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Time for Exploitation!

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. 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 2,000 people.

It sounds like it will be quite a Convention.

Read other articles by Scott Zuke