I went to the second most liberal college in Ohio–Oberlin College.
Besides its quality (ranked first in co-ed colleges by the Chicago Tribune in 1959) and manageable size (something over 2,000), it created the Mock Political Convention.
I considered Northwestern, which also had a Mock Convention, but Oberlin won out.
My goal was to make Oberlin’s 1964 (my senior year) Mock Convention Republican.
It seemed only right that one year out of four there ought to be some Republican speakers invited to campus.
The Student Council make the decision and selected the Convention’s Chairman.
We in the Young Republicans formed a campus political party called SCOPE. (Because our leader Sandy Campbell had the first two initials of the party’s name, the liberals–or did they call themselves “progressives”–said they stood for “Sandy Campbell Opposes Practically Everything.)
The first year we ran a slate, we were not wise in the ways of vote stealing. We did not have watchers.
Based on that experience, the next year we did have watchers.
The Council had twelve members.
We had six Young Republicans (now called College Republicans) on the ballot. Some were running as members of our party, some weren’t.
We won six seats and one of our more liberal members wanted to be President of the Council.
Fine by those of us whose goal had nothing to do with anything else the Council might do other than pick the party and the chairman of the Mock Convention.
Somehow he convinced one of the liberals to vote for him and we were set to control the Convention.
And I got selected Chairman of the Republican Mock Convention.
We brought Republicans to speak.
- William Rusher of the National Review
- Congressman Bob Wilson (R-CA), Chairman of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee
- U.S. Senator Hugh Scott (R-PA) Scott spoke in Finney Chapel. (The liberals started hissing. Scott broke them up in laughter by commenting on the radiator problem the building seems to have.)
- Former Illinois Governor Bill Statton (He even came to see me in the hospital.)
- U.S. Senator Jacob Javits was the Convention’s Keynote Speaker
- Congressman Robert Taft, Jr.
In the run-up to the convention, a circus came to Cleveland. Our excellent PR guy convinced the circus that bringing an elephant to Oberlin would be mutually beneficial.
So, the elephant was unloaded in front of the house that the College allowed us to use as Convention headquarters, the TV cameras rolled, photos were taken and…the elephant took a dump.
We still had a snow shovel on the porch, so I, being the consument introvert, got the shovel and and this photo resulted.
Some people carry water for the elephant, others do more heavy lifting.
I was reminded of this at the Milk Day Parade this year.
Mexican horses were at the end of the parade.
A man with a wagon and a snow shovel followed scooping up the horse manure.
Forty-some years earlier, I had followed a teenage elephant down Ayer Street with a snow shovel…just in case.
I was President of the McHenry County Young Republicans and we convinced owners of Tuff-Coat Paint, a Woodstock firm, to allow Tuffy to come to parade with his trainer.
Tuffy also made an appearance at the McHenry County Fair that year.
We sold peanuts that fairgoers could feed her.