Twin City impressions 

I was honored this year to serve the state of Oklahoma as a delegate to the Republican National Convention. I was doubly honored because I was the first national delegate elected in Oklahoma. 

This was my second presidential nominating convention. In 2004, I served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in New York City. That convention was highlighted by the passionate speech of U.S. Sen. Zell Miller, a Democrat from Georgia. Miller broke with his party because of John Kerry's inconsistent record on military funding. When Miller delivered the zinger of the evening " calling out Kerry's stance on military funding, saying "U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?" " the crowd erupted. George W. Bush's acceptance speech was anticlimactic compared to Miller's.

This convention has been somewhat different from the 2004 event, for a number of reasons. First, because of Hurricane Gustav, the convention was delayed. Thankfully, the storm did not pack the punch of Katrina. The convention schedule frequently changed due to the cancellation of Monday evening's session. As an unfortunate result, three Oklahomans were bumped from the program: Rep. Tom Cole, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn and Mayor Mick Cornett. While we understood the circumstances, it was nonetheless disappointing for the Oklahoma delegation. 

The second reason this convention is different is because the GOP is doing something historic, and it's not just because Sarah Palin is the first woman the Republicans have nominated for vice president. John McCain is the first prisoner of war to be nominated for president. 

The third reason is because in New York City, security was so tight, the delegation traveled together like an amoeba: We rode the same buses and went to the same receptions. The Twin Cities convention allowed more personal freedom, but I missed the camaraderie of the 2004 convention.

For the political junkie, nothing is more exciting than being on the convention floor, particularly during the keynote speeches. The truth is, the alternate delegates and guests have better seats, but the energy on the floor is electric.

As a delegate, three events are permanently burned into my mind. 

When five Medal of Honor winners and 24 former POWs were recognized on Tuesday night, the response was moving. 

On Tuesday night, when Wes Gullett described the adoption process, I could not help but think of my own personal experience with adoption. 

As McCain made his acceptance speech on Thursday evening, I saw a man much like my father " a straight-talking, no-nonsense kind of guy, whose word is his bond. 

Modern political conventions are staged events with nothing broadcast on prime time that is not scripted. It's theater, and their purpose is not to nominate, but to coronate. However, if they prompt people to pay attention to issues and the qualifications of the candidates, they serve a purpose.

Fair is chairman of the Fourth District of the Oklahoma Republican Party. His blog is stevefair.blogspot.com.

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