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The Republicans were coming! In lieu of eating pizza with Herman Cain, we popped in on a Ron Paul confab, looked for the sequestered bobbing heads of protest outside of the convention center and figured out that – surprise! – conservatives are talking about Jesus weather again. We were blown away.

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“You see what I mean?” he said. “They’re ignorant.”

Speaking of the P5 (and/or CPAC), if you happened to be in your car, putzing by the Orange County Convention Center just after noon on Sept. 24, you may have noticed some angry, shouting heads floating above white plastic barricades alongside International Drive. As you could have guessed, those heads belong to liberal protestors of the Republican orgy, but what’s with the barricades? Those, dear reader, were the boundaries of two “free speech zones” allotted to protestors for the event. This Orwellian term provided the Orlando Sentinel with some serious constitutional meat to chew on, a welcome respite from having to cover the mindless activities going on inside the convention center.

“Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings feared it would be too costly to patrol the usual ‘free-speech’ zone, a lengthy stretch of three roads outside the center,” Sentinel reporter David Damron wrote in explaining the much smaller zones. You heard it, folks: Hard economic times translate into curtailed, we mean consolidated, civil liberties. Naturally, the move was met with a standard “the entire country is a free speech zone” retort in the Sentinel piece, but Pink Slip Rick ringleader Susannah Randolph provided some additional commentary when we reached her by phone the day before the protest.

“Maybe Jerry should ask the guys at the convention why they’re cutting his budget,” she said.

It wasn’t exactly a surprise that Orlando’s weekend-long descent into the church of the poison mind would bring with it some elements of a la carte scripture-bending in the name of fueling conservative camaraderie. Hell, even the general repulsion at the latest gay-hate moment in which Republican revelers actually booed a deployed soldier for so much as existing came off as a scripted exercise in a world of ever-diminishing expectations – especially those involving the lubricated schism-jizm stench of anything involving Rick Santorum. What was somewhat surprising, though, was that the latest line of utter defensiveness with which some Republicans grasped at their pearly crucifix nooses between their starched white collars. Are you ready for this? Wealthy Republican Christians feel persecuted!

Speaking at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event on Sept. 22, Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll – whose job, like that of her predecessor Jeff Kottkamp, involves little more than taking a check while flying around on the public dime – imagined herself at a pulpit, according to the St. Petersburg Times, and gleefully got down to the business of erasing the line separating church and state.

“Today, unfortunately, many in the media would like nothing better [than] to ridicule Christians,” she sermonized. And why would that be? Could it be that she went on to invoke the Da Vinci Code and the Last Temptation of Christ before saying that Americans were idly sitting by as they permitted “the minority to poison the minds of the majority. … This is exactly what dictators and socialist rulers did?” Oh, dear. Well none of this speaking in tongues would be at all possible were it not for the fact that Carroll had only survived an unnamed health scare “because God heard my professed commitment to him.” Hmm, wonder what her health insurance – or her doctor – would say about that? Hopefully none of it was weather related, as God “whips up a storm to let us know we are not in control.” A storm!

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