The delegates responded to these other questions:
Elizabeth Dole's "unconventional style"
Is so much media coverage really necessary?
Kemp's "sea change" on immigration and affirmative action
A question from Glen Self of Scottsville, VA
As an American who has supported the Republican Party for over thirty years, it is obvious to me that we are the "big tent" party. I applaud the convention organizers for not giving too much time to the small single issue groups at the expense of broader national issues.
Although the convention is a nice party for those wealthy enough to attend, the platform out of such a group bears little relation to the beliefs of most Republicans. For it to have any real meaning it should be debated and voted on nationally in forums such as this. Today's technology makes it fairly easy to set up a system where all registered republicans can have an input into the platform process.
Carl Tritschler - LA
Any forum which could expand comments from Americans to the platform committee should be given serious consideration. I do believe, however, that our platform is an excellent one and does reflect the views of most Americans. Aside from (perhaps) incorporating the new technology of the Internet, we should also consider expanding the number of meetings of the platform committee to more cities across America.
Eric Koch - IN
Glen, I disagree for several reasons. Personally, I am delighted with the platform, which has nothing to do with the relative wealth of the delegates. At least in Indiana, the wealthier Republicans tend to be more liberal, and the middle class more conservative (generalizations, I realize). The problem with utilizing technology such as this is that not everyone can use or afford it.
Arthur Bruzzone - CA
From my viewpoint, the platform did evolve from national debate. They're called primaries. Primaries are the core of our party system. Bob Dole won the primaries, clearly. His views are embodied in the final platform. And so are those of the other candidates. Now we move on. :Platforms are for conventions, conventions are for nominating and launching the candidate. Certainly, for Democrats, the platform is not even relevant for their convention. Check it out when they get together in Chicago. In the meantime, let the primaries be the place for Republicans to vote their views.
Jason Brinton - UT
"...a nice party for those wealthy enough to attend..." I find interesting. This may be true to some degree, however, I find that I and the majority of the delegates from the state which I represent are not wealthy. Many people take a vacation during the end of the summer. The voting this year, as far as the delegates are concerned, is perfunctory. However, the vacation aspects of a place like San Diego or Houston coupled with the opportunity to meet fellow Republican leaders, and in some years, important voting duties as a delegate attracts a wide variety of people who are on most issues, I believe, representative of the party.
You are right that the platform would have more meaning if it were debated and voted on nationally by all registered Republicans. Again, however, only a slice of America has convenient Internet access as you and I, and other technological means of communication are either too expensive or logistically impossible.
Robert MacDonald - VA
As a member of the Platform Committee I believe that the Platform committee members are selected through a very democratic process. Generally, two members are elected to the Platform Committee from each state by the members of each state's delegation to the national convention. This process is the essence of representative government. Your suggestion is to adopt a process similar to the baseball all-star balloting system, or a process more akin to a primary than a convention. While your idea has significant merit and clearly deserves further study and discussion, some of the logistics associated with computer balloting, combined with the lack of personal debate on the issues, may make the "at-large balloting process" less effective. Thanks for the good idea.
Judy Pennycook - CA
I think that clearly what we are trying to do here in San Diego is to try to examine issues carefully and move forward by building consensus throughout the Party. I take exception with the comment about only the wealthy being able to participate. This is my second convention and I am far from wealthy.
Joyce Haas - PA
I agree that the convention has shown that the Republican Party is inclusive and is the party of smaller government, lower taxes, and less intrusion in individual lives. It is the party of individual responsibility. With freedom goes responsibility. I am a moderate pro choice Republican who disagrees with the party on a single issue. It would not be enough to make me abandon any candidate if he/she aspires to all of the other Republican principles.
I disagree that there should be "mini convention forums." We do that anyway with polls, surveys, comments to legislators, primaries, etc. All people pay their own way to the convention--transportation, hotels, etc. My roommate earned her money to come here by selling political buttons at home and here. Another delegate from my district was given money by friends, local groups and relatives. She is a farmer who would not be able to come otherwise. This is her second convention and she will begin to plan now for 2000. Anyone who wants to take the time to put themselves on the ballot and do some "grassroots" legwork can be a delegate and attend.