direction and to my belief there stood a gentleman in a long black top coated suit, black stovepipe hat, thin, and dark beard and yes it was none other than Abraham Lincoln. Well, why not, of course, Abe would be here after all the GOP is the Party of Lincoln. One more event tonight hosted by Speaker Bobby Harrell and we called it a day.

Monday morning arrived very quickly and time to pick up my credentials for the convention. I took my time surveying the great buffet which was hosted by one of our SC corporate sponsors. I continued my networking, one of my favorite things that I learned from the late Senator Strom Thurmond. Finally when I settled down at my table I turned and who did I see but General George Washington. First Abe and now President Washington all within a 12 hours span. President Washington delivered our invocation.

The official business of the convention began this afternoon lasting for about two and half hours. We had two surprise guests, First Lady Laura Bush and Senator McCain’s wife Cindy. The convention had been very quiet up until this time, but it erupted when they came in. They brought messages from their husbands for the people in the Gulf States reminding us that we are all Americans first and must come together to help all those in need.

One more event tonight. It was Senator Graham’s famous Milk and Cookies get together. I was very excited to meet Senator McCain’s sons and found them very warm and compassionate like their Dad. One is already in the Marine Corps taking after his Dad.

RNC Report: Mary McAbee on Day Two

Mary McAbee reports in on Day Two of the convention:

I did not attend today's session since I attended the NFRW Fall Board meeting being held at same time. However I did make other activities during the day and evening. The excitement is beginning to build as we head into day two of the convention.

The highlight of my day was meeting Senator McCain's two sons: Jack and Jimmy at Lindsey Graham's Cookies and Milk event. Both sons do their father and mother proud. Both are clean cut well spoken young men who are serving their country. I would vote for John McCain just for rearing two such fine young gentlemen. They are a real credit to their parents as I am sure are McCain's other five children.

My highlight at breakfast this morning was sitting beside Roxanne Wilson and Ed Rumsey. A special guest for this morning's meal was His Excellency George Washington (actually a Mr. Collins enacting the First President) He was really quite good. He gave the opening prayer, one actually prayed by George Washington. I hope some of the groups in South Carolina will get together and invite the General to our state.

I watched the protesters on the news. LaDonna Ryggs had her picture taken on the floor with Karl Rove. We hope to have pictures posted on the SCFRW website.

Many delegates, alternates, and guests were atwitter about the news of Sara Palin's daughter. The consensus seems to be that such an event as a new grandchild does not hurt the McCain-Palin event. And as Obama himself has said, families should not be fair game. So I guess it's back to who has more/less experience: our VP candidate or the Democrats Presidential candidate.

RNC Report: Moye's Monday

Moye Graham, the globe-trotting Blogland reader and RNC delegate from Clarendon County, sent us a number of reports which we condensed into one convention update:

Sitting behind Charm altman and beside Mark Hammond right under the SC sign. SC has great seats all of us.

Whit Ayres (a major GOP pollster out of Atlanta) is with us. He spoke at our breakfast.

This could get interesting watching helicopters out my hotel window - security is very tight.

They are barricading the hotel off. Police are starting to monitor traffic and blocking street around hotel. No cabs allowed or other non-convention vehicles allowed. You should be here man. They are expecting by local news 50000 protesters.

This is the hotel to be at. We have Lieberman. Steele. Graham. Bauer. Eckstrom. Hammond. McMaster. Cindy McCain on the way Joe Wilson. Gov Roemer. Rudy on the way. Sen Coates. Sec Gutierrez a lot of SC elected officials as guest and New Hampshire officials.

RNC Report: Mary McAbee

Mary McAbee from Anderson County, makes her first report:

Minneapolis has gone all out to welcome the National Republican Convention to the Twin Cities. There are volunteers at the airport to welcome and offer assistance to delegates flying in.

Last night, the South Carolina delegation had a group picture made. Then we attended Civicfest(a great reception was provided). Civicfest is open for the entire convention with exhibits about the Presidency and vendors selling every thing from buttons to shirts to hats to books.

Speaker Harrell hosted an reception for the SC folks. It's been a wonderful first day.

Of course, Gustav has caused concern and dismay here in Minneapolis. Tonight's convention events have been cancelled. Everyone here is praying for those folks who have fled Gustav's onslaught. Unlike Don Fowler, we do not believe God is against Republicans.

RNC Report: Who else is talking?

While the Blogland is attempting to keep y'all informed about the big GOP convention via several delegates, we're not the only convo-watchers from the Palmetto State. In fact, there are a couple of friends of the Blogland who are also posting reports:

The Waterboy (Rep. Alan Clemmons): http://www.alanclemmons.com/
Josh Gross:

We'd also like to say hello to the many folks who are checking in from up there and encourage them to contact us via email at earl@earlcapps.org to give us convention updates to share with our readers.

GOP doldrums?

In an op-ed on Politco.com, columnists Jim VandeHei and Alexander Burns hit the nail on the head about the current political misfortune of the national GOP:

It would be easy to chalk up the current doldrums to an unpopular president who waged an unpopular war — and Republicans surely wish it were that easy. Unfortunately for GOP leadership and the rank and file, the problems run much deeper and could prove more durable.

The GOP is a shell of what it was a decade ago. The party has allowed its infrastructure — think tanks, candidate training programs and activist groups — to atrophy. It lost its decisive fundraising edge. It has been slow to exploit technological advances. And it has struggled to carve out a post-Sept. 11 identity beyond an image of the party best equipped to fight terrorism.

"Why the GOP fell so far, so fast", Politico.com (8/31/08)

This is a lesson we remember well. In the late 80s and early 90s, many in the GOP were vocal, active and determined to fight the power that was wielded by a congressional Democratic majority.

Perhaps with nothing left to fight, many Republicans forgot how to fight, while Democrats, eager to regain what had been lost, learned how to promote their agendas and win elections.

Somewhere between the 2000 elections, where Bush won and the GOP lost five Senate seats and their Senate majority, and 2006, where the Democrats took both houses, several key Governor mansions and legislative chambers, Republican party leadership should have listened.

Republicans should have improved their communication abilities, rallied their allied groups and campaign activists, made a stronger effort to offer issues voters could support, and most importantly, sent their crooks packing, along with those like Dennis Hastert who were willing to tolerate such lax standards. That Bush ran such a close race and the GOP majority was essentially unchanged should have been a warning.

But nobody got the message until it was too late.

Regardless of if John McCain wins or loses, it's a sure bet the Democratic congressional majorities aren't going away. In fact, it's likely those majorities will grow, roughly returning the GOP to the same number of congressional, gubernatoral and legislative holdings it had before the 1994 elections.

Perhaps this is fitting since so many in today's GOP seem to act like there never was a 1994. But if they ever want to become the true majority party they once seemed destined to become a few years ago, they'd better remember - and fast.