While most of the mainstream media devoted much attention to the party’s endorsement of a platform plank supporting “reparative therapy,” the media ignored the critical matter of whether the party should accept or reject proposals to hold an Article V convention of the states, also called a constitutional convention. In successive paragraphs, the platform “strongly oppose[d] any constitutional convention” and “urge[d] the Texas State Legislators to take the lead in calling for an Article V Amending Convention of States,” thereby proclaiming its opposition to and support of the same process!
In addition to discussing and voting on the state party’s platform, the convention also provided a widely watched public venue for several GOP leaders regarded as viable contenders for the 2014 Republican presidential nomination. Among these were Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Texas Governor Rick Perry, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
Cruz told the Arlington, Virginia-based Politico newspaper: “What I am trying to do, more than anything else, is motivate and energize millions of grassroots activists in Texas and all around the country to stand up and demand we change course.”
Texas state Senator Dan Patrick, who recently won the Republican nomination for Texas lieutenant governor, said of Cruz: “Well, he’s just the most popular politician in Texas. They see a guy who’s willing to take an arrow and stand up for the people. That fires people up.”
Sen. Rand Paul, son of former Texas congressman Ron Paul, gave a somewhat guarded statement to the Dallas Morning News suggesting that the GOP had much work ahead of it: “The Republican constituency isn’t large enough to win national elections. It’s hard to get that conception here because Texas is so Republican now, but the rest of the country is not.”
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram quoted Paul’s recommendations for the GOP, saying that Republicans should become the party that says, “Why don’t we read the bills before we pass them?”
“If we need to be a bigger, better, bolder party, we need to do it with optimism,” Paul said.
Governor Perry, whose presidential aspirations stalled in 2011 after he faltered during the nationally televised debates and drew heat for his policy of letting illegal immigrants pay in-state tuition at Texas universities, received a standing ovation when he said Texas didn’t submit to “federal blackmail” by taking increased federal funding to expand the Medicaid program under President Obama's health care law. Delegates gave him another when he called for “getting back” to the 10th Amendment, which protects states’ rights.
Cruz came in first in a presidential straw poll taken among delegates, receiving a lopsided 43.4 percent of the votes. Paul received 12.1 percent, and Perry 11.7 percent. Columnist and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has never held political office, actually outpolled Paul and Perry with 12.2 percent.
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Photo of delegates at Texas Republican State Convention: AP Images