The National Shame of Major-Party Convention 'Security'

TAMPA – The single most shameful thing about major-party political conventions? As Peter Suderman pointed out this morning, it's that the same hard-bitten Americans that are serially invoked from the podium involuntarily pay more than $100 million for this week-long celebration of lawyer-millionaires who have engaged in the ultimate noble sacrifice of raising large sums of money so that they can lie to everybody in order to receive the privilege of forcing still other unwilling taxpayers to part with their own money for things they don't want to pay for.

The second most shameful thing?

This unworthy (but not non-newsworthy) spectacle, this family reunion of the political/journalistic/activist/lobbyist class that makes Washington, D.C. such a fun place to move from, is protected from the rabble by more security checkpoints with more firepower than you'd see 20 years ago crossing Yugoslavia by train. I am pretty sure that Jonah Goldberg and Jon Voight and Sheriff Joe Arpaio and David Brooks and Rick Santorum and Ana Marie Cox and my other dear, dear friends could survive an all-out assault by the entire assembled ranks of the Red Chinese Army on this Tampa bunker without having to so much as forgo a free barcalounger massage in the Google Cafe. I have lost count trying to keep up with the number of state, local, federal, and black-ops law enforcement agencies represented anywhere in downtown Tampa you have the misfortune to walk.

This isn't a complaint about inconvenience (which hasn't been at all bad), but rather a cry of WTF?

Is there any reason on God's green earth that we should spend so much money to give the illusion that my comrades-in-bullshit are so precious to the body politic that they require an East German politburo-style police protection, only with sunnier dispositions and better firepower?

And what of those non-credential-holding Americans who feel misused by the powers inside and want to register complaint? So far here they've amounted to a couple of straggly Ron Paul types, your odd Jesus freak, small groups of maybe five abortion/health care activists, an immigration reformer or two, a cheery Scientologist, and a homeless encampment called "Romneyville" far away from where I type. Usually at these things you have to run a gauntlet of angry, semi-coherent performance artists after escaping the political class's Green Zone; here you might find a quiet pro-immigration activist and a guy selling pins. I don't blame them one bit: They are ants against the Fortress, and the world's biggest can of Raid is on the other side. Plus, have you seen the August weather in Tampa?

Which leads to the third and final shameful thing, since Rule of Three and all that: We have simply gotten used to this; it's the new normal. Well, it shouldn't be.

Nearly three decades ago, Jim Jarmusch made a great film for a less-great but still-interesting reason: He wanted to portray America through the eyes of East Bloc immigrants in the gritty, black-and-white way that Hollywood tended to portray communist Europe to us Yanks. Well, my fellow American credential-holders, imagine yourselves not as privileged insiders participating in a noble democratic experiment, but rather as outsiders visiting a strange and foreign land. How would you describe this odd, lifeless, and gratuitously over-armed compound?

Having lived in a couple of countries plagued by parachuting American journos, I do not have any doubt about the phrasing. They would gaze upon these machine guns, these drug-sniffing dogs, these snipers on the rooftop, these X-ray machines, these bins filled with water bottles and umbrellas, and these Escape From New York-style outsiders scratching lamely on the chain link fences outside, and they would declare with all journalistic objectivity that this strange country is a goddamned police state.

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  • SIV||

    You should get an interview with the black-ops LEOs. Weigel would be just green with envy.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If Dan Rather getting gut punched didn't send this on a different trajectory, nothing will.

  • ||

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?

    (punches FoE)

  • kinnath||


  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You wouldn't be hitting me if I was Fist of Vengeance or Fury or Legend.

  • RBS||

    What about the North Star?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    What about it? Don't change the subject.

  • ||

    Yeah, but you're not, Etiquette.

    (punches FoE again)

  • ||

    Wait, the Occutards are naming a shanty town after a guy who has had nothing to do with state of the economy?

  • ant1sthenes||

    Well, he shut down some businesses. Bankers!

  • ||

    Americans . . . involuntarily pay more than $100 million for this week-long celebration of lawyer-millionaires who have engaged in the ultimate noble sacrifice of raising large sums of money so that they can lie to everybody in order to receive the privilege of forcing still other unwilling taxpayers to part with their own money for things they don't want to pay for.

    As a lawyer-thousandaire, I am outraged and would like the government to fund my week-long celebration of beer in Bamberg, Germany.

  • ||

    Sorry, I should've said "...would like American taxpayers to involuntarily fund my week-long celebration..."

  • RBS||

    Sure, we will send you to Bamberg. Have fun!

  • John||

    Bamberg is awesome. I love Germany

  • Pi Guy||

    I love beer

  • ||

    The more ridiculously over-hyped your protection detail is, the more important you feel. Of course the parasitic scum who gravitate to these positions want every symbol, every trapping of power they can squeeze from the taxpayer's dime.

  • John||

    The way boomers love tothumb suck over the Kennedy assassination you would think the media would want to lose a president every few years

  • The Heresiarch||

    Fuck it, I say. Why not just have the lictors out front parading before the imperator? The fasces would be a touch of honesty.

  • ||

    I agree. The whole "we represent the people" thing is a scam they use to shut the peasants up with.

  • NeonCat||

    The people who mis-run this country must at all costs be protected from the ordinary schmucks (like us) on whose behalf they valiantly serve, as well as any nefarious evil-doers lurking about.

    That's the great thing about serving The People. You can serve Them and treat the person in front of you any way you like.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Although Matt is right, it would be better if Rand Paul had said it.

  • wingnutx||

  • ||

    You have to be fucking kidding me.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Is this like an Onion story? Has to be.

  • John||

    Well he did kill Bin Ladin.

  • SugarFree||

    With his bare goddamn hands, no less.

  • John||

    Fuckin ah man. And won a peace prize too

  • wingnutx||

  • Christina||

    You obviously didn't read the whole post.

    “The President has in fact already received his Trident from the SEAL community,” said Carney. “He was honored to accept the insignia during a private ceremony in California, a week after his gutsy call where he singlehandedly took out bin Laden.”
  • Pro Libertate||

    Sweet black Jesus.

  • ||

    Had me going for a second.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Me, too. It wasn't until the end that I'm thinking, "This seems a bit much."

  • Killazontherun||

    One of the best pranks ever. No, the best was the Nobel Peace prize when they did not even let up, not even at the ceremony.

  • The Hammer||

    What is this? Is Duffelblog an unfunny Onion?

  • sailshonan||

    My BF is working security details for the RNC. Most of his fellow agents are guarding governors. Each governor has three cars-- one up front with two FL troopers, the governor's own rented vehicle with two of her own troopers plus her regular security detail, and a follow up car with two agents in it. My BF is probably gonna make $2000 in overtime this week. Now multiply that by six and that's how much the Feds are paying just for one of the security details of the pols coming here. My BF's friend is working on the Chris Christie detail and he says that Christie is the worst. He's out til 3 or 4 am, leaves the hotel at 8, and is rude and yells at everyone.

  • John||

    For a fucking yokal governor. You think anyone in Tampa gives a shit you are governor of bumfuck?

  • ||

    Wherez da PM linkz?

  • MJGreen||

    Grrrrrrrr arrggghhhh!! Fuck yeah! Preach it brother!!

    Let's break some rules!

    topples trash can


    We can order sushi, and not pay!


    Typical libraltarian terrorist appeaser. Why do you hate america?

  • Bradley Strider||

    Awesome piece. I enjoy how Matt's blog posts are getting continually angrier as time goes by.

  • LarryA||

    "All of this security is totally justified by the fact that Florida gives everyone licensez to carry concealed automatic high-capacity handguns!!!"

  • Azathoth!!||

    In other news, sun rises in east--film at 11.

    Hey Matt, will you recycle this article next week? 'Cos I gotta say, this is odd timing for an article complaining about the security for the convention(s). It kinda lays it all at the GOPs feet.

    Though I do find the paucity of protesters interesting. Because it's really starting to look like Barack's lost the screaming lefty idiot vote--and that's his base.


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