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RNC Postmortem: Republicans head home after last day of convention in Tampa, Florida

Yesterday was the final day of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Here are a few parting thoughts on the convention from The Seattle Times‘ Jim Brunner, The Stranger‘s Paul Constant, and other journalists who were in town covering the convention from a national perspective.

Paul Constant has an essay in The Stranger summarizing his time in Tampa, called Stuck in a Room with Mitt Romney. It’s an extremely well-written piece which gives a feel for what Tampa was like during the RNC. Constant doesn’t just describe the cityscape and the scene inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum – he bluntly describes the mood and freely shares his impressions of the delegates themselves. Reading it, I almost felt like I was there (and glad I wasn’t).

Here’s an excerpt:

All the talk about patriotism, about supporting the troops, is just lip service. This is the most unpatriotic crowd I have ever been a part of. What they are against is community. Every sentence is devoid of empathy. Every finger-wag is aimed directly at an American who can’t afford health insurance, who hasn’t had a raise on their minimum-wage job in four years. Even as they rail against a statement that the president never really made, they are talking about tearing America down and leaving something meaner and greedier in its place. They’re radicals—radicals who’ve gone over the edge and are trying to make their radicalism mainstream.

Yikes. If Paul is going to Charlotte next week to cover the Democratic National Convention, I hope the Democrats can show him a better time.

The Tampa Bay Times has a whole set of postmortem pieces in today’s paper (and online). Stephanie Hayes has a recap of Meghan McCain’s birthday party for her dad, columnist Sue Carlton asked if the people of Tampa could have their city back, and Eric Deggans reflected on how social media made the 2012 RNC different from past conventions. The paper also took the trouble to ask departing delegates from other states what they thought of the Bay Area, and concluded that Tampa had received mixed reviews.

Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner tweeted last night that Republicans didn’t make use of all of the decorations ordered for the convention. He posted a picture on Twitter showing thousands of balloons still in the rafters. Brunner has yet to file a postmortem-style piece on the convention for the Seattle Times, but if and when he does, I’ll update this post with a link (or another editor will).

Politico’s Ken Vogel managed to secure some time with right-wing billionaire David Koch and found out that Koch is (gasp) for marriage equality – as is Clint Eastwood, who stole the show last night during primetime with his bizarre stunt in which he pretended to have a conversation with an imaginary President Obama, portrayed by a chair. Koch told Vogel “I believe in gay marriage” and also suggested he wouldn’t be opposed to cuts in the defense budget, unlike Mitt Romney, who has indicated he doesn’t want to reduce military expenditures by one penny.