Working at the RNC #GOP2012 was as enjoyable as I hoped it would be. I’ve shared bits and pieces. Now let me wrap up with my final thoughts. I’ll be taking a look at volunteering, meeting people, and the convention itself.
I had it easy. I have to hand it to the hundreds of volunteers who had jobs that where much tougher than mine. Those who worked outside in the Florida heat deserve very special thanks. I hope that the delegates, candidates, and other visitors appreciate the hard work and personal sacrifice that helped make #GOP2012 a success. My job was a blast. I spent most of the week hanging out on level four, just to the right of the National Debt Clock and outside one of the private club areas.
The support team was also outstanding. Sharon, Melissa, and Austin — Thank you! Deborah Cox-Roush has an amazing degree of patience, much-needed when working with people who are not getting paid! I also enjoyed meeting all the other volunteers.
If there was a down side, it was that I am used to sitting down at a computer all day, not being on my feet. My legs, and especially my feet, have yet to fully recover. On the up side, I’m probably in a little bit better shape than I was going in. Of course that’s all on me, not on the convention.
My only (very minor) criticism is that the food provided to the volunteers was boring, bland, and repetitive. We had Veggie, Turkey or Roast Beef sandwich box lunches for every meal. That meant, for me, two roast beef sandwiches on Tuesday, and one more on Wednesday and Thursday. Let me be clear, the quality was very good, and I understand the difficulty providing a quick meal for hundreds of volunteers. A little more variety would have been appreciated.
Meeting new people is one of my favorite things to do. This week was a gold mine. Let me start with the people I just saw, in no particular order, somewhere in or around the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mayor Rudy Giuliani (twice), Governor John Sununu, Senator John McCain, Speaker John Boehner, Governor Tim Pawlenty (twice. The second time I nearly ran into him in the hallway – literally), Karl Rove, Eric Bolling (half a dozen people behind me at one of the security check points), and Dana Perino (getting off the elevator I was about to get on). Some brief observations: Mayor Giuliani had a smile and quick hello for everyone. John Sununu looked like a man on a mission (I have no idea where he was going, but he was intent on getting there). Eric Bolling cheerfully chatted with the folks in the security line, most of whom were suggesting that Bob Beckel find something new to do every afternoon at five. Dana Perino is every bit as lovely getting off an elevator as she is on TV.
There were also the people I actually got to meet and talk with. I met Jason Healy, the president of Blu Cigs, behind a vapor cloud in my hallway post. We talked vapping, not politics, and he asked some very interesting, consumer research type, questions as we chatted. He didn’t try to sell me on his brand, but instead seemed genuinely interested in why I chose V2.
One of the highlights of my week was the opportunity to meet Lawyer, Author and Blogger, Prolific Tweeter, (and Rush’s little brother), David Limbaugh. I’ve been a fan of his writing for quite some time, and always enjoy following his tweets (@DavidLimbaugh). Meeting him in person, I found him to be very cordial and personable. He said he was aware of bRight & Early, and I choose to believe him.
And then there were the people I met who aren’t people the world knows, but they should. I’ll admit up front that I didn’t get, or remember, as many names as I should have. The people, however, will stay in my memory.
There were the two women who sat in section 7/8 all three nights, always had a smile, and had something pleasant to say every time they came through.
The woman who, on the last night of #GOP2012, handed me a big chocolate chip cookie as she went to her seat.
The gentleman who went out of his way to come up to me a say, “I just wanted you to know that we appreciate how friendly and helpful all the volunteers have been.”
And there was the Delegate and party official from Arizona. He spent several hours in one of the nice, comfortable chairs in my area, recharging his cell phone and himself. We had a nice, relaxed conversation (several hours before the final evening began) and he gave me an Arizona pin (crossed USA/Arizona flags).
It was such a pleasure to meet every one of you. These positive, friendly, conservative people were so much fun to greet, help, and chat with, if only for a few moments.
And that brings us to the convention itself. In my opinion, #GOP2012 was a great success in both execution and content.
The Tampa Bay area should be very pleased with how well things went. Normal life may have been disrupted for the residents and local businesses, but they can be proud of the results. Comments I heard regarding the area and it’s residents was universally positive. Their only complaint was the heat and humidity and, well, this is Florida after all, there isn’t anything we can do about that.
The Host Committee, Committee on Arrangements, Production staff, and all of the many local groups and agencies that played a part did an amazing job of keeping the hundreds of moving parts moving in the right direction. The Host Committee should be proud of a very well done advertisement for Tampa, the Tampa Bay area, and the state of Florida.
One group I can’t leave out is security. The Secret Service, local law enforcement agencies, and National Guard troops were a very large presence at the convention. The men and women who served in this capacity were polite, pleasant, and effective. Thank you for the job you did.
I will have a separate post on my thoughts regarding the speakers and our two outstanding candidates. I am so glad I volunteered to take part in #GOP2012. I doubt if another convention will be so conveniently located in my life time. It was a memorable, enjoyable week and the memory of it will be a cherished one.