How The GOP National Convention Really Ended Up In New York City

by John Hawkins | June 29, 2004 12:03 am

RWN reader (believe it or not) blahblah posted the following in the comments section of the Love In A Time Of Danger[1] post…

“oh, i forgot future acts of profiteering – like the future republican convention.

Honestly, partisan politics aside. Holding the convention at ground zero is in very very poor taste. It would be like doing a speech about iraq during the funeral of a 9/11 victim.

In fact, thats what it is.”

That’s not the first time that line of nonsense has been tossed out and you can expect that you’ll hear it a lot more as we get closer to early September date for Republican National Convention.

But, how the GOP convention ended up in the liberal Mecca of NYC is a telling tale. One that I think says something about the character of both the GOP and the Democratic Party and the left’s penchant for rewriting history to suit their own purposes.

You see, not only was the Democratic Party given an opportunity to hold their 2004 convention in NYC, the Dems were seriously considering it — and with good reason.

The mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, was making a heck of a pitch[2]…

“In search of a lift for the city’s sinking economy and morale, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is staging an extraordinarily lavish series of events designed to persuade Democratic National Committee officials to bring their 2004 convention to New York.

Mr. Bloomberg has also enlisted the help of a transplanted New Yorker–Bill Clinton–who has recorded a video message with a lower-lip-biting reminiscence of the 1992 Democratic convention in the city, officials involved in planning the events have told The Observer. The video will be shown on a giant screen for party officials during their tour of Madison Square Garden on July 30.

When the D.N.C.’s site-selection committee arrives for a three-day tour on July 29, the officials say, party members will dine on catered delicacies from Nobu, Union Square Cafe, Tribeca Grill and Tabla–all at one sitting. They will enjoy a bus tour of the city narrated by New York documentary filmmaker Ric Burns. They will sip cocktails in a rooftop garden atop Rockefeller Center. They will have a private breakfast at Mr. Bloomberg’s mansion on East 79th Street. They will be serenaded by actress Sandy Duncan, of Peter Pan fame, who will sing a song written especially for the occasion entitled “The Winning Way.”

Moreover, out of the four cities the Democrats were looking at, the Big Apple was pledging the most money[3]…

“New York had pledged $72 million, and Miami $40 million and Detroit $50 million (and Boston 49.5 million) respectively.

So what happened? Why aren’t the Democrats doing their “convention at ground zero” as blahblah calls it?

Well, there was one little hitch. You see, in an effort to help revitalize NYC after the 9/11 attacks, New York wanted BOTH PARTIES to hold their conventions in the Big Apple. And you have to admit, there’s a certain charm to the idea, non? It would give a big financial boost to the city, show that NYC was still the most prestigious in the world, show American unity between both parties — it was a grand idea.

But, you know the Democrats — everything is viewed through a partisan lens — even when we’re talking about helping NYC recover from 9/11. The New York Post[4] fills in the details…

“The mayor asked both parties to hold their conventions in the same city for the first time since 1972. At the time, we thought it a great idea – one that would serve as a vote of confidence in New York’s future after 9/11.

Indeed, Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe was approached first, with former Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo actively backing the city’s efforts.

But McAuliffe wasn’t interested – unless the Democrats were given an exclusive and the GOP shut out, that is.

In other words, McAuliffe wanted to make sure that only his party could reap whatever political benefits might accrue from holding a convention here.

But when Bloomberg rightly wouldn’t play that game, McAuliffe made a few snide remarks about how the mayor should rejoin the Democratic Party and then shuffled off to Boston – home of the Red Sox (and Teddy Kennedy).

Meanwhile, the Republicans – to their credit – understood the symbolic importance of selecting their candidate in New York. And so Team Bush – which had wanted to hold the convention in Texas – switched gears.”

So there you go. Today it’s “Oh, the GOP is trying to exploit 9/11 by holding a convention in New York,” but back then it was “we’d love to help you recover from 9/11, but only if you’ll screw the GOP”.

Remember how that actually played out because it’ll come in handy over the next few months…

  1. Love In A Time Of Danger:
  2. heck of a pitch:
  3. most money:
  4. New York Post:

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