Politcs is Music to my Ears

by David Trumbull

August 2002

Perhaps they just didn't understand the Latin text of "O Fortuna" when they chose the opening of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana as Mitt Romney's entrance music at the Massachusetts Republican State Convention, April 6, 2002. Lyrics about the hopelessness of fighting against unmerciful fate notwithstanding, the convention did what it was designed to do--it gave Mitt Romney's campaign for governor a boost and rallied the GOP behind our nominee.

I was one of the more than 3,000 delegates to the convention that endorsed Mitt Romney, along with Jim Rappaport, and our other candidates for statewide office. It was my third Massachusetts Republican Convention attended as a delegate from Cambridge. Mensan Pamela Siska was also a member of the Cambridge delegation. We got there the same way that Hugh, who wrote in last month's Beacon, got to the Democratic State Convention; we showed up at a party caucus several weeks prior to the convention--a caucus at which any registered Republican who showed up could be elected delegate.

The choice is yours

On September 17 Massachusetts voters will go to the polls and, in the state primary election, determine who will be the choices in the November general election. Are you happy with the choices? If not, you have yourself to blame. The candidates in the September primary are those who got at least 15% of the vote at a state party convention, and the delegates to the convention were those who bothered to show up at one of those caucuses back in the spring and got elected.

No special background is needed to run for and be elected as a delegate. You don't have to be a party insider or major donor. At our caucus in Cambridge we elected--along with faithful members who have been to many conventions--people for whom that caucus was their first political meeting attended. The same thing happened across the Commonwealth in many communities, at both the Republican and the Democrat caucuses. If you are interested in being a delegate to the next Republican State Convention, feel free to contact your local party chairman. I am confident he or she will be thrilled to hear from someone who wants to get involved.

Fifteen minutes of fame

Actually it was more like two minutes. Early on the Saturday morning of the Convention at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, political consultant, and Cambridge resident, Charlie Manning asked me if I'd be willing to second the nomination of Bruce Herzfelder for Treasurer of the Commonwealth. The man who had been scheduled to second the nomination was going to be absent, and Bruce needed a last-minute fill-in. The procedure at this convention was for each candidate to be nominated by several persons, each of whom stood up and said, "I nominate so-and-so for such-and-such." After about a half dozen or so of these quick nominations from persons selected to show geographic, ethnic, demographic, or other breadth of support for the candidate, one--only one--person gives a speech, a couple of pages in length, seconding the nomination.

I had never before spoken in front of a crowd of 3,000 people. But my friend Charlie wrote a fine speech and I had a few minutes to practice delivering it. Afterward Bruce thanked me profusely for seconding him. I felt I was the one who should thank him for the honor of being the one man, out of 3,000 delegates, he chose to speak for him at the convention!

I was so nervous I didn't even notice what music they played for Bruce when he took the stage. At least it wasn't the Peanuts Christmas special theme, which the candidate for Attorney General used.

[David Trumbull was a delegate to the 2002 Massachusetts State Convention.]