I'm sure Tampa, Florida is a lovely city when it isn't flooded with thousands of people in business casual sweating their asses off as they schlep around in 90 degree heat. It must be a pleasant place to be sometimes, when the whole city proper isn't overrun with every cop in Florida outfitted in Ranger Rick khakis and a disturbing array of metal objects. I'd probably enjoy it more if I didn't have to rely on the world's least reliable fleet of cabs to provide me with transportation to and from a convention center 6 miles away. And I'm sure I'd like it more if I wasn't here to listen to every Republican from sea to shining sea say "WE BUILT IT" and then smiling with satisfaction like they coined the phrase. But not everything was awful. Lessons were learned. Here they are, jerks.
RNC women: surprisingly nice!
I've said it before, I'll say it again. Sweet as pie. But, then again, I'm not an Occupy protester, I'm a clean-cut white lady, and I didn't really get to go into the full extent of my pro-choice atheist gay Muppet marriage n' blow jobs agenda.
RNC men have elevator eyes.
Want to get blatantly looked up and down by a bunch of guys wearing giant buttons that say OBAMA? AY CARAMBA? Four years from now, you'll want to get yourself to the next Republican convention. Bonus: some of them write their phone numbers down on bar napkins.
Tucker Carlson is not as cute in person.
I always thought he was so sexy and terrible, but I saw him walking out of the convention center one day and he was just a pile of chins. It was among my life's most disappointing moments.
Code Pink has balls.
The giant vagina costumes were ubiquitous at lady-related events — I saw them yesterday outside the Celebration of Pro-Life Women Leaders holding up signs about female empowerment and being told by cops in reflective sunglasses to clear out. Not exactly my choice of protest, but ballsy. If I had a sheet of Scratch n' Sniff stickers, I'd give one to each of them.
Possums are scary.
After a series of events that were so stupid I won't even go into them here, I ended up stranded a couple of miles from my hotel with a dead phone. Not knowing what else to do, I walked all the way back, along the side of a highway after dark in wedge heels, cursing the state of Florida the entire time. Midway into my walk, I encountered an opossum milling around. I yelled, "HEY GET OUT OF THE WAY, YOU MOTHERFUCK!" partially to scare the animal and partially to scare the serial killer hiding in the bushes who I worried might be following me. The animal turned, looked at me, and hissed before climbing a tree.
I'm an idiot.
On the first day I was here, I ended up splitting a cab with a very nice woman. She was from Utah, she said. She's here covering the convention, she said. We had a nice chat. She gave me her email address. I realized when I got home that she was one of the Huntsman daughters from all of those cute videos during primary season.
Mitt Romney's platform: "I AM NOT BARACK OBAMA AND MY FAMILY IS NICE."
That sounds like a great idea for a reality TV show; I'd totally watch Rollin' With My Romneys every week because the best part of the convention was when Ann told stories about her family and when Mitt talked about waking up to a "pile of kids" on the bedroom floor. Last night before Romney's acceptance speech, a video montage featuring footage of the Romney sons as children made me guffaw in spite of myself.
Very few people know about the internet.
I suspect that the only reason anyone would talk to me is because no one thought to take out their smartphones and Google the name of this publication.
The convention center is where arteries go to die.
Once you're inside the arena where keynote speeches are given, your food options are limited. It's a repurposed hockey stadium, and so the concession stands only sell hockey food. Pretzels and hot dogs and chicken fingers. I regret nothing.
Mike Huckabee's still a fucking idiot.
During his speech this week, he made a hilaaaaarious joke about how he heard a terrible noise from the room next to his in his hotel, but it turned out to be DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz practicing her speech for next week's Democratic National Convention. Women! Why don't they just shut up? In return, Wasserman Schultz dismissed Huckabee as "irrelevant." Ouch.
Wincing, blinking rapidly, and tipping his head to the side is Mitt Romney's signature speech expression.
It's how he shows America he's learned how to feel feelings. This is dying to be a gif.
A family of adorable ducks lives in the pond next to my hotel room. The one I thought I would drown in. Guess it wasn't useless after all.
During my few days here in Tampa, I've spent most of my time bitching. Enough! Before I leave, it's time to step into the sun and embrace the reality of the fact that I'm here, my face hurts from grinning encouragingly at strangers, and I'm not going anywhere until later today. More »
Yesterday at the Republican National Convention in Florida, vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan got up and made a rousing speech about democracy and the future and why President Obama is a great big bozo who's pooping in America's mouth and calling it the warmed-up Tootsie Roll of Freedom. More »
Here at the RNC, the breadth of extracurricular activities available to you depends largely on how many zeros are at the end of the check you write to the Republican Party. More »
And there, like a mirage, was the place I belonged. A pink logo. Hip, stencilly writing, in the style of a public service announcement warning me to wear a dental dam so as not to spread mouth STD's in 1994. More »
Here's how I ended up drinking by myself at a Hooters on a Tuesday afternoon. More »
In an attempt to appeal to female voters, last night the GOP showcased some of its best lady talent, all of whom had some harshly dismissive words about the War on Women (it's a figment of your hysterical imagination) and how Mitt Romney will do things that will make ladies happy. More »
This week, finally, after all those nerd-hours expended on wondering just what precious metal and fancy rhetorical jewels would gild the GOP's terrible turd ideas, the official Republican party platform will be revealed to a chorus of gasps, eye rolls, and delighted shrieks from Rick Santorum. More »