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COLUMN

Happytown

The week where a call to arms brought unpleasant attention to the bumbling Republican machine, some oil cash brought more tackiness to the Panhandle and Joe Biden's brother brought bad education to Florida. It's already been brought-en!

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Holy crap! Did you just hear that? No, it was the rattle of your last two synapses clinking against the shards of glass of that New Year’s denouement that you never intended. You know, the one where euphoria slithered its way up to reason’s furthest cliff and then leapt off, leaving you in some bedsit tangle of sweat and neglect, scrambling for your keys, a cute top and some dignity to take you back to the bottom line of your existence. Or was it more like a siren? A huge warning that you know you should heed, but, like with most oncoming trains of awful, you’re at least partially driven to succumb to – just lie there on the tracks and let it run you down. Except this isn’t an imaginary locomotive; this is real.

On Dec. 30, what we all already knew was coming down the pike became painfully official. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus sent out the official call of horrors announcing, with all due seriousface, the “call to convention” for the 2012 Republican National Convention over in our hooker cousin’s trailer known as the St. Pete Times Forum.

“The call is an invitation to the Republican voters of America to participate in our party’s process for nominating our candidates for president and vice president by selecting delegates to the Republican National Convention,” Priebus declared in a prepared statement, reported the St. Petersburg Times.

Sure, we get it: Stock up your escort services and dust off your hairpieces, the Grand Old Party is coming to Florida! But what does it all really mean? Well, for one, Florida’s Republican delegation has been cut nearly in half to 50 instead of 99 because of the party’s hotheaded insistence that its Florida primary be held on Jan. 31. That 50-person sampling of avarice will join a pool of 2,286 national delegates Aug. 27-30 in a corporate-sponsored mud-wrestling pit to officially decide what will have already been decided: Mitt Romney will tell bad jokes for two months and (hopefully) shapeshift into a mute scarecrow or something. Or will it be Newt Gingrich and his inflatable head? According to recent polling by Tel Opinion Research, a blatantly Republican landline-hassling outfit,Romney is standing at 27 percent with Gingrich pulling up his rear at 26 percent. (Poor anti-racist Ron Paul clocks in at a distant 5 percent; paging Kelly Clarkson!) With less than a month to go, our money is on Scarecrow Romney, mostly because everybody else is just too scary to ponder.

The Florida Republican primary comes at a time when the Republican Party of Florida stands in apparent disarray. First of all, your favorite oak-room swindlers will be smack in the middle of the 2012 legislative session trying to hammer out whether they – or their big brothers in D.C. – get to hold onto their gerrymandered incumbencies via the ultra-boring redistricting sketch game.

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