When I arrived in the Tampa airport on Saturday afternoon, I recognized an RNC delegate on my flight from Atlanta. She was sporting an Uncle Sam hat, but other than that and the signs welcoming RNC delegates and announcements about a Dixieland band playing in the airport, the atmosphere was not welcoming to Republicans.
The Democratic National Committee’s truck with the anti-Romney billboard was making a loop around the airport. I caught sight of it as I waited for my shuttle to my friend’s house. (I was instructed to not stand on the “dirty sidewalk” but wait in the “nice waiting area”—“we pay for it” by a very efficient woman with a New York accent selling me my ticket.)
My van arrived within the promised 20 minutes, and we loaded up to capacity.
Our driver, in a Boston accent, asked the crew if a new group of four were delegates.
“Yeah, we’re delegates,” said the burly guy named “Butch” sitting right behind me. They could have been. The four of them were talking about getting to a barbecue that evening. It was not a vegan barbecue, so it sounded Republican to me. They talked in general terms about organizing, meeting up. One of the four was a sixty-ish woman, not one of those aging flower children but with hair done, makeup on.
After we had let on a couple more passengers and settled in, I asked the man if he had seen the anti-Romney roving billboard. He said yes and informed me that he was a delegate for the “99%.” He showed me the front of his t-shirt that had an image of Romney as Darth Vader.