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Comments from Cleveland

I’m back here at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland Ohio. I’d like to share with you my first impressions of Cleveland, WOW!

From the moment I arrived (on the red-eye) at 5:00 am I was impressed with how clean and nice the airport was. The people I encountered were all very friendly. And quite frankly given how the proceeding week had gone, I was glad to be there, glad to be alive!

I was picked up by Oregon National Committee Woman elect, Marylin Shannon and Janice Dysinger. We went out to a very nice breakfast at a place called Bob Evans; a down home, reasonably priced home cookin-style family restaurant, where we were waited upon by a very sweet young lady named Alta.

After settling in for a quick nap at the hotel, I met the bus downstairs for the trip in to Cleveland (the Oregon delegation was clear out in Akron) for the opening night ceremonies of the RNC Convention held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along the waterfront. This was a dream come true for someone like me who loves everything musical. There were refreshments galore, a great souvenir shop and lots of music history displayed. Three Dog Night was the headlining act. Kinda fun, but the band was a little long in the tooth. We were supposed to have the Doobie Brothers, oh well.

The first day of the Convention was all about total security grid control. Freeways were closed off to the general public; eight foot high double rowed, steel meshed fencing lined the streets for miles. There were armed police from federal DHS and Secret Service, to local and plain clothed officers. They were atop the venues with sniper rifles and observation equipment. It was creepy and more than a little disconcerting. A woman on the bus commented “they make me feel safe”. Not me. I felt like a caged animal, being subdued.

We walked through the TSA security screening, and I had a medical reason not to be x-rayed, so I got the hand scan and search; arms raised high over my head (not the posture of a free man). I told the federal agent that I had flown on board President Reagan’s jet with Nancy and their staff, but never went through anything like this. He replied “This isn’t President Reagan’s plane”. “No” I said “and it isn’t President Reagan’s country either”.

The opening day in the Cleveland “Q” arena was nice enough, filled with some tedious business, and some opening speeches. All in all enjoyable. I had to head out a bit early to get back to the hotel and work on the Beacon. I used Uber for my ride, very nice!

Donald Trump had a fair amount of luke-warm support coming in to the convention, but as each hour has gone by, it is getting warmer and more enthusiastic.

A couple of exceptions: the establishment hacks who have snubbed him, the most egregious of which was the pointed absence of the Governor of the host state, John Kasich. Very unprofessional and childish behavior on his part, if you ask me. It is a matter of respect. This is the first time in forty years that a Governor of the host state didn’t show!

The next worrisome participation came from Rudy Giuliani, followed the next day by Paul Ryan, and worst of all, Chris Christie. I thought it was gracious of Trump to invite them, but they didn’t add anything as far as I’m concerned. Christie is a bore, but he is just salivating to go to war with Syria! Thank God he is not the nominee.

The best event so far was the Republicans for Life Coalition reception, honoring Phyllis Schlafly. It was a packed house, and she is by far the most impactful woman in American politics today. She is responsible for the pro-life plank of the Republican Party. She was pleased to report that this year’s plank is the best ever!

Well it’s getting late and close to press time, so that’s it for now.  More to follow next edition.

David Jaques, Editor