Commentary From the Mile High City

"Star of the conservative blogosphere" Denver Post

"The Rocky Mountain Alliance offers the best of what the blogosphere has to offer." -David Harsanyi, Denver Post
Joshua Sharf

 notify list
to receive email when this site is updated, enter your email address:
 recent posts
24 (2 entries)
Anglosphere (1 entries)
Biking (1 entries)
Blogging (35 entries)
Business (173 entries)
CFA (3 entries)
China (5 entries)
Climate Change (3 entries)
Colorado (20 entries)
Denver (12 entries)
Design (4 entries)
Economics (39 entries)
Education (6 entries)
Electoral College (1 entries)
Environmentalism (3 entries)
Europe (0 entries)
Flying (2 entries)
Foreign Affairs (1 entries)
General (89 entries)
Gun Control (2 entries)
Health Care (7 entries)
Higher Ed (7 entries)
History (8 entries)
Home Improvement (1 entries)
Illegal Immigration (35 entries)
Internet (4 entries)
Israel (57 entries)
Jewish (49 entries)
Judicial Nominations (12 entries)
Katrina (0 entries)
Literature (1 entries)
Media (37 entries)
Music (3 entries)
Photoblogging (32 entries)
Politics (152 entries)
Porkbusters (5 entries)
Radio (16 entries)
Religion (1 entries)
Reviews (8 entries)
Robed Masters (4 entries)
Science (1 entries)
Sports (9 entries)
Taxes (2 entries)
Transportation (6 entries)
Unions (1 entries)
War on Terror (180 entries)
my other blogs
Three-Letter Monte

Rocky Mtn. Alliance
Best Destiny
Daily Blogster
Geezerville USA
Mount Virtus
Night Twister
Rocky Mountain Right
Slapstick Politics
The New Conservative
Thinking Right
View from a Height

other blogs
One Big Swede
American Thinker
Meryl Yourish
NRO Corner
Little Green Footballs
No Left Turns
A Constrained Vision

business blogs
Accidental Verbosity
Assymetrical Information
Carnival of the Capitalists
Cold Springs Shops
Commodity Trader
Coyote Blog
Different River
Everyone's Illusion
Fast Company Blog
Financial Rounds
Freakonomics Blog
Management Craft
Trader Mike
Carnival of the Capitalists Submission

business data
Inst. Supply Mgmt.
St. Louis Fed Economic Data
Nat'l Bureau of Economic Research
Economic Calendar
Stock Charts

colorado blogs
Pirate Ballerina
Pagan Capitalist
Boker Tov, Boulder
Colorado Pols
Jeff Sherman

<-?Colorado BlogRing#->

sites, not blogs
Thinking Rock Press
 help israel
Israel Travel Ministry
Friends of the IDF
Volunteers for Israel
Magen David Adom
 1939 World's Fair
1939: The Lost World of the Fair
The New York World's Fair: 1939-1940
The Last Great Fair by Jeffrey Hart
Iconography of Hope (U.Va.)
Images From the '39 Fair
Tour the 1939 New York Fair
Powered by
Movable Type 3.2

« If Atlas Shrugged Were About Oil... | Main | Jacques Barzun on German-Americans »

Assembly Notes & Aftermath

Next time, someone needs to write a religious exemption clause into the rules. Unless I can't avoid it, I really try to keep religious issues from becoming someone else's problem. This time, there wasn't much choice.

It started with the ID requirement. Staying at a hotel a mile away from the Arena, well outside the Colorado Springs eruv, I couldn't carry my license to the hall. I called the County Chairman. I called the state party. No dice. I spoke to the communications director, who suggested that I might, "bend the rules." I suggested that they weren't mine to bend, and that she might consider taking her own advice. Eventually, Clay kindly offered to drive my id over to the convention hall.

Ah, but that was only the beginning. When I got there, I was surprised to find hundreds, thousands of Republican party activists and delegates dressed like - Democrats. T-shirts, shorts, jeans. I generally figure that important civic duties demand dressing the part, but I was politely informed that, in general, only candidates wore suits. I'll remember that, lest next time, someone try to nominate me for something, and I end up having to whisper the speech into ear of someone who can use a microphone on Saturdays.

The actual check-in wasn't too bad. An ID. A name. They found my Certified Credential (tm), and off I went into the gaping maw of the political furnace.

The thing was held at the World Arena, Colorado Springs's answer to, well, the DC Armory, maybe the Capital Centre. The whole top level, usually dominated by soft drink vendors, was dominated by soft drink vendors, petition-hawkers, sticker stickerers, and groups handing out new free newspapers. (Cost Control Hint: you're reading this online.)

This year, in order to make sure that they could find all the alternates, they had actual assigned seating. I think that's the first time they've done that. Organizational Hint #1: If you're going to use assigned seats, use the row and section numbers that the space already has. Otherwise, you end up printing maps flipping sections 4 and 6 and confusing everyone. Hint #2: If you aren't going to take advantage of inherited experience, don't let one of the campaigns set up their own poles with their own numbers on them.

I arrived in the hall just in time for "The National Anthem: The Dance Mix." Now I know we're the Party of Patriotism, and that up in Greeley, they were probably singing the Internationale and medleys of old Grange Songs to pictures of Big Bill Heyward, featuring a special satellite feed of Hugo Chavez. But that's no reason to play someone's American Idol audition tape (what, a live singer wasn't in the budget?).

So after we finally got settled, it was the parade of elected officials nominating other elected officials for different elected offices. I particularly liked John Suthers's bloc of time. His daughter accused him of not knowing the words to any songs written after 1975 (I've got him beat by about 20 years), and then Suthers's wife showed up in a pant-suit that, well, Suthers probably knew the lyrics to. Mothballs are a wonderful thing. Also, memo to Bob Beauprez: pumping your arms once is energizing; doing it twice looks like you're shooting your cuffs.

There was a certain amount of back-and-forth between the Holzman and Beauprez campaigns, with the Beauprez people re-enacting the Charge of the Light Brigade into their opponents' confetti cannons.

And then, on to the voting.

Actually, on to the waiting. You've heard plenty about the certification process (and the certifiable delegates it produced). The people who had it worst were the alternates. As a Certified Delegate (tm), I could wander about at will, confident that when Denver was finally called, Shabbat might be over. Poor Ben, who did get to vote, more or less sat rooted to his spot so his hog-caller of an assistant to the County Chairman could be sure to find him.

Every once in a while, someone from the Credentials Committee would come out and tell us that Generalissimo Francisco Franco was still dead.

Fortunately, I was able to pass the time amiably with a few of the several hundred LPR members and graduates who were there. I counted at least 16 class members, which is a quarter of the current class, and who knows how many alumni. At least a couple of them thought it was funny when I feigned surprise that the governor wasn't in Greeley with his new friends, and pointed out that he was wearing an appropriately purple tie.

That was until I realized that not having signed the register on the way in might be a problem. That is, I might get to the ballot station, only to be told that my ID and my Certified Credential (tm) weren't enough. I hurried back to the credentialing station, and looked for someone to sign the register in my name. Eventually: "Oh, sure, I can sign for you. I understand completely. My name's Gabriel Schwartz." *Sigh*. Oy. You see, I can't have another Jew sign for me on Shabbat, because then I'm encouraging another Jew to break Shabbat. Non-Jews have no such obligation, although the rules about asking them to do things are kind of tricky. Eventually, we got someone to sign, with a little notation that it wasn't actually me, which is why the handwriting wouldn't match.

And then, back to the waiting.

Eventually, they called Denver, Larimer, and El Paso counties. Organization Note #3, #4, #5: don't put lines for three of the most delegate-laden counties at the same end of the hall, with the only way out being the way you came. How we managed to get the lines to move without actually passing delegates over our heads to the back of the line remains a mystery of physics.

Ah, the front of the line. The Promised Land. I can see my ballot from here. Organization Note #6: If you're going to make delegates sign again to receive their ballots, please have a religious exception next time. When I suggested that, having seen the ID and the Certified Credential (tm), she could just go ahead and sign my name and nobody would know or care, the El Paso County election official started looking around like a terrorist who had just been assured by President Logan that everything was under control and that Jack Bauer would soon be "taken care of." So, while the delegates streamed around me getting their ballots, voting, and leaving behind a convention full of memories, I stood there waiting for further permission.

One of my LPR class members helped me vote, and then another delegate, with whom I served as an election judge, agreed to drive my ID back to the hotel. When you've been shomer Shabbat for 15 years, you forget that it's a weekly occurrence completely unlike anything that someone who's not Jewish would ever experience.

Most of the time, "I can't do x," is enough, and as long as you're not jerking people around, they're very willing to help out. So here's a thanks to Clay, Ben, Phyllis, Denise, Carolyn, and the unnamed party officials who made sure that the signatures got where they were needed. And kudos to Geoff Blue for being the one non-Jew I've ever met who knew what an eruv was.

(Here's the on-one-foot explanation: on Shabbat, we're not allow to do "work." "Work" in this case, means anything that was done in the construction of the Temple. There are 39 categories of work, and the relevant ones last week were carrying and writing.)

So that's it. And you can guess what I'll be putting down on the party's Convention Survey form.


I didnt get to read this until Sat 27 may and I had already mailed in my Headquarters survey. So I could not add or amplify to your comments but I agree with you that the organization is getting worse. I stronglt recommended that the county chairs go back to handling ballots instead of this mess, they coud have helped you with your Shabbat problems.
I did see a young man with a lovely yarmulke (sp) sitting right in front of me but I doubt that is was you as I was in the Jefferson County section

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Power, Faith, and Fantasy

Six Days of War

An Army of Davids

Learning to Read Midrash

Size Matters

Deals From Hell

A War Like No Other


A Civil War

Supreme Command

The (Mis)Behavior of Markets

The Wisdom of Crowds

Inventing Money

When Genius Failed

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Back in Action : An American Soldier's Story of Courage, Faith and Fortitude

How Would You Move Mt. Fuji?

Good to Great

Built to Last

Financial Fine Print

The Day the Universe Changed


The Multiple Identities of the Middle-East

The Case for Democracy

A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam

The Italians

Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory

Beyond the Verse: Talmudic Readings and Lectures

Reading Levinas/Reading Talmud