Political Asylum — August 30, 2012, 9:41 am

In Search of the RNC Dissenters

At first I thought the quote of the day had to go to John Boehner, who explained to a gathering of Republicans at breakfast the controversy of his name: “People have trouble with my name. Is it Bainer? Bonner? Boner? . . . At least it’s not Weiner!” But probably it should go to Jim Bunning, the former senator from Kentucky who, when asked if he missed Capitol Hill and the current political scene, reached for a nearby metaphor and said, “Yeah, I miss it. I miss it like cancer of the rectum.”

I continued, along with Kevin, to search for the massive turnout of protesters that were supposed to explain the overwhelming projection of force and security here. Last night, just before the main speeches began, we wandered out beyond the arena to a lot beside a factory. There, behind an iron fence, is the protesters’ pen. About two dozen people inside were holding up signs protesting that there wasn’t enough discussion of the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt. A Ron Paulite pressed his sign against the steel mesh, leaning into it, exhausted.

It’s obvious that protesting is a major annoyance for both parties, since the whole idea of the convention is to script every precious moment for television. Although, from what I hear, very little of the action in Tampa is landing on any television outside PBS and ABC. The cables are surely covering it, but it’s not clear just who is receiving this story line aside from media junkies, true believers, and the opposition.

Some protesters are permitted outside the official protest corral. The RonPaulites can be seen in clumps here and there, shouting their esoteric chants. “End the Fed! End the Fed!” (Clearly an anti-Latino riff—I kid.) We passed a group of enraged Christians who were screaming that Mormonism was not a true Christian faith and that Mitt would be just as big a disappointment as Obama. They held up big signs about hell and homosexuals, and might have been confused with the Fred Phelps crew nearby, shrieking their own anally obsessed messages over by the tent hosting the Gingrich documentary. But it was one particular anti-Mormon whack who got everybody’s attention. The guy had a bullhorn and was bawling about how Mitt presumed he will become a God and would inherit a universe and have multiple wives and convert all the dead to his creed.

“Weird,” Kevin noted as we walked by. “Everything he’s saying is theologically accurate.”

Single Page

More from Jack Hitt:

Political Asylum November 6, 2012, 2:01 pm

The Electoral Battle Between Corporationism and Empiricism

Obama’s data-driven approach may decide today’s race—and determine the future of the G.O.P.

Political Asylum September 25, 2012, 3:18 pm

Wall Street Places Its Election Bets

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada



September 2014

Israel and Palestine

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Washington Is Burning

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On Free Will

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

They Were Awake

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content


Arab artists take up — and look past — regional politics
“When everyday life regularly throws up images of terror and drama and the technological sublime, how can a photographer compete?”
“Qalandia 2087, 2009,” by Wafa Hourani
“There was torture by the previous regime and by the current Iraqi regime,” Dr. Amin said. “Torture by our Kurdish government, torture by Syrians, torture by the U.S.”
Visiting His Own Grave © Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
The Tale of the Tape·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Heroin isn’t the weakness Art Pepper submits to; it’s the passion he revels in.”
Photograph (detail) © Laurie Pepper
The Soft-Kill Solution·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Policymakers, recognizing the growing influence of civil disobedience and riots on the direction of the nation, had already begun turning to science for a response."
Illustration by Richard Mia
New Books
New Books·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Almond insists that watching football does more than feed an appetite for violence. It’s a kind of modern-day human sacrifice, and it makes us more likely to go to war.”
Photograph by Harold Edgerton

Chance that a movie script copyrighted in the U.S. before 1925 was written by a woman:

1 in 2

Engineers funded by the United States military were working on electrical brain implants that will enable the creation of remote-controlled sharks.

Malaysian police were seeking fifteen people who appeared in an online video of the Malaysia-International Nude Sports Games 2014 Extravaganza, and Spanish police fined six Swiss tourists conducting an orgy in the back of a moving van for not wearing their seatbelts.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!


In Praise of Idleness


I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today