TAMPA -- It’s hard to say which seems odder during a political convention roll call, the states that tout their (sometimes odd) highlights, or the ones, like Arkansas, who have nothing to say for themselves at all.
Seriously, it seems like it would be hard to listen to other state representatives wax rhapsodic about their college football teams, rivers, mountains and histories, then say, simply: “Arkansas casts its 36 delegates for Mitt Romney” before handing off the microphone like a hot potato.
But of course the strangest thing of all was the Kafkaesque dissonance of the roll call announcer, Iowa lieutenant governor and national party secretary Kim Reynolds, repeatedly announcing different totals than those representing the states, who shared their delegate counts from the floor.
There was a bloody battle on party rules and delegate voting up until Tuesday afternoon, and the upshot was that while the states announced the delegates won by all the candidates, including those won by candidates other than Romney, Reynolds acted as if she were selectively deaf. Proud state icons would announce delegates for Ron Paul, and also Rick Santorum and Buddy Roemer (at least one), and Reynolds would repeat back the number of Romney delegates as if that was all she had heard.
The Minnesota delegation probably had the strongest reaction to this: "Minnesota, where we are very proud of our state Republican Party, which runs a fair convention with integrity," the state delegate said at the RNC on Tuesday evening as she announced their count. "We cast 33 votes for Ron Paul, one vote for Sen. Rick Santorum, and six votes for Gov. Romney.”
But Texas’ state delegate also expressed Paul love pretty strongly, calling Paul “a fellow Texan and defender of liberty” as he reeled off the state’s delegate counts.
On a more peaceful note, Alaska noted its mountains and rivers, while Colorado proudly named itself the home of the greenback cutthroat trout.
Hawaii went with humor: “There are Republicans in Hawaii.”
Florida, hosting the shortened convention in the midst of an almost-hurricane, went with topical humor: “The Sunshine State, most of the time.”
Idaho, proudly: “The first to sue on Obamacare, the land of the balanced budget.”
Kentucky went with unintelligible: “Kentucky, horse capital of the world and undisputably the college basketball state champion of the nation.”
Michigan took pride in being the home state of Romney and family, while Utah claimed to be the adopted home of the whole clan.
And North Carolina’s delegate announcer claimed the state is the place where “the weak grow strong and the strong grow weak,” which I’m not even sure is a good thing.
Then Nebraska -- in a sure sign of just how far a proud football program beloved by an entire state can fall -- crowed about having the “top-ranked women’s college volleyball team in the nation.”
That’s gotta sting, to the linemen and wide receivers readying themselves for the season.
And in the end, the delegates were all counted, tallied and announced, except for all the ones that weren’t counted, tallied or announced. And Mitt Romney was declared the nominee.
Pictured above: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer appears on screen to announce her state's nomination as Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds stands at the podium during the Republican National Convention. (Aug. 28, 2012)