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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Un-Conventional Wisdom

After four years at the United Nations, I sometimes yearn for the peace and tranquility of a political convention.
Adlai Stevenson, New York Times, 1964

Porcupine sits, feeling every one of his 243 years. His favorite bottle-green coat is rent with small, unfamiliar tears, and his best wig is out being powdered and reshaped, while he makes do with an unfashionable older version. Throat spent, calves aching - Porcupine has been through another Massachusetts Republican political convention! In my day, it was easier. My first four campaigns for Parliament were unsuccessful because I failed to utilize the simple expedient of bribing the voters! I was elected on my fifth try, however, and campaigning has gotten pretty prim since my day. I heartily recommend A Spectacle of Corruption by David Liss as a find example of my campaign woes!

Wise souls will shrewdly comment upon the issues raised. Porcupine wishes to write about - the parties!

Friday night, Porcupine began in Auditor-Candidate Earl Stroll's hospitality suite at the Doubletree Hotel. It was modest, with decent pizza, and while the candidate was out and about, he was ably represented by an effective campaign manager, who deftly made sure that every entrant signed his nomination papers.

Then, on to the Brew House for a joint party for Kerry Healy and Reed Hillman. There was pandemonium, as over 1,000 delegates drank, ate indifferent hors d'ouvres, and talked at the same time. A rock band up front added to the noise, until Governor Romney took the mike to introduce Kerry Healey, who spoke briefly and was heartily cheered. Anne Romney made one of her rare public appearances, and then Reed Hillman spoke. This party lasted several hours, and was chock full of Cape Cod worthies.

Here is Harwich's Pat Klammer of the Lower Cape Republican Council with the matchless Polly Logan, Chairwoman of District 5 and Chair of the Cohassett Town Committee. A grande dame and a great dame - Porcupine will leave you to assign the labels.

Also having a fine time were Ric Barros, candidate for State Senate, Val d'Ambrosio the Nantucket Town Committee chair, and Jim Powell running for the Barnstable, Dukes & Nantucket seat now held by Eric Turkington.

Upstairs, Senate Candidate Ken Chase was having a reception. Less noisy, distinctly less crowded, and blessedly cooler than the rampaging throng at the Healy-Hillman bash downstairs, Chase spoke briefly and competently. No open bar, and non-existant food, although there was detritus that indicated there had been potato chips at some point.

Perhaps the most interesting party of the evening was U.S. Senate Candidate Kevin Scott's Karaoke Party. Porcupine saw Don Howell, sitting amazed at a truly frightful rendition of 'I Got Friends in Low Places' and Bob and Priscilla Young enjoying a Louis Armstrong imitator singing 'Wonderful World'. Porcupine left at a truly terrible rendering by one particulary tipsy young lady of 'Wind Beneath My Wings', but enjoyed the offering of another young lady in a red satin tube top. The best thing about Scott's party was the good food and an enormous punch bowl of free Red Bulls, to go with the free-flowing liquor.

Upstairs, another more discreet bash began at 11:20 p.m., with rather more adults in evidence. Sheriff Cummings, Rep. Sue Pope, Rep. John Lepper, Assistant Minority Leader George Peterson, Minority Whip Mary Rogeness and other luminaries enjoyed the all-you-can-eat shrimp and other delicacies hosted jointly by National Committee Man Ron Kaufman and State Party Chair Darrel Crate (who had also caused to be delivered to every delegate's room a generous tin of shortbread elephant cookies!). After a genteel midnight supper, Porcupine retired to begin again the next day.

At 7 am, County Sheriffs Cummings of Barnstable, Hodgkins of Bristol and McDonough of Plymouth hosted a Breakfast Banquet, replete with individual omlette stations to nourish the delegates as they set out for a day of speeches. Porcupine noticed the tomato juice flowing freely as well.

For a description of the events at the Convention, Porcupine shamelessly directs you to those who were working - the Margolis Twins at Hub Politics. In addition to live-blogging the Convention, they included audio clips of the speeches by Sen. Ed Brooke (Porcupine had forgotten how good an orator he is) and former White House chief of Staff Andy Card, who delivered a speech that is genuinely one of the best political speeches Porcupine has ever heard. Listen to them HERE, and be sure to explore the rest of Hub Politics as well.

After a dash from the Convention Hall, Porcupine was able to attend a smaller reception with Card, with only about 30 people. Andy Card seems genuinely happy to be back, and took time to talk and reminisce with everybody present.

Then, back upstairs to a Casino Night run by the Boston Young Republicans. Porcupine is proud to report that it took him three hours to lose his initial grubstake of $500 in chips, and he placed 5th at a tournament-style Texas Hold Em table of ten. It was a respectable showing, as he was playing against young college-age sharks, by and large, and Porcupine maintains that it was reasonable to go All In on three eights - the full house held by Governor's Council Candidate Phil Paleologos' campaign manager was a statistical fluke!

After another restful night at the Doubletree, and a quiet breakfast with State Treasurer Candidate Ron Davy, Porcupine headed back to Cape Cod - Partied out and ready for November.

Th...Th....That's ALL, Folks!

(One of Doug Bennett's Bumper Stickers slapped up on the wall of the Doubletree Elevator, as well as the Lobby and Convention Hall)


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