You can expect a big party down in Tampa tonight. Nearly 2,300 GOP delegates, 15,000 journalists and who knows how many other hangers-on ready to convene the 2012 Republican National Convention in earnest -- with a speech by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ann Romney, Mitt Romney's wife.

Enjoy it. Because a decent part of it is being paid for by your taxpayer dollars. Same goes when the Democrats get together in Charlotte next week.

The U.S. Treasury last year stroked a $17.7 million check to the "Committee on Arrangements" for the 2012 Republican National Convention and an identical sized check for the Dems convention.

In all, we're paying $35.4 million for the national confabs this year.

What are you getting for your dough? Balloons (what would a convention be without them) liquor, hotel rooms, even newspaper subscriptions. Tim Carney, a columnist for the Washington Examiner dug out these facts and they were so good I had to share them.

And, of course, there's the partying.
The GSA apparently has some competition.

Taxpayer dollars were used to pay a $572 bar tab at Connolly's Irish Pub in Charlotte. The home of the perfect pint. Republicans went one better, spending $746 on a big dinner at Charlie Palmer's Steakhouse.

Truth is if you're angry about the spending on the taxpayer dime, you have no one to blame but yourself. The money comes from people who check that box at the top of your 1040 tax form, the one that redirects $3 of your taxes to politicians. For the record, I never check the box.

My view is if the campaigns want to buy a big party, well they should pay for it. Goodness knows there has been a ton of money raised for the race - $176 million in July alone! Frankly, I love a good party, but c'mon now -- be responsible, Pay your bills!