Doug Wead’s photo visit to the Republican National Convention
My first RNC was at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in 1964. I was eighteen years old. Barry Goldwater was the nominee. I talked my way into the lobby of the Mark Hopkins Hotel and drank Gold water out of a punch bowl. It was exciting. I shared the experience with Barry Goldwater, Jr. and his son backstage at the Ron Paul Rally in Tampa.
But nothing will ever compare to this 2012 convention. Let’s call it the “Brownshirt Convention.” The nominee, Mitt Romney, was apparently concerned lest there be a public demonstration. The downtown was like a concentration camp with barriers and fences keeping people in and others out. Armed guards outnumbered the people on the deserted streets.
The Brownshirts raced around Tampa in little golf cart vehicles while RNC delegates walked in the heat. No taxis were allowed inside the inner perimeter. Troops of Brownshirted Guards patrolled the deserted streets of Tampa
Herman Cain stuck on one side of the fence.
My taxi had to keep circling, trying to find a place where I could be dropped off. Then I would have to walk for ten blocks in Tampa – August heat to get to my hotel
In addition to the Brownshirts there were regular police which on most corners outnumbered civilians five to one.
Ron Paul signs were confiscated as soon as they were spotted. Not one was allowed on the floor of the RNC or on the streets of Tampa inside the perimeter. “If you do this again,” a policeman told a delegate who had opened a fan shaped sign, “You will be escorted from the floor and detained.”
The first day, fence barricades went up, one layer and then another, each with checkpoints. By the end their were dogs at each of the checkpoints.