Convention Diary: Well-heeled types start party early - World - News - The Independent

Convention Diary: Well-heeled types start party early

BY LAST night the stampede was complete, all 50,000 guests expected at the convention were safely in town and the great Republican rodeo was under way.

Even the star of the week, Barbara Bush - oh, and incidentally, George, too - had made it. She takes the stage tomorrow night with the entire Bush clan, kids and grandkids, at her side. The President will only make his grand entrance at the Astrodome on Thursday, for his coronation as candidate for four more years.

Even before the dropping of the gavel yesterday morning to mark the start of official business, most of the delegates - 2,210 in all - were already well into the party mood, and not just politically speaking. In a whirlwind of polite Texas socialising, most had spent the weekend sucking on barbecued ribs and sipping margaritas - a Mexican cocktail that comes highly recommended - at the best city clubs or at the homes of the Houston rich, of which there are many.

These are well turned-out folk, by the way. No jeaned Democrats here. A view from the rafters of the assembled faithful last night would have revealed lots of blue-rinse hair-dos and knife-sharp side partings. Men, mostly in business suits, would certainly outnumber women, and blacks would hardly be in evidence.

As for their political views, the prize for conservatism must go to the 121-strong Texan delegation. Over three-quarters back a total ban on abortion and most deplore homosexuals and have little concern about Aids. Take Rita Palm of Fort Worth on abortion: 'It's a white issue because black families have their babies and use them as a means for an income', or Coleman Carter on Aids: 'I equate it with leprosy.'

Mr Carter, presumably, paid little attention to the Act-Up/Queer Nation march that snaked to the Astrodome yesterday to protest views such as his in the Republican mainstream. Homosexuals were not alone in raising their voices. Among a selection of groups demonstrating in the convention environs were the Lone Star Croation Club, the Zionist Organisation of America and, for frustrated greens, an organisation called Earth, Wind and Water.

The latest elephant sighting, incidentally - the official emblem of the Republican Party - was of a 6ft topiary specimen welcoming delegates at the entrance to the Astrodome. Houstonians, it seems, have a thing about topiaries. Roaming the streets and front lawns are a wide variety of leafy apparitions, including giraffes, Texas longhorns, flamingos, reindeers, monkeys, rabbits, pigs and armadillos.

Fire engines are a favourite fetish of the Republican Party. They appeared first in Ronald Reagan's sentimental Morning in America television advertisements in the 1984 campaign. Mr Bush's commercials, four years later, featured one as well, being lovingly wiped down by two men in some sunny prairie town. And, lo and behold, in Americana, the video film made for this convention, there is another red and shiny model, once again getting the chamois-leather treatment from two loving gents.

If the delegates have received a great welcome, journalists are feeling unloved. Most began work yesterday exhausted by the experience of finding their credentials at a different conference centre six miles away, and then spending three hours negotiating the wasteland of Houston's freeways and the battalions of police barricading the Astrodome. Hacks have been directed to no fewer than four hotels to pick up parking permits. So far, none has been successful in obtaining one. Looks like it's going to be Shanks's pony.

Suggested Topics
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

Supply teachers needed- Worthing!

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Supply teachers needed for va...

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

Secondary Supply Teacher Lowestoft

£110 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad are currently look...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week