At This Weekend's Republican Convention, A Showroom Full of Fabulous Merchandise

The good people with the Republican Party of Texas are just beginning to get their biennial convention locked and loaded into the Dallas Convention Center, where the next few days promise a wealth of political theater, and this year, even a little more substance than usual. As Robert pointed out last week, it's a whole new RPT prowling these convention halls this year, and a three-candidate race for party chairman that could even play out on the floor Saturday afternoon.

We'll be hanging around the convention the next few days, probably by the table with the free coffee (Convention Tip No. 1: Don't waste your money at the Starbucks upstairs), but after a quick stop to pick up credentials this afternoon, we had one burning question that just couldn't wait: What kind of swag have they got at the trade show?

Join us for a quick photo tour of the convention's trade show.

Honestly, it was little disappointing in there -- some clever T-shirts and some jewel-encrusted Declarations of Independence, sure, but it was mostly people collecting signatures for petitions or email addresses for campaign mailing lists. Texas Senator Dan Patrick was broadcasting his radio show in there, taking up one of the tables that would have been a prime location for another shirt stand. Still, there was plenty of slogan-bearing swag to cover you if you're looking to knock out that holiday shopping early this year.

One of a select few camo items for sale at the trade show.

Now that everyone's wearing those flag lapel pins, what better way to stand out?

Jeff Reul at the Campaign Wear stand was adamant that his American flag lava lamp was not for sale, but we've still got two more days to work something out.

The candy's free at the Texans for Better Science Education table, and if you're one of the first 30 school teachers to get there, the DVD's are too. As Ide Trotter explained to us, they're great tools for showing kids that the momentum in the scientific community is building in favor of Intelligent Design.

Though not actually selling shoulder rubs for/from kids, this guy is may or may not actually be talking to someone on that Bluetooth headset.

They may all be conservatives, but these masseuses don't hold anything back.

And of course, you might need to rent one of these before the convention really gets going. It's a pretty big place, and you'll have plenty of T-shirts, bibs and buttons to cart around.