Things So Far

Tampa is moist. Moist like a Louisiana dog kennel with the windows closed. Everywhere you go people are waiting for something to happen, like anxious embassy staff hoping a helicopter will arrive soon to take them home. The mood isn’t nearly so dire however. People aren’t angry so much as impatient. The fizzle of hurricane Isaac — at least in Tampa — has left lots of people with little to do and even more journalists with nothing to write, talk, or tweet about. Personally, I’m on a quest to find all of these racist Republicans everyone at MSNBC keeps saying dominate the party. I thought I saw a Klansman, but it turned just to be someone with a totebag on their head to fight the rain.

When you talk to delegates and other GOP activist types, the mood tends toward cautious optimism about November. Some are more cautious and some are more optimistic. And in fairness a handful are full-blown ecstatic. But you definitely hear “pretty good” or words to that effect a lot. Romney’s chances are “pretty good.” Things look “pretty good.” I feel “pretty good.” Some of that reticence will doubtlessly melt away when the rhetorical red meat buffet finally opens up tomorrow night. An impatient desire to get this thing going (be it the convention, the party, the victory dancing) seems to inhabit every conversation.

Everyone — and I really mean everyone — is far less equivocal when it comes to Paul Ryan. I know there are skeptics who think Ryan might hurt the ticket with this or that constituency, but when it comes to the constituency of the dedicated party faithful, Ryan is a source of tremendous excitement and enthusiasm. He is a source of reassurance that Romney actually has something bigger in mind than simply being president. He wants to do things.

All of this is of course anecdotal. I’m sure others are having a different experiences and impressions. The only point where I know I am speaking for everyone is on the issue of the moistness.

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