Posted on | August 31, 2012 | 21 Comments
Last guy in the Press Filing Center, 1 a.m., Friday, Aug. 31, 2012
“There was never enough time. Every deadline was a crisis. All around me were experienced professional journalists meeting deadlines far more frequent than mine, but I was never able to learn from their example.”
– Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72
Garrett Quinn of the Boston Globe walked over to the empty row where I was still working on my column and said, “I knew that was you, banging away. I’d recognize that sound anywhere.”
Ask anyone who’s ever shared a workspace with me — and this now includes hundreds of reporters who came to Tampa for the Republican National Convention — I hammer the hell out of a keyboard. That’s why I always carry an external keyboard, because otherwise I’d destroy the laptop keyboard in a matter of months, and the thing would be useless in those emergencies when I actually need it.
People ask me if I learned to type on a manual typewriter, which of course I did, but there are other old guys who’ve learned to tap lightly on the keys, while I continue my brutal keyboard-destroying methods and go through the $9.99 things at the pace of one or two a year.
Hard-hitting journalism. Literally.
The polls showed a dead heat as Mitt Romney took the stage Thursday night to accept the Republican Party nomination, but the polls could not begin to capture the wild chances of improbability in what is sure to be a hard-fought campaign this fall. And the man who introduced the GOP presidential nominee Thursday night was the surest testament to how miracles happen in America.
Marco Rubio wasn’t supposed to be there. In May 2009, more than 15 months before the 2010 Republican primary in Florida, the GOP establishment endorsed Rubio’s opponent, then-Gov. Charlie Crist, believing him to be the “safe” choice as their party’s Senate nominee. Crist had statewide name recognition and a strong fundraising base, and so he was endorsed not only by the state party chairman, but also by the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. One poll showed Crist leading Rubio by 37 points.
Crist had every tangible advantage, but what he did not have was the support of the conservative grassroots, which were just then coalescing into the Tea Party. Crist had embraced President Obama’s $800 billion “stimulus” plan, and his endorsements from the GOP Establishment proved to be the kiss of death, rallying a nationwide movement behind Rubio. And so the young senator who introduced Mitt Romney on the closing night of the Republican National Convention was a living embodiment of the miraculous power of the American dream.
Rubio spoke of that dream, describing how as a nine-year-old boy in 1980 he watched the GOP convention with his grandfather, a refugee from Cuba’s communist dictatorship. “As a boy, I would sit on our porch and listen to his stories about history, politics and baseball while he puffed on one of his three daily Padron cigars,” Rubio told the thousands of Republican delegates gathered inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum. “I don’t recall everything we talked about, but the one thing I remember, is the one thing he wanted me to never forget. The dreams he had when he was young became impossible to achieve, but there was no limit to how far I could go, because I was an American.”
The crowd went positively wild with cheers and applause, and when they calmed down, Rubio continued: “For those of us who were born and raised in this country, it’s easy to forget how special America is. But my grandfather understood how different America is from the rest of the world, because he knew what life was like outside America.”
What Rubio was describing was a doctrine known to political philosophers as “American exceptionalism,” and the 41-year-old senator went on to describe its foundation in religious belief, that America is “special because we’ve been united not by a common race or ethnicity. We’re bound together by common values. That family is the most important institution in society. That almighty God is the source of all we have.… Our national motto is ‘In God we Trust,’ reminding us that faith in our Creator is the most important American value of all.”
Words can scarcely describe the enthusiasm that swept through the auditorium at that moment. In a skybox suite five floors above the stage, where I was a guest of the Republican State Leadership Committee, I found myself wiping tears from my eyes. They were neutral, objective tears, because I remembered when Marco Rubio was 37 points down in the polls, and here in Tampa I was watching an honest-to-God miracle. If it had been up to the party leadership, Charlie Crist would have been up there on stage. Instead, Crist is now disgraced and discredited, an unpopular loser who will speak at next week’s Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. . . .
Please read the whole thing. Man, I need to go back to bed.
- Aug. 24:Tampa, Here I Come
- Aug. 24: Todd Akin Rapes Missouri GOP
- Aug. 25: Memo From the National Affairs Desk: Fear, Loathing and Deficient Hygiene
- Aug. 25: Monday GOP Convention Schedule Postponed Due to Anticipated BlogBash Hangovers and Approaching Hurricane …
- Aug. 26: First Arrest of RNC Protesters Reported
- Aug. 26: Ybor City Scenes
- Aug. 27: Journalism as Masochism
- Aug. 27: Health Care Expert: ObamaCare Will Kill Estimated 40,000 Seniors Every Year
- Aug. 28: RNC DAY 1.5: Baseless Speculation UPDATE: Romney Officially Nominated as Republican Presidential Candidate
- Aug. 28: COMPLETE TEXT: ANN ROMNEY SPEECH TO GOP CONVENTION
- Aug. 28: COMPLETE TEXT: CHRIS CHRISTIE SPEECH TO GOP CONVENTION
- Aug. 29: RNC Rule 5 With Ann Romney and Other Smokin’ Hot Republican Party Babes
- Aug. 29: @DavidChalian Got Breitbarted UPDATE: Video Interview With ‘Hating Breitbart’ Director Andrew Marcus
- Aug. 29: COMPLETE TEXT: ROB PORTMAN’S SPEECH TO THE GOP CONVENTION
- Aug. 29: COMPLETE TEXT: PAUL RYAN’S SPEECH TO THE GOP CONVENTION
- Aug. 30: DNC Executive Director Begs for $3 Donations to Fight GOP ‘False Attack’
- Aug. 30: ‘No, Really. I Mean That.’
- Aug. 30: When It Comes to ‘Brazen Lies,’ Nobody Excels Joan Walsh
- Aug. 30: VIDEO: Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech That Inspired Democrat Media Panic
- Aug. 30: Gee, Chris Matthews Hates Paul Ryan
- Aug. 30: Pictures, or It Didn’t Happen
- Aug. 30: While You Wait for Mitt Romney, Say Hello to ‘The Scott Brown of Connecticut’
- Aug. 30: COMPLETE TEXT: MARCO RUBIO’S SPEECH TO THE GOP CONVENTION
- Aug. 30: COMPLETE TEXT: MITT ROMNEY’S SPEECH TO THE GOP CONVENTION