“Sin, and Facebook fame, is only six feet away”

Carl Hiaasen is at his piquant best, in the Miami Herald, celebrating the impact of thousands of GOP types upstate at Tampa — and the strip-club capital of America‘s near-miss with Storm/Hurricane Isaac:

Hillsborough County actually has a law that strippers must keep a six-foot distance from patrons, but wanton groping is bound to occur as delegates celebrate the wild and crazy nomination of Mitt Romney.

Phew, Malcolm’s headline explained! The piece is, as usual with Hiaasen, as good a thrill-ride as you’ll get inside 780 words. It mainly concerns itself with the fall-out from Todd Akin:

 one of those self-righteous meddlers who oppose abortion even in cases of rape and incest, a view supported by only 17 percent of Americans (according the latest Washington Post poll) but championed by right-wing Christians.

In fact, it’s part of the GOP platform that will be presented to delegates.

Then, before the inevitable descent into boneheaded abuse, there’s the readers’ comments, helpfully hinting:

I hear Joe Redner, owner of the Mons Venus Club on North Dale Mabry in Tampa, will be running Limo Service between his Dance Club and the Convention Center for the convenience of the Family Value Religous Delegates.

and

Tampa’s premier gay bath house – Ybor Resort & Spa- has waived the entrance fee for Republican delegates, offering yet another potential quagmire for the morally challenged faithful.

The Sunshine State is definitely a foreign country: they do things differently there. But, for the truly God-fearing, it must be significant that, in the week of the Republican Convention, Florida is about to get its first major storm-battering since 2005. After all, they have been warned by one who should know:

 Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann told Floridians Sunday that Hurricane Irene and the earthquake felt along much of the East Coast last week were messages from God to warn “politicians” to start heeding divine guidance, which she suggested is being channeled through small government conservatives.

“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?'” Bachmann, a third-term Minnesota representative, told a crowd in Sarasota …

When this exegesis fell flat, was ridiculed widely, and only then, Mrs Bachmann’s acolytes revealed it was all a “joke”. The amusement should not have stopped there. Mrs Bachmann was accompanied on that occasion by:

former Clearwater resident Peter Waldron, her faith outreach coordinator who ran a basketball program for at-risk youth in Tampa Bay until government funding dried up amid questions about its effectiveness. Waldron, who once spent 37 days in a Ugandan jail after being arrested with assault weapons and accused of terrorist activists — charges were dropped — on Sunday accompanied her to Idlewild Baptist Church near Tampa.

Even a Hiaasen fiction (and Malcolm has ’em all) barely scratches the surface of the ironies and lunacies that constitute reality in the Great State of Florida.

________________________________________

All in Florida is not hopelessly lost. Charlie Crist, who was between 2007 and 2011 the 44th republican governor of Florida, following Jeb Bush, has endorsed Obama:

As Republicans gather in Tampa to nominate Mitt Romney, Americans can expect to hear tales of how President Obama has failed to work with their party or turn the economy around.

But an element of their party has pitched so far to the extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors and students that they’ve proven incapable of governing for the people. Look no further than the inclusion of the Akin amendment in the Republican Party platform, which bans abortion, even for rape victims.

The truth is that the party has failed to demonstrate the kind of leadership or seriousness voters deserve.

Pundits looking to reduce something as big as a statewide election to a single photograph have blamed the result of my 2010 campaign for U.S. Senate on my greeting of President Obama. I didn’t stand with our president because of what it could mean politically; I did it because uniting to recover from the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes was more important than party affiliation. I stood with our nation’s leader because it was right for my state.

President Obama has a strong record of doing what is best for America and Florida, and he built it by spending more time worrying about what his decisions would mean for the people than for his political fortunes. That’s what makes him the right leader for our times, and that’s why I’m proud to stand with him today.

To the true believer, this proves Crist is a

“crass political opportunist.”

Just when hope is springing eternal that a whiff of liberal Republicanism lurked in those parts, the truly-bizarre Florida mindset re-emerges with further Bachmann-esque conflations from the shaman, Florida GOP Chairman Lenny Curry:

Despite the threat Florida is facing from a severe storm, Charlie Crist has demonstrated, yet again, that his political ambition will always come before the needs of Floridians.

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Filed under Carl Hiaasen, fiction, foot and mouth disease, Miami Herald, US Elections, US politics, weather

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