By Charles Cullen
My experience at the RNC Convention has lead me to a few unshakable beliefs. First, whomever decided to have the convention at the Tampa convention center was making a purely political calculation (the Republicans want to win Florida) without any consideration for human life or reporter sanity. The whole thing was a horror show of newly blocked-off roads, cone mazes and rightly short-tempered law enforcement. I saw more crazy driving in Tampa in those few days than I did in the last half-decade. I almost hit a police-woman because her partner yelled at me to drive.
Second, someone really should have appealed to the Ron Paul folks -- if they did so at all -- more. The Ron Paul Nation howled at the party speakers as they changed the convention rules, staged walkouts, and generally did whatever they could to be disruptive all the way up to the final night. Then, it seemed, they were content to let Clint Eastwood carry on a bizarre conversation with an empty chair; overshadowing a perfectly serviceable and unusually gaffe-free speech from Romney.
Third, this election is absolutely vital for the Democrats and the country as a whole. If Romney wins, the absolute fringe of the Republican party will see it as a vindication of their dishonest strategy and upside down morality. As long as we operate under a basically two party system, we need the other side of the aisle, the Republicans to at least be sane. And sanity is something the Tea Party (etc.) has avoided like the plague. I didn't recognize it before but the Tea Party attitude was born under Bush. And it has now become organized and politically diverse in way that one could hardly have imagined. We, as a party, have to acknowledge that Obama's policies are more in line with what a moderate Republican of yore than with liberal Democrats. Liberal Democrats occupying high offices are few and far between. More likely, the true liberals are working behind the scenes; as organizers, politicos, and so on. It's the best they can do. They survey the political landscape, and see what I see: a nation that has been dragged so far to the right that moderates are called liberals, and extremists are called innovators.