Monday, December 01, 2003

We moved the date (it had to be close to 9/11), We picked the city to stir 9/11 Emotions (it had to be NY though it's never been in the past), But We'll Stay on a Luxury Liner, Thank You Very Much (don't want to get up close and personal with those New Yorkers)

It is being billed as the perfect place for celebrations during the Republican National Convention next summer, with shows, fine works of art, health clubs, bars, cafes, amazing views, luxury staterooms and restaurants serving cuisine from around the world. And it is just a short walk to Midtown.
The House majority leader, Tom DeLay, would like the ship to serve as a floating entertainment center for Republican members of Congress, and their guests, when the convention comes to New York City next Aug. 30 to Sept. 2.

"Our floating hotel will provide members an opportunity to stay in one place, in a secure fashion," said a spokesman for Mr. DeLay, Jonathan Grella. He did not elaborate.

Perhaps Mr. Grella is reluctant to talk because Mr. DeLay's idea has infuriated a cross section of New Yorkers, much to the delight of Democrats and the embarrassment of some Republicans.
Republicans, embarrassed by this minor indiscretion, I find it difficult to believe.
New York would lose money if Mr. DeLay decides to charter the ship because it would draw visitors and dollars away from city hotels, restaurants and shops.


As for the more ephemeral issue of perception, the proposal to remove visitors from the hubbub of city life has been broadly received as a slight a suggestion that the city's hotels and restaurants, not to mention its people, are not quite good enough for Republicans from out of state.

Republicans are not necessarily happy, either. Many say the cruise ship could undermine one reason New York was chosen for the first time in the party's history as the site of its convention: to help advance the idea that Republicans are the new big-tent party, trying to embrace all voters.
The new big-tent party? Really. Is that why they unilaterally shoved the Medicare alleged reform down our throats and attempted to do the same with the Energy Bill - Where's is that opening in the tent? Get out your microscopes!
Instead, Republican strategists say, being docked on the Hudson River would send out the message that they are a bunch of elitists who will not mingle with city residents and just might be ducking New York's laws, including the one that prohibits smoking in public places (a cruise ship might be exempt, or at least unwelcome territory for a city health inspector).
Elitists? How would anyone (except perhaps gays, liberals. the poor, women and minorities) come to that conclusion?

One Republican strategist said he imagined that New York tabloids would run headlines like "Ship of Fools" or "Titanic."
Ship of Fools. Now you're talking. You know, their antics would be funny if they weren't so sad.


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