DAVE BARRY: GOP in Tampa - Oh, the humidity!

The Miami HeraldAugust 30, 2012 


Dave Barry is a columnist for the Miami Herald.


The official theme of day three of the Republican National Convention was “We Can Change It.” I believe this is a reference to our underwear. It’s hot here, and the humidity is 19 jillion percent, and most of us have to do a lot of walking outside, because the convention zone is surrounded by a vast security perimeter guarded by police, soldiers, Secret Service and — the outermost line of defense — angry shouting men brandishing RON PAUL signs.

Here’s something that bothers me: The Secret Service people wear vests that say, in large letters: “SECRET SERVICE.” Doesn’t that pretty much defeat the whole purpose? Shouldn’t they be more clandestine? At very least, the vests could say “NOT SECRET SERVICE.”

But getting back to the state of our underwear after we finally make it past the security perimeter: Yuck. When you watch the convention on TV, and the camera shows the delegates sitting in their chairs and frowning thoughtfully during a speech, it may appear as though they’re thinking, “This speaker is certainly making a good point about the national debt.” But what they’re actually thinking is, “It feels like frogs are spawning in my drawers.”

Speaking of the national debt: It’s very big. The Republicans point this out roughly every 15 seconds; they also have two electronic debt boards in the convention center, one displaying the total debt, and one displaying the debt since the convention started, both of them with numbers constantly zooming upward, showing the relentlessly mounting financial burden — now nearly $16 trillion — that we older people are placing on the younger generation. On the one hand, I feel bad about this. On the other hand, the younger generation is pretty much entirely responsible for Jersey Shore. So I figure we’re even.

I spent some time wandering around on the convention floor, during which I wound up accidentally interviewing the governor of Guam. What happened was, I saw a guy standing near the Guam sign wearing a necklace made out of nuts. I identified myself as a reporter and asked him what kind of nuts they were, and he told me they were kukui nuts. While I was writing that down in my notebook, he said, “Would you like to talk to the governor?” You can’t really say no in that situation, so next thing I knew, I was talking to the governor of Guam, whose name is Eddie Calvo. I asked him — this was the best question I could come up with on short notice — what time it was in Guam. He told me Guam was 14 hours ahead.

“I’m from the future!” he said.

He also said some things about the Guam economy, but I was still writing down the quote about the future, so I missed them. I believe he said tourism is important, so next time you’re making vacation plans, think about Guam, OK? They seem very nice, based on the governor.

Moments after my hard-hitting interview with Gov. Eddie, a dispute erupted on the convention floor. It involved some Ron Paul delegates, who were really angry. The Ron Paul people always seem angry; I suspect that I agree with them on some things, but I never get too close to them, because I’m afraid they’re going to hit me with their signs.

Whatever the dispute was about, there was a raucous voice vote. It sounded to me, on the convention floor, as though more delegates voted “nay” than “aye,” but the chairman, John Boehner (pronounced “Boehner”) followed the official script and ruled for the ayes, thereby upholding the one inviolable rule of modern political conventions, both Republican and Democratic, which is that the only real function of delegates is to applaud spontaneously whenever a speaker pauses for spontaneous applause.

For the record: I voted both “aye” and “nay,” because as a member of the news media, it is my job to be unbiased.

In other convention action, vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan had his big convention moment, a prime-time slot during which he wowed the delegates by killing and field-dressing a mature male caribou using only his teeth. I’m sure some other things happened, but at the moment I have more important things to think about. My undershorts just went “ribbit.”

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