Saturday dawned bright and sunny in Wilmington as the Republican cats were herded back into the convention hall for day two. The day started with a Tea Party breakfast which fired up the activist attendees. Then on to an upbeat legislative update from GOP leaders Tillis and Berger. Next were break-out sessions, one of which was the contentious “Tea Party & the NC GOP” workshop. Lunch included some tough Q&A with Congresswoman Renee Ellmers and Congressman Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina. The afternoon proved to be equally remarkable as we voted for old party leaders and then tried and failed to wrap up the party’s business.  As the day progressed, it became clear that, while the conservative activists in North Carolina have had an impact both on the party and on the legislative agenda, their work has just begun.

After being ignored by the party elites on Friday, Truth or Dare was pleased to hear Speaker Tillis and President Pro Tem Berger begin their remarks by thanking the activists who worked so tirelessly on their behalf. These two understand the power of the grassroots. Not so with Chairman Hayes. Hayes attended The “Tea Party & the NC GOP” workshop where he was peppered with questions regarding his lack of appreciation for the activists. While I did not attend this session, I am told that Chairman Hayes did not see eye to eye with the Tea Party people on this matter. He made haste and headed for the exit rather quickly.

After a fine lunch of the best tuna fish salad that I’ve ever had, we reassembled to elect new party leaders. What we got instead are old party leaders. Hayes’ nomination and election were a foregone conclusion. Even King’s election as Vice Chair was not a big surprise. We, the grassroots activists, have no one to blame but ourselves. With no Chair candidate and a not-entirely-credible Vice Chair candidate running, this could be the only outcome.

After the elections, around 5pm, Chairman Hayes announced to the convention that ice cream was available in the lobby until 6pm. This proved too great a temptation for hundreds of hungry delegates who filed out in a matter of minutes. The Convention Chair failed to bring the convention to order timely and then attempted to conduct the convention’s unfinished business with less than a quorum. When he was unable to do so, the unfinished business of the convention, which included the majority of the resolutions, was moved to the Sunday meeting of the State Executive Committee. This was just another stick in the eye of the rank and file who were unable to vote on the resolutions or bring new resolutions to the floor for a vote.

Truth or Dare left the convention both disappointed and encouraged. It was encouraging to see so many activists getting involved in party politics but sad to see that the old guard with their old ways will continue to rule the party for the most important election in our lifetime. While Hayes may be a good fundraiser, we should expect to see no real change in strategy or execution within the state party. This is hugely disappointing to this blogger. There is a great need for leadership in this party; leadership that recognizes that it was not just money that got Republicans elected across the state; leadership that recognizes that it was the people on the floor, working the phones, going door to door, manning the polls, and otherwise driving themselves to exhaustion that got Republicans elected across the state. You should know, party leaders, why we did this. We did it because we intend to take our country back, back from the ruling class. You should know, too, that we care less about your various and sundry encounters on Capitol Hill and more about your vision for the party, of which we heard not a word this weekend. If you intend to prove that you are worthy of this position, that you recognize the power of the people on the floor, that you are not part of the ruling class, this would have been the time to show it. Instead, you treated us with the contempt of a ruler who’d had enough of the peasants. Instead of cake, you said, ‘Let them eat ice cream!’

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