And so one feeder band leads to another
. We arrived in Tampa around 4 p.m. and settled into my very gracious Tampa-dwelling cousin’s house—thanks, Jordan!—and proceded to get all gussied up for tonight’s big event, Nuestra Noche, a gathering of every Hispanic Republican that could be rounded up within 20 miles, headlined by Jeb! and Marco Rubio. But first, we stopped off at a place called Stump’s Supper Club—right next to the MSNBC mobile studio, where we imagined we’d catch a whiff of Chris Matthews hair, or Joe Scarborough’s taint—where Chris Cillizza, our pretend boyfriend from the Washington Post, was hosting a political jerk-off quizzo called Politics & Pints. And only half of it was politics. The rest of it was bullshit.
And Holy Jesus Christ, did we kick ass. By the end of the fourth round, thanks (just a little) to Billy’s trusty iPhone—wait, that’s cheating?—we were in FIRST PLACE. As in, ahead of Team NBC (suck it, Chuck Todd). And the guys from the Daily Telegraph, in London. And the team with Joe Trippi. Because we know stuff like the name of the teenage vixen in Lolita (Dolores). And the fifth taste humans sense, after sweet, sour, bitter and salty (umami). And the main ingredient in bourbon (corn). And the last time Wisconsin voted for a Republican in a presidential election (1984).
But then, Billy's iPhone died. And more importantly, we had to name second- and third-tier presidential candidates from years prior—have you ever heard of Lee L. Mercer Jr.?—based on a photo lineup of high school yearbook-style mugshots. The goddamn Brits proved good at that. We did not, and plummeted to fourth place, where we won nothing. (The first-place winners won Kindle Fires.)
That’s not important. What is important is that Billy got to meet his journo-crush, Time magazine’s Joel Stein, who was fawning all over us when we were winning (and then disappeared when we weren’t).
Afterward, feeling a bit full of ourselves and being an hour late for the 8 p.m. start time, we took a cab to the Cuban Club in Ybor City, for Nuestra Noche, the unrivaled big-shit event of the night. The cabbie, in fact, told us that the fire marshall had been called out and shut the party down because it was overcrowded. Peter Schorsch of SaintPetersblog tweeted: “By all accounts, the go-to party of the
#2012RNC—Nuestra Noche—is a complete clusterf*ck.”
And indeed, he was right. By the time we pulled up, the line of dilapidated ball gowns and sweaty suits stretched around the the block, the ugliest block you’d ever seen, because this is Tampa. While we had tickets, there was precisely no way we were waiting in that hot mess of a line for an hour or two. Instead, we headed down the street to New World Brewery, where there happened to be a lively political conversation ongoing—and a hot guy for Billy to stare at.
Anyway, it wasn’t a wash of a night, but rather a bizarre cleansing of Tampa proportions. At New World, we watched bar owners argue with patrons about healthcare and how you’re awful for not taking care of yourself; we made friends with old ladies in hats; we witnessed a debate between a giant, blow-up Mitt Romney and a homeless guy going on about dental care; we talked to anyone we could talk to. We lived.
We'll do more tomorrow, but right now, Billy is sleeping with Chris Cillizza, Joel Stein and some guy named Ryan in his head. That will do for now.
BUT WE ALMOST WON!