Inside the Big Tent on Sunday, the theme was expectations — for the media's performance, for individual accountability, for the political future of a certain former governor. Excerpts from the best of the blog:
Some of us ARE here for A very good reason
Journalism professor and media critic Jeff Jarvis aimed a series of strident questions at the media covering the convention:
• Why are you there?
• What will we learn from you?
• What actual reporting can you possibly do that delivers anything of value more than the infomercial — light on the info, heavy on the 'mercial — that the conventions have become?
• Would you be better off back at home covering voters and their issues?
• Can we in the strapped news business afford this luxury?
I'd say those are fair questions. I can't answer for the industry in its entirety. I can't even answer for my own paper. But I'll say what I think. I think the Tampa Bay Times does important work. I think PolitiFact does important work. I think there are too many stories (see the rebuke of media by Eric Deggans on his blog, the Feed) that are simplistic and lazy.
But I also think there are many that aren't (see Adam Smith's piece today on why Florida matters). I think being here and being back home "covering voters and their issues" shouldn't be an either-or thing. I think the answer is not to stay away. I think the answer is to come and work better and harder and smarter.
He swings hard
The Tampa Bay Rays' Luke Scott has super strong opinions:
Obamacare, he says, "needs to be taken and thrown into muriatic acid and just absolutely disintegrated and never spoken of again. We can't afford it. It's not right. It's the unaccountability thing, where people can smoke cigarettes and be lazy and be unhealthy, and then you and I have to pay for their health care bills. No, I'm sorry, it shouldn't work that way.
The 'not so sunny' belt
From Adam Nagourney's piece in Sunday morning's New York Times:
"There is a soaring rate of poverty in these new suburban regions," said Lisa McGirr, a history professor at Harvard. "I think it's bound to have a political impact and to transform the ability of the Republican Party to appeal to suburbanites with private, individualistic solutions."
The last time the Republican National Convention happened in Florida was in 1972, at the start of the country's shift from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt. I wrote about this in my recent story on local host committee chair Al Austin and Tampa. Politics went right. People moved south. Now it's 40 years later. Is this the beginning of a similarly profound national rejiggering going the other way? Florida's where the future happens first.
Oops, he did it again
Republican Party leaders seemed unsurprised by the timing of former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's (formerly of the GOP, now independent) endorsement of President Barack Obama.
Republican Party of Florida chairman Lenny Curry: "Today we have seen a repugnant display from a self-centered, career politician. While the people of Florida, and thousands of visitors who've traveled here, are facing an emergency, Charlie Crist has demonstrated, yet again, that his political ambition will always come first."