By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
"This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves," Thompson wrote in his classic Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72. "We are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable."
Now, 40 years later, the Republican National Convention is returning to Florida. On August 30, Mitt Romney will don a sleek suit and flash his Vaseline smile to a sea of pale-skinned delegates in Tampa. He will compliment the city on hosting the four-day, $123 million orgiastic event. And he will implore the crowd to obey the banners hung from the rafters: "Believe in America."
Outside the towering Tampa Bay Times Forum, meanwhile, ornery unbelievers will be confined like cattle to designated protest zones. There will be Black Bloc anarchists, Code Pink soccer moms dressed as giant vaginas, a poor people's camp called Romneyville and tens of thousands of Ron Paul fanatics descending like libertarian locusts to devour whatever scraps their septuagenarian savior tosses them.
Barred by city officials from bringing masks, puppets or tricycles, the malcontents will be surrounded by 4,000 heavily armed police — not to mention a city full of conservatives with concealed weapons and a distaste for godless liberals. More than 35,000 die-hard believers will jet into town for a week of GOP glitz, gluttony and gun worship. They'll be joined by 15,000 headline-hunting journalists and another 15,000 protesters.
While the mainstream media sucks down speeches by Romney and his new budget boy toy, Paul Ryan, we're honoring Thompson's legacy by doing as he would have done in Tampa: dredging up the real, sordid story behind the convention.
It's not something you'll see on CNN. But screw Wolf Blitzer. We've got our own guides: pole dancers poised to suck rich Repub visitors dry, professional Sarah Palin porn impersonator Lisa Ann prepping for the performance of a lifetime, aging strip club owner Joe Redner fighting off cancer to flip right-wingers his middle finger one last time and Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi returning to his home state to chronicle the madness.
"Florida has a lot going for it," Mandvi says. "Tampa is the birthplace of Hooters, for God's sake."
Make no mistake: The RNC's return to the Sunshine State is no fluke. For Romney, Ryan, and the rest of the party, Florida is the future.
Since Nixon's days, conservatives have transformed Florida into a hellish post-governmental wasteland. Here, super-PACs run wild through suburbs in foreclosure, people trust in only God or their Glock and the poor are left to literally cannibalize one another on the nightly news. But hey, there's no state income tax!
As in '72, Florida is the template for a right-wing takeover in 2012. Pay attention, America, because this crazy collapsed state could soon be yours too.
Americans have long known Florida as the tacky tropical paradise where grandparents go to die — an isthmus of endless sandy beaches and unlimited cottage cheese. Then came the 2000 election, and like a maggot-infested mango, the Sunshine State was revealed to be full of crap.
The backwardness goes way beyond blowing the election and ushering Dubya into office. Decades of conservative dominance in the capitol have made Florida into a dystopian test kitchen for Republicans' craziest ideas. Mass deregulation coupled with hacked education budgets has made Ponzi schemes the state's biggest industry. More than a million residents are packing heat. And murder is essentially legal thanks to the Stand Your Ground law.
But all the evidence you need of Florida's dysfunction comes from a quick study of the state's fearless leaders — the ones America will soon meet via cable news broadcasts from Tampa.
Let's start at the top: At the head of the crazy parade is Governor Rick Scott. His poll numbers read like a thermometer in Reykjavík. For good reason. With his pale, shaven head and unblinking eyes, he looks — and governs — like Lord Voldemort.
Scott's shadiness preceded his election by decades. As a young lawyer in Texas, he turned a $125,000 investment in two hospitals into a massive health-care empire. Then the feds came sniffing around. They accused Scott's company — Columbia/HCA — of billing Medicare and Medicaid for bogus lab tests and charging the government for luxuries such as Kentucky Derby tickets. When the investigation went public in 1997, Columbia/HCA's board booted Scott, but not before handing him $10 million cash and $300 million worth of stock. Three years later, the company pleaded guilty to 14 corporate felonies and paid the government a record $1.7 billion in fees.
You'd think the stink from the largest Medicare fraud case in history would stick to Scott, but in 2010, he ran for governor, dropping more than $75 million of his fortune to recast himself — like Romney — as an entrepreneur. He won by just 1 percent over Democrat Alex Sink (a candidate so bland she's best remembered today as the great-granddaughter of a Siamese-twin circus performer).
The question is - Can half this country order the other have to the tongue of the wagon? A very real form of human bondage.
And even if it turns out that way, the formula does not work. It violates the Law of Self Interest. People will not devote ever more hours of labor every day and not receive the direct benefit of that labor. We are trending from avoidance to evasion and it will accelerate.
And to exacerbate the situation, we have reached the point where we have taxed Future wealth and income yet to be created to the extent it won't be - created. Again, it is the usurpation of the law of self-interest.
This ain't your Daddy's Depression. That debt wall is now so large it darkens the skies. And it's alive. It is growing upon itself. And the only thing that has any possibility of overtaking its rate of growth is growth. Growth in the the Gross Domestic Product. that's us, folks, not Wall Street. And that means small business. For it has always been the Great Unwashed that has tractored us all out of these recessions and depressions.
And that takes us back to square one.
It ain't magic and it is not a matter of rote faith, a Hail Mary, or a wing and a prayer.
We are in a very dark place, and this is just Purgatory. It can and will get a lot worse. Just look at the last century.
So yeah, we will be at each other's throats if we do not change course immediately.
The dogs are mewling and the birds are flying inland. Every natural sign is yelling, something bad is coming.
How is that Hope and Change going for you? 15 million more on food stamps and unemployed keep hoping for a change.
@Sarge Keep that thought,soon you will get your voucher for H/C about 6k short, but hey they love you,LOL
Judging by his repeated references, Michael Miller either has a secret fetish for guns, or an irrational fear of them, not sure which...
@CREATIVEVIRTUOS I am a little confused by the title on this article....this has nothing to do with strippers!
The GOP’s 2012 convention theme will be, “We Did Build This!” — which is amusing since the Republican National Committee convention will actually be held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, which is publicly-owned and is managed with taxpayer funds. The media center for the RNC Convention is the Tampa Convention Center, which is also publicly-owned, and was built with $140 million in taxpayer funds.
The GI bill and massive road construction were federal programs that aided the parents of today's white suburban citizens, yet they insist upon excoriating African-Americans for being "dependent upon the government for assistance". Republican trash talk and race-baiting is feeding this ignorance.
The Romney-Ryan-Akin team has forbidden the press from asking any questions about Medicare, reproductive rights, or tax returns.
I'll take the Romney-Ryan-Akin ticket anyday over the Obama-Biden-Marx ticket.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Instead of a convention they should just hand out fliers, that is more info than you will get from Hatefest 2012
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz In reading your comments through out, I am not convinced you a radical Democrat, but a true idiot.
@holmantx They did not build S................................,without others money
@holmantx Their convention is being held in an arena built by the government.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz And there it is - your sickness in full Monty. Shouting it out in public for all to see.
I can only hope that your brethren continue to extol the virtues of the collective over the individual at every turn. That the People through the Public Servant are the true definition of American Exceptionalism.
What you assert is worse than the notion of trying to explain the benefits of legitimate rape. At least Akin apologized.
You remain in a state of pristine cluelessness.
@holmantx "Todd Akin has fallen behind Sen. Claire McCaskill by double digits in the Missouri Senate race, according to a Rasmussen automated phone poll released Thursday." --POLITICO
Read it and weep, boyfriend.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz and yet another one!
Pious ignorance and proud of it.
you go girl.
@holmantx Hee hee. Latest Rasmussen poll has Claire McCaskill up by ten points. Now who's the sick one?
The University of Colorado analysis is out. This analysis is unique in its predictive ability. The model correctly predicted all Presidential elections since 1980.
The most recent University of Colorado (UC) analysis has Mitt Romney the winner of the 2012 Presidential election according to political science professors Kenneth Bickers of UC Boulder and Michael Berry of UC Denver. The predictions were presented in a press release on August 22, 2012, and will appear in PS: Political Science & Politics, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Political Science Association this month and be updated in September.
“According to their analysis President Barack Obama will win 218 votes in the Electoral College, short of the 270 he needs. And though they chiefly focus on the Electoral College, the political scientists predict Romney will win 52.9 percent of the popular vote to Obama’s 47.1 percent, when considering only the two major political parties.”
GOD is very angry at the republicans for their immense hatred of everyone. HE is sending Hurricane Isaac into Tampa to shut down their convention.
Here on the 'ol D-O blogs, most of us just have to treat these threads not as a narrow lane built and policed by a Liberal cop, but as an opportunity to express an opinion why this street and this cop exist in the first place.
Can ya dig it? So here goes:
Romney's one of the good guys on the planet. He was a Governor, a highly successful businessman, and can obviously take a punch, and counter-punch. He can carry the right and will capture the center and disaffected Democrats. He will beat the President. After all, this election will be a plebiscite on Obama's record and where he's dragging the soul of this country.
Romney is the nominee and the next President because he is the most qualified, possesses the most experience, and exhibits the most Leadership. He knows how to lead. He will stand down the regulatory agencies and will not veto what the next Congress must do - which is set a course to balance the budget, repeal Obamacare, and cut spending to restore our credibility so that we will pay our debts without monetizing it. And, of course, you refuse to recognize what I just said however, our national salvation depends upon it - including the wagon riders.
This writer and the morons who mouth the same old braindead slurs would never vote for Romney yet we are treated to a continuous stream of perfumed slants and strawman blog after strawman blog that DO serve a purpose in your world. And that purpose is to provide a platform for you to express displeasure, imply all manner of insult and invective . . . anything but defend the consequences of collectivism. I'm just trying to reach out and explain why self-selecting elitism is such a vacant enterprise. You are engaging in self-righteous masturbation.
What's clear to everyone else is that the the ones you think you speak for are not ideologues like you. Your rank and file are mercenary and practical. In the big scheme of things Romney and Ryan, as flawed as they are, represent a solution to at least sustain the benefits. They won't vote for Romney . . . they just won't vote in the numbers they did in 2008. A sufficient chunk of your troops will remain on the couch. All because you yammered when your leadership should have let the economic horses run. You could have had Obamacare had you fixed the economy first. Instead, you have women cheering a rapist who will be the keynote speaker at your convention.
You don't have any (recognized) idea what I'm talking about. But your rank and file do, for they know how the egg is laid. So . . . You cannot be allowed to sit in your addiction and continue to deny why these Republicans and the TEA Party movement are on the national scene in the first place. Mine is but an early intervention. And help is on the way.
Let it not be a shock when the adults take over for awhile. Just go get in the back seat with Grandma whilst Dad fixes the engine you so royally screwed up.
And don't touch anything!
All true - but will you also be publishing an equally scathing (and entertaining) expose on the Democrats?
@Sotiredofitall why don't you get right on that and write your own article, then.
@Sotiredofitall I was wondering the same thing....
@Sotiredofitall FOX takes care of that every minute of every day.
Richard Nixon. Out of the many, many republican dirt-bags to come down the pike, Nixon was the one... number one.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz And Nixon was proven to be a "dirt bag" doing what, exactly?
He can't touch 0bama, my dear.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz #1 that you knew about, honey.
By the way, MSNBC = FOX. Huffingtonpost = FOX.
It's all crap, and if you are a side-taker, then you are The Problem.
boy, Nixon was #1, and time has not softened this countries disdain for him.
... and who could forget that elephantine bird-brain Veep of his, Spiro Agnew, who coined such alliterative gems as, "nattering nabobs of negativism".
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