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McKinstry: In Tampa, the wheels on the bus go nowhere

Credit: Bloomberg Andrew Harrer

TAMPA -- After hours of feel-good speeches –- including the almost universally praised one by Ann Romney -– Republican delegates from across the country hit the streets outside the Tampa Convention Center. And waited. And waited.

A typical trip from the convention center to the outlying hotels where many delegates are staying — including those from New York and New Jersey — takes about an hour and costs up to $100 by cab. Free buses run by the RNC are seen by many as the best transportation option.

So, after an extended stretch of waiting around for one, delegates last night boarded a bus.

And waited.

They were shuttled to a parking lot where they ... waited. And eventually got ticked off.

The parties were all but done.

Much of the jubilation and euphoria had long worn off by 1 a.m. By 3 a.m. — when buses were still rolling up to hotels across the Tampa region — there was no hope for any good feelings.

Long before that, delegates were complaining, especially when volunteers, police or anybody in an official capacity claimed ignorance about what was going on. A shrug of the shoulder here, a “Sorry, I don’t know” there, and it was clear this was a mess.

I overheard one delegate say, “They want to fix the economy and they can’t figure out buses.”

Another delegate from Georgia said this was “dehumanizing” and vowed to write a letter.

A New Jersey fella, fresh off a hometown speech from Gov. Chris Christie, said “I can’t wait to see the headline: Delegates start protesting. They can’t get off the bus.”

When another Jersey delegate asked for the time at about 2 a.m., a fellow passenger responded, “Half past stupidity.”

Back here in Clearwater, a New York delegate just wanted the name of the guy in charge of buses. Nobody knew.

Rumors of a bomb threat or security scare abounded, but none have been confirmed. Staying on message, another weary delegate blamed President Barack Obama.

Something this bad had to be a Democrat’s fault.