Foreigners are invading New York City. The helpless
citizens are hunkering down in their homes or fleeing
the city altogether, too afraid to walk downtown or even
occupy an area that could be in danger of terrorist
attack. Police have united and taken to the streets in
staggering force, and the President himself is coming to
assess the situation.
That's right: next week is the Republican National
Convention, and it's taking place at Madison Square
Garden, right inside New York City.
New York is overwhelmingly Democratic. In the 2000
election George Bush only pulled in 35% of the popular
vote, whereas Al Gore got 60% (There was a very similar
ratio in Massachusetts, where the Democrats held their
convention this year). New Yorkers even voted Hillary
Clinton into office despite the fact that she hadn't
lived in the state.
Judging by most Republican beliefs, you would think
they would want to stay out of the North East entirely.
I mean you wouldn't expect the Democrats to hold a
convention in Salt Lake City or Austin, Texas. That's
hostile territory, and it just invites trouble.
In fact, George Bush only has one identifiable tie to
New York City, and once anyone realizes what it is, they
understand very well what the Bush campaign's strategy
is going to be when the election heats up.
The tie I speak of: September 11, 2001.
Although there have been some questions about his
performance under pressure recently, most Americans
would still agree that Bush's finest hours occurred in
the days immediately after the terrorist attacks in New
York City. The Bush campaign will, very wisely, remind
Americans that it was Bush who was at Ground Zero giving
a pep talk to the clean-up workers. They will remind us
that it was Bush who constructed a large coalition to
chase down Al Qaeda (Although they will probably not
mention Osama Bin-Laden by name). And then they will
punctuate the whole thing by reminding us that...uhh...Saddam
Hussein is an evil, evil man. In any case, the
exploitation of the tragedy will be extremely prevalent
in this convention.
As I alluded earlier, New Yorkers are not happy about
the convention being held in their city. And why should
they be? They're being forced to pay for their own
inconvenience. In fact, all taxpayers have something to
gripe about because they're paying for the convention as
well. Reuters reports that, xThe city will pay about $26
million and $50 million will be funded by the U.S.
Congress.x And that's just for security. To be fair,
Congress also footed some of the bill for the Democratic
Convention in Boston, but the DNC only asked for $25
million. Why are taxpayers paying twice as much for the
Republican convention? For one thing, New York is at
much greater risk for terrorist attacks, so they have to
buy up a lot more security. They're also paying to
protect the sitting President.
Just about every aspect of the Republican Convention
is more expensive than the Democratic Convention was,
right down to the fancy hotel. The Republican delegates
will be staying the week at the famed Waldorf Astoria.
To be fair, a few delegates complained about the
Convention organizers' choice of lodging because it
encourages people like me to criticize the Republican
party for being a bunch of old, rich, white guys (but I
bet it won't stop them from stayting there anyway).
Now, I remember there was a big fuss about the
so-called xfree speech zonex at the Democratic
Convention. It was a caged in area a good distance away
from the Fleet Center. It was dumb, and the Dems were
stupid not to denounce the setup, but it looks like the
Republicans are doing the same stuff. 1010WINS.com
reports, x[NYC Mayor] Bloomberg has refused to grant a
permit for anti-war demonstrators to hold a rally on
Aug. 29 in Central Park, the day before the convention
begins. Instead, the city has offered a spot on the West
Side Highway, which protesters have rejected as being
too far away from the convention site at Madison Square
Garden.x Of course, the reason cited for rejecting the
protest in Central Park was that it was too big a
security risk, and that is becoming a popular excuse for
not allowing things to happen that Bush wouldn't want.
So to recap: $76 million for security, protesters
kept at a comfortable distance, New Yorkers, who don't
even support Bush, confined to their homes or forced to
flee the city, and exploitation of the deaths of over
It sounds like it will be quite a Convention.
other articles by Scott Zuke