I traveled to Tampa, FL, last-minute for work (good timing), so I got to experience some of the hullabaloo from the vantage point of an on-the-outskirts La Quinta. My observations:
1. Tampa’s uber security perfectly captured the two paths our country faces.
There was something inspiring about seeing the delegates from all across the country bringing their point-of-view to the RNC. There was also something incredibly uninspiring about the massive police presence.
They may have had good reason for the security; from rape threats to suspicious packages, the Left made it clear how “peaceful” they are. Necessary or no, a city essentially walled off with patrolling squads of police and other units covering every block felt a little too European, and a little too unAmerican.
2. Investigative reporters took the week off, it seems.
While I was a little too busy to do much reporting for LI, I did notice was the plethora of media “on the inside” and hardly any investigative reporting going on “on the outside.” If the media–and that includes so-called “new media”–had ventured beyond the “media center” and hotel lobby, they might have found quite a few stories worth reporting besides the obvious Code Pink protesters.
Still, who wouldn’t want to be there for the balloon drop photo-op.
3. Our government is apparently in the business of community-organizing.
Rebel Pundit documented the uniformed presence of the DOJ’s Community Relations Service helping the Occupy protesters (even high-fiving them). This agency, created as part of the Civil Rights Act to act as a “peacemaker,” has been steadily increasing its budget, staff, and plans to organize a community near you. Their jurisdiction to act as peacemaker now includes all “hate crimes,” as redefined in 2010, which doesn’t answer the question of why they feel it is part of their responsibility to community organize protests at conventions.
This and countless other reports from those who went out into the crowd–not for attention, but to report–barely made the headlines. See Lee Stranahan’s excellent coverage here.
4. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz dines with the 1 percent.
I bumped into her at local institution Bern’s Steakhouse on Wednesday evening. Needless to say she wasn’t happy about being spotted there. It doesn’t exactly support her class warfare message.
5. MSNBC is the place for political coverage.
If you must turn on your t.v. (instead of reading LI), let it be MSNBC. The Professor has already documented the hilarity that ensued after Romney’s mocking of President Obama’s grandiose claims about the environment, on Maddow last night. Don’t miss their next head-spinning. You also would have missed the debut of what appears to be the Left’s messaging strategy for attacking Romney’s religion.
In sum, the RNC presented a contrast to the messages of division, gloom, and class warfare the Left would have us buy. But outside the convention walls, we also saw hints of a future where some in new media, having been invited inside the party, like the balloon-drop view a little too much.