Ohio delegates to the GOP national convention came with two names on their lips, Sara and Gustav. One many celebrated. The other many feared. And sure enough, Hurricane Gustav’s collision course with New Orleans cut into the celebratory spirit that many delegates said they were feeling when their all-but-certain presidential nominee, John McCain, named Alaska Gov. Sara Palin last week as his running mate. Despite the more subdued mood of the convention and its delegates, people like Margaret McGervey still celebrated Palin’s selection as a sign of strength and hope for her granddaughters — and for the antiabortion cause to regain strength as an important issue for America.
Among the northeast Ohioans in Minneapolis is Valeria McPherson, an inner-city Cleveland delegate since the years of Ronald Reagan. She remains a big fan of George Bush, knows she’ll be a big fan of John McCain, has never voted for a Democrat for president and trusts Republicans to view their word as their bond. But Valeria McPherson’s long partisan pattern didn’t matter when it came to one race: Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the Democratic congresswoman who died suddenly two weeks ago. “We were very close. I was always with her, even though I’m a Republican and she’s a Democrat,” says McPherson. The two first met when McPherson was a bailiff in Cleveland Municipal Court and Tubbs Jones joined the court.
Even the party that supports gun rights has some limits when it comes to its own party. A sign at the Minneapolis Convention Center warns “Civicfest bans guns in these premises.”
Unless Hurricane Gustav continues to disrupt the convention through Wednesday morning, the U.N.L. Drill and Dance Performing Arts Team will perform for John McCain Wednesday. The precision drill team gave the Ohio delegation a sneak — make that a booming — preview Sunday night when they marched alongside the buses loading up outside the Radisson Plaza Hotel.