Your Gonzo Guide to the Republican National Convention

As Republicans prepared to renominate Richard Nixon for president, gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson had a crank-fueled moment of clarity inside his Miami Beach hotel room.

"This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves," Thompson wrote in his classic Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72. "We are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable."

Within 24 months, after shredding the Constitution and carpet-bombing Cambodia to hell, Nixon sneaked out of the White House like the "drooling red-eyed beast" Thompson had known him to be all along.

Now, 40 years later, the Republican National Convention is returning to Florida. On August 30, Mitt Romney will don a sleek suit and flash his Vaseline smile to a sea of pale-skinned delegates in Tampa. He will compliment the city on hosting the $123 million four-day orgiastic event. And he will implore the crowd to obey the banners hung from the rafters: "Believe in America."

Outside the towering Tampa Bay Times Forum, meanwhile, ornery unbelievers will be confined like cattle to designated protest zones. There will be Black Bloc anarchists, Code Pink soccer moms dressed as vaginas, a poor people's camp called Romneyville, and tens of thousands of Ron Paul fanatics descending like libertarian locusts to devour whatever scraps their savior tosses them.

Barred by city officials from bringing masks, puppets, or tricycles, the malcontents will be surrounded by 4,000 heavily armed police — not to mention a city full of conservatives with concealed weapons and a distaste for godless liberals. More than 35,000 die-hard believers will jet into town for a week of GOP glitz, gluttony, and gun worship. They'll be joined by 15,000 headline-hunting journalists and another 15,000 protesters.

While the mainstream media sucks down speeches by Romney and his new budget boy toy, Paul Ryan, New Times is honoring Thompson's legacy by doing as he would have done in Tampa: dredging up the real, sordid story behind the convention.

It's not something you'll see on CNN. But screw Wolf Blitzer. We've got our own guides: pole dancers poised to suck rich Repub visitors dry, professional Sarah Palin porn impersonator Lisa Ann prepping for the performance of a lifetime, aging strip club owner Joe Redner fighting off cancer to flip right-wingers his middle finger one last time, and Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi returning to his home state to chronicle the madness.

"Florida has a lot going for it," Mandvi says. "Tampa is the birthplace of Hooters, for God's sake."

Make no mistake: The RNC's return to the Sunshine State is no fluke. For Romney, Ryan, and the rest of the party, Florida is the future.

Since Nixon's days, conservatives have transformed Florida into a hellish post-governmental wasteland. Here, super-PACs run wild through suburbs in foreclosure, people trust in only God or their Glock, and the poor are left to literally cannibalize one another on the nightly news. But, hey, there's no state income tax!

As in '72, Florida is the template for a right-wing takeover in 2012.


Americans have long known Florida as the tacky tropical paradise where grandparents go to die — a peninsula of endless sandy beaches and unlimited cottage cheese. Then came the 2000 election, and like a maggot-infested mango, the Sunshine State was revealed to be full of crap.

The backwardness goes way beyond blowing the election and ushering Dubya into office. Decades of conservative dominance in the state Capitol have made Florida into a dystopian test kitchen for Republicans' craziest ideas. Mass deregulation coupled with hacked education budgets has made Ponzi schemes the state's biggest industry. More than a million residents are packing heat. And murder essentially is legal, thanks to the Stand Your Ground law.

But all the evidence you need of Florida's dysfunction comes from a quick study of the state's fearless leaders — the ones America will meet via news broadcasts from Tampa.

Let's start at the top: At the head of the crazy parade is Governor Rick Scott. His poll numbers read like a thermometer in Reykjavík. For good reason. With his pale, shaven head and unblinking eyes, he looks — and governs — like Lord Voldemort.

Scott's shadiness preceded his election by decades. As a young lawyer in Texas, he turned a $125,000 investment in two hospitals into a massive healthcare empire. Then the feds came sniffing around. They accused Scott's company — Columbia/HCA — of billing Medicare and Medicaid for bogus lab tests and charging the government for luxuries such as Kentucky Derby tickets. When the investigation went public in 1997, Columbia/HCA's board booted Scott, but not before handing him $10 million in cash and $300 million worth of stock. Three years later, the company pleaded guilty to 14 corporate felonies and paid the government a record $1.7 billion in fees.

You'd think the stink from the largest Medicare fraud case in history would stick to Scott, but in 2010, he ran for governor, dropping more than $75 million of his fortune to recast himself — like Romney — as an entrepreneur. He won by 1 percent over Democrat Alex Sink (a candidate so bland she's best remembered today as the great-granddaughter of a circus-performing Siamese twin).

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19 comments
jesuschristodenogale
jesuschristodenogale

Owebama is a true racist. Why does the US President hate the advancement of the standard of living for Mexico’s poor? Barrack Hussein Obama; how dare you deprive Mexico these young educated and motivated people? These US educated and motivated illegal alien occupiers (brought to the US as babies) now in the US are the only hope for Mexico and you want to keep them here in the US. They could start businesses, create jobs, and improve the standard of living for the poor people of Mexico. Yet you want to be selfish and deprive Mexico of these talented youth who could make life better for all the people of Mexico. SHAME ON YOU! Have you no compassion for the poor now living in Mexico?  Gustavo Arellano, Steve Gallardo, Nicky Diaz Santillan, and La Raza need to insist that all these young educated and talented Mexicans be sent back to Mexico to help improve the standard of living for the poor Mexicans. Are you with us for the good of Mexico and its people?

Geenius
Geenius

HILARIOUS!!!,,What a pathetic 'piece of shyt' this stream of pathological lies is. Absolutely fascinating. There are 'the reasons' and 'the REAL reasons'  So why do people as bitter and resentful as this author and this joke paper, lie with this much pride and conviction to deceive? it's always over the 'definition of what is right and what is wrong'. Too bad their false conclusions and lying minds make them so pathetically mentally ill.  The mind that habitually lies is not sound and is diseased. Frustrated, desperate, always trying to force fit lies into a reality that just won't allow that square peg lie into the round hole of truth. They can't even go 24 hours without lying to themselves and others nor recognize truth anymore.

matlock
matlock

The New Times has turned into a worthless left wing political rag. Unless you are a liberal nut or in the pro illegal alien crowd there is no use for this fish wrap. I do pick up a copy from time to time when I need to light a fire.

bgray59
bgray59

Fun piece.  Looking forward to the "Gonzo  Guide" to the democratic convention.  Maybe you can show the kid with his lip torn off that Michelle's health care policy denied treatment to.

Thane.Eichenauer
Thane.Eichenauer

"And murder essentially is legal, thanks to the Stand Your Ground law."

 

Y'all are completely deluded and obviously think that if you repeat your claim often enough that someone will believe it.  

coyote_slim
coyote_slim

Wow and, will the Rethugs give Benny 'walking on the Sea of Galilee' Quayle some prime time? I mean, he bagged a bottle of baptismal Galilee for his urchin.

xinruaa11
xinruaa11

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fairymagic13
fairymagic13

Get em Issac - they're Godless Republicants and the LORD needs his vengence for the obstructionism they have wrought upon the chosen people, citizens of the United States! 

Robert
Robert

I've always been a big fan of Hunter Thompson, and I've always hated it when people try to imitate him.    

fairymagic13
fairymagic13

The corruption in the Republicant party is unbelievable.  I remember before the Iraq war stated, I was playing with my band at an expensive restaurant and some Republican corporate type was there with a bevy of girls-of-the-night and some business friends.  He was celebrating because he had already lined up a number of military contracts to support the war in Iraq - this was 2 months before the war started.  He said that he would be making millions on the war for basically doing nothing.  Iraq was a complete welfare move for military industrial types.   There was no objective to that war except making military contractors wealthy so that they would support Bush in his second run for the Presidency. 

 

They are a disgusting group of backward talking assholes! 

 

Artfan
Artfan

Ryan Sealock's illustrations for this story are delightful!

suewallick74
suewallick74

This article makes no sense.  IT'S ABOUT JOBS AND THE ECONOMY STUPID.  He's living in the past.  Our future is bleak.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

wow.....

 

Well stated

Tommy_Collins
Tommy_Collins

 @matlockIf you use the paper as fish wrap or to light a fire then it certainly does have worth and you've conflicted yourself. Not to mention that you must enjoy the articles or you wouldn't bother posting in response to one. Yojo.

 

saltywench
saltywench

 @coyote_slim His Mommy has a call in right now to make sure her baby gets the proper face time.

Tommy_Collins
Tommy_Collins

 @coyote_slimAs of August 29th he will no longer be an elected official... at the end of his current term in January.

 

restitutiontouscitizensfirst
restitutiontouscitizensfirst

 @suewallick74 aMEN TO THAT!  I don't think this site allows posting links - make google your friend and let your fingers do the walking . . . . Real Simple Math - Unemployment - they'll walk you through the real simple math to see that our true unemployment rate is 49%!

 
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