The Dorchester Conference is this weekend, February 29 to March 2 at the Seaside Convention Center. I’d like to dispel a few myths about the Dorchester Conference. Myths no doubt devised and propagated by people who don’t like the idea of Republicans from across the state meeting to discuss issues and formulate strategy. Myths propagated by people who would rather see Republicans divided than united. Myths propagated by our mutual enemy, the Democrats.
Myth #1 – Dorchester is only for “liberal”, “moderate” or “country club” Republicans.
This year I was invited to be on the board of the Dorchester Conference. Although I am a progressive in the Teddy Roosevelt mold, those who know me (or who may have read some of my writings) would never call me moderate. I am far from wealthy and I may be the only middle aged white man who does not golf. If a guy like me can be welcomed on to the board, there’s certainly a place at the Dorchester Conference for ALL Republicans.
Myth #2 – Dorchester is Irrelevant.
How the state’s largest gathering of Republicans can be irrelevant is beyond me. If you think a gathering of several hundred Republicans including Senator Gordon Smith, Congressman Greg Walden, almost all of the state’s elected Republican Senators and Representatives, several Mayors and scores of Republican activists is irrelevant, you’re nuts. This is your chance to network with like minds from across the state. Chances are, one or more of the aforementioned state Senators or Representatives will be seated at your discussion table. More than one piece of legislation has had its start at a Dorchester table discussion.
Myth #3 – Dorchester is Boring.
Well, it’s not spring break in Cabo, but if you have even a passing interest in Republican politics it is a blast. Discussion groups argue hot-button issues (OK, one or two may not be YOUR hot button issues, but you can bet if they’re being discussed at Dorchester they are being discussed in the legislature and at Mahonia Hall, so, even if they don’t all set your blood on fire, you’d better pay attention) and get “inside baseball” from elected officials and activists. Did I mention the hospitality suites? You too can be plied by lobbyists and activists like legislators used to be before the so called “ethics reform.” Friday and Saturday nights both feature a number of hosted (that means free food and drink) parties. These provide great opportunities to mingle and network in informal settings.
Myth #4 – The Tent Show Sucks.
I’m on the tent show committee, so it’s kind of hard to argue that one. It is, however, one of the only opportunities you may have to see liquored up, talentless fools making complete asses of themselves in public…unless you’ve watched Democrat Legislators during session in Salem.
So join several hundred other Republicans in Oregon’s largest and the country’s oldest, Republican gathering for fun and politics this weekend in Seaside. You can register at Dorchester.org or at the conference any time after 4 PM Friday.
P.S. – don’t forget to boycott Cannon Beach.
P.P.S.S. – Sunday after the conference, weather permitting, I will be hiking over Tillamook head from Cannon Beach to Seaside. If you feel you can make the nine miles in three hours, feel free to join me.