As usual, there are scattered reports of bad behavior among delegates and other attendees at the GOP convention. Conventions are famous – historically moreso than in the modern context – for their unruliness. Animated shouting matches, occasional physical violence, and the kind of quasi-fascist screaming/chanting/groupthink/mob mentality that is disturbing to watch on a very visceral level; all of this is par for the course.

Here is a very important thing to keep in mind when attempting to make sense of the bursts of ugliness that occur throughout the conventions: A lot of the people you are watching are drunk. Really, really drunk.

I have had the opportunity to witness two conventions up close – one from each party – and to describe it as Adult Spring Break would almost be an understatement. The level of drunkenness and the extent of the partying that these often elderly people engaged in for a week was shocking, even for someone who has attended or worked at three Big Ten universities and one in the SEC. Not only do they drink like they have John Bonham's liver stashed in their hotel suite, but they do it around the clock. I'd wager that by the time the evening speechifying begins a substantial portion of the attendees are tipsy or worse. And "tipsy" seems to be the appropriate description for those who are at least trying to behave. Some of the others are staggering around fully shit-housed by noon.

There are exceptions, of course. Some of the super church-y attendees are unlikely to partake, for example. But when you're watching at home and wondering why they're chanting like they're at a football game, blurting out really racist things in the presence of the media, or simply looking a little red-faced and weird in general, keep in mind what no news commentator bothers to point out despite the fact that it is useful information: they're probably drunk. New Year's Eve drunk in some cases. Irish Wedding drunk. 21st Birthday drunk. Oops-I-Crapped-My-Pants drunk. Don't let the pageantry and the old age of the participants fool you; this thing is little more than a massive, highly choreographed commercial taking place during a week long cocktail party. Those new items about the bars and strip clubs in Tampa cashing in on the convention might be amusing but they are also true.

29 thoughts on “USEFUL INFORMATION”

  • Should have known but didn't realize. This explains a lot… like, how they could listen to that shit (lies, hate, self-aggrandizement, what-the-fuck) and react like smitten adolescents. Or, the "feed the animals" crack.

  • "Oops-I-Crapped-My-Pants drunk?"
    Uhhh…no, never.
    Oops-I-Peed-My-Pants drunk?
    Twice. Both times, tequila.

  • Middle Seaman says:

    Were we supposed to expect sobriety? After all, our common religion has two gods: booze and guns. Do they carry?

  • What's concerning to me about the "feed the animals" crack is not that it was done, but that these people felt comfortable enough in that environment to do that in the first place.

  • @tbert: And Ed just explained WHY they felt comfortable enough to do it. Even without a drink, those "workers" (?) probably soaked up the collective attitude and felt loose enough to express the racist bile.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    If these conventions are their version of Spring Break, I sure as hell hope the Republicans never have a 'Wet T-shirt Contest!"

    Do they even make t-shirts long enough to reach below the knees?

  • I've only been literally staggering drunk once – and that was the time I tried to drink with the RAF.

    Those guys are crazy.

  • A lot of the confusion comes from the old habit of conflating the RNC leadership with the Christian right.

    They're not the same people.

    The meanest thing I can say about the Christian right is that, with a very few exceptions, they've never shown up for one of these blowouts, scratched their heads and said, "How long have we been surrounded by these debauched, patronizing, Social Darwinist frat boys?"

  • I remember watching these conventions when I was a kid. I knew all those adults were blotto and that's why they were behaving like utter idiots. It's worth noting that I grew up in a teetotaling household and never had experienced actual drunk adults in my presence.

    But….I am a strong believer in the idea that if you like to drink a lot, you should probably be able to hold your liquor in public. If you cannot, then don't drink so much. Because you're likely to make an ass of yourself.

  • mel in oregon says:

    the first thing most non-rich young adults learn if they have much sense is how egotistical, self-centered & condescending all people that have any control over your lives are. whether it's a lieutenant in the military, your corporate executive at your job or some othe asshole, they run to a type. political people are the worst because they are so hypocritical, & they are always full of shit. aging has no effect on these type people, because they never are forced to learn from experience.

  • Halloween Jack says:

    I don't blame them. At least with the Dem convention, they have someone that they sort of like, or at least can grudgingly admire for having decent poll numbers despite the chronically shitty economy. The GOP has the embarrassment of a candidate who did nothing more remarkable than hang grimly on while his various challengers crashed and burned in succession, and now many of those challengers' former supporters have to pretend to like the guy (except for the Pautroons, who despite generally being as batshit crazy as their guy, at least had the dignity to mostly leave after the sorry excuse for a tribute). Mitt managed the incredible feat of being in a worse position in a recession than the guy nominally in charge–that is, the guy who made a living tearing apart companies, ripping out the choice bits and leaving the carcasses to rot in the sun–and all the spinning of "We Built This" can't really hide that. No wonder they're drunk; I'm surprised that they don't need to be wheeled into the hall every day in wheelbarrows.

  • Maybe a little moderation would be in order here at G&T comments. Your gang gets to do this next week.

    I know the usual suspects will cover for the Ds as best they can, but with the intertubes and Faux News its a different ballgame.

    Good Luck!


  • Oh. That explains a lot. Thanks Ed!

    I'd assumed political convention attendees follow the same rules as other grown ups at professional conferences: take it easy at the official cocktail mixers, then go debauch themselves offsite later. I'd expected drunk hoards roaming the streets of Tampa (& Charlotte) , but I'm genuinely a little surprised people get shithammered en masse at the convention itself, because look what happens. Jeez.

  • oooooh, BB, you're gonna get us good. the difference is the Dem party isn't full of racist, homophobic, Randroid psychopaths that show their true colors when blotto. so, um, good luck with that.

  • Me too, Radical Scientist! Party conferences everywhere are awash with booze but it's generally considered a bit infra dig to be shitfaced during the actual business.

    @Both Sides – The Colon Blow website entertained me fulsomely over breakfast. Cheers.

  • "A lot of the people you are watching are drunk. Really, really drunk."

    Nonsense, Ed! Getting drunk is for YOU PEOPLE! They've just enjoyed a few cocktails.

  • planb247 and major kong

    I am not threatening…and nothing about fair….give it a rest.

    Do y'all honestly think that drunken, high, wasted Ds don't have the power to embarrass?

    Or is it anything goes and and all is forgiven because they are 'correct' on all their positions political and moral?


  • @bb:

    The Democratic Party is filled with spineless hacks, includes plenty of Weiners, and isn't My Team.

    But maybe all that namby-pamby sissy-wissy nanny-state Political Correctness might shame some of them into not acting like brazen jackasses.

    It is, after all, a less antisocial ideology than TAAAX CUUUTS!

  • Whilst the red faced, loud, obnoxious, teetering, laying in a pool of your own vomit in the gutter is understandable and excusable.

    The other behaviour is not. The fact someone felt the peanuts thing would be acceptable public behaviour, drunk or not, says something both about the individual and the group.

    I'm surprised that in the age of tv and the 24hr news cycle both parties would allow for open ended drinking at the convention. Though to have to listen to the amount of drivel at one of these things, I'd probably need to pretty well trollied myself.

  • @bb

    I don't really love the Dems, but I'll vote for the party that just wants to kick me in the nuts versus the one that wants to slit my throat and grind my body up for dog food.

  • lol, the evil that is Republicanism/Blue Dogs/traitors isn't just confined to the Republicans. Democrats have it too. watching Obama sell out Blacks, Women, Gays, Immigrants and the rest of the NON white males/Republicans is not a spectacle i have to watch on TV.

    watching Obama get rolled over/ignored by his former supporters/Wall St. in favor of Rmoney is more than enough payback after watching Obama's move to endorse Reaganism.

    it really is sad when the Greed level means Romney is a better "thief". Obama has thrown so many people under the bus so many times, i wonder who(non blacks that is) really would vote for him, rather than against Romney.

    Here in the Red States, Obama is the perfect foil for the Angry white men.
    Perfect focus of hate and all that is wrong with America. it is most interesting/scary to watch the hate fly from the Whites. sad and scary if you don't happen to be one of them, being a white male, i can listen to the truth without being noticed/being careful to keep quiet though. Nowadays, there is no reason for whites to pretend anymore. the right to be hatefilled has somehow been sanctified. guess all these years of spewing hate from the Right/(limbaugh, oreilly, Fox, msnbc, cnn, the whole lot) has worn down all the "dignified" old ways of respectful "culture" where it wasn't okay to hate blacks and others out right.

    the white southerners were always explicitly told to be "careful" in the way they attacked blacks and other non whites.. now, it seems to be "open season" if you are not white. that is really strange to see living in the South, nowadays.

    always that snide remark, but never outright hostility like there is toda. and that is frightening and totally different from the past.

    so the Right must be awfully happy they have a "Target" and i can hardly wait to see how many are killed after Obama gets re elected. Think there are a lot of shootings now!, just wait till after the election. Guns, God and the Right. What a field day for the hate mongers.

  • Oh, it's just good ole "business" drunk. Totally different than drunk drunk.

    Also, looking forward to witnessing the Convention drunkeness first-hand in Charlotte next week.

  • Yep, the real problem with these salt of the earth conservative folk is that they are amateur drinkers. Professional drinkers retain a lot of their dignity – sort of looking like ships under full sail – you wonder how they move that smoothly until they dip dangerously close to the sea (or floor in this case). Pro drinkers have some form of governor on their mouths – those that don't have suffered many a broken face bone from lipping off in bars and usually end up drinking alone at home.

    Amateurs just get hammered and say all manner of things – the governor is in full of position. I do agree with Radical Scientists – professional convention goers do not get hammered before 5 but they do smell like hell the next morning, even after a shower and mouthwash. The ketones leaking from the skin don't lie so the floor of the RNC must really stink.

  • "Professional drinkers retain a lot of their dignity…"

    I know this is uber late in the thread and almost no one will read it, but my point has been made about the Ds potential to embarrass. We have a Dem conventioneer who has threatened Mittens life in public.

    'A spokesman for the Secret Service said the agency is “aware” of the video that featured a Democratic National Convention delegate saying she would like to “kill” Mitt Romney.'

    How sober do you reckon she was? She seemed like a drunk old lady to me. She was bobbing and weaving while she talked to the interviewer.


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