I don't mean to suggest that anything happened that was not entirely above board. The Chairman made sure that people got equal time to speak on both sides of any issue which was raised. But beyond that it was fairly clear that the situation was being carefully orchestrated. Although immigration was the last item in the platform, the Chairman agreed with a request to take it out of order and examine it first. He then heard motions which were basically complaints about the section which were masquerading as points of information. Supporters were given equal time to defend the immigration plank, including Land Commissioner Patterson who spoke from one of the floor microphones. Back and forth about immigration went on, with several suggestions for changes, including replacing the whole thing with the 2010 wording, being voted down on voice votes. Then, much to everyone's surprise there was a motion from the floor to close debate and vote on the platform as a whole, and suddenly with about 60 people waiting in line to make motions on the platform, the whole thing passed and it was over.
The intent, clearly planned carefully by the party Chairman, the head of the Platform Committee and the backers of the immigration plank, was to make absolutely sure that the platform passed with their plank in place and unchanged, regardless of what else in the platform their strategy left unchanged. So because of their efforts dozens of anti-gay activists were left fuming on the floor while the platform passed with most of the anti-gay planks edited out. It was a surprise victory which fell into our laps, and while there remain two problem planks in the family values section, we got more change than I had ever realistically expected.
That personal victory aside and without minimizing the progress made on social issues, the really important result of this process was the immigration plank which ended up in the platform. Chairman Munisteri made very clear that he expected our platform to be looked at closely at the national convention, and that Texas ought to have a strong voice in setting national immigration policy for the Republican Party. To that end, what Commissioner Patterson crafted is something the nation has been begging for, an authentic, balanced and comprehensive plan for dealing with all aspects of immigration, and one which a national campaign can be run on.