Monday, August 28, 2006

Hurricanes and conventions

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

As we hit the one year anniversary of Katrina, and as we are almost exactly two years away from the 2008 Democratic and Republican Conventions, I wanted to revisit the question of whether the parties should hold their conventions in hurricane-prone cities.

When New Orleans was still a major contender for the Democratic convention, I claimed that the chances of a hurricane actually hitting a specific city during a convention was so low, that it was unfair to rule out New Orleans as a site for this reason. And it's not just New Orleans (which hosted the GOP in '88); it's also Miami, which has hosted multiple conventions, Tampa, in the running for the GOP in '08, and Houston, which hosted the GOP in '92. Unless you want to put a permanent hex on these cities' tourist industry every late summer/fall, it just wasn't fair.

Let's look at it another way. The Democrats were in San Francisco in 1984. In 1989, a major earthquake hit during the World Series. If the earthquake had happened 3 years before the convention, would the Democrats have been justified in going elsewhere? I don't think so.

Well, that's all well and good, but 24 hours ago, it looked like a hurricane was heading towards the west coast of Florida. (Luckily, the threat has lessened since then). Ohio blogger Psychobilly Democrat has been following the GOP site selection process because Cleveland is in the running, and he writes:

Just thinking out loud, but if I'm part of the committee deciding where to place the next GOP convention, I'm realizing that about 2 years to the day from now, the 2008 RNC Convention is slated to start.

I'm remembering that just a year ago, again almost to the day, Hurricane Katrina rumbled through the Gulf Coast and came ashore in Louisiana and Mississippi with 125mph winds, strong enough to earn Category 3 status.

I'm watching Tropical Storm Ernesto bearing down on Florida.

And I'm thinking: Tampa Bay isn't such a great choice, is it?
This is not good timing for Tampa's bid.


Anonymous said...

Senator Reid's support is certainly not bad news for Denver. However, as a Nevada resident, I can tell you that Reid is somewhat infamous for promising to do whatever he can for certain Democratic candidates and then failing to put forth any substantial effort.

I think it's important to keep in mind that the selection of a convention city is unlikely to sway the vote of a host state,let alone an entire region. I challenge anyone to point out an instance where a host state's vote was won due to being chosen as a host state. In fact, with post-9/11 security measures, the convention may well cause resentment among some residents of the host city.

The goal when choosing a convention city is to provide the right backdrop for the week-long infomercial being presented to America. That's why the Republicans chose NYC in 2004. They never had any illusions about winning New York's electoral votes. However, the backdrop of the Statue of Liberty was always stirring to Americans, even those who have never seen it up close. The event's of 9/11 only solidified New York's place in American hearts. That's why the option of a 2008 NYC DNC should not be dismissed.

Of course, Denver is also an attractive backdrop. Who can argue with the Rocky Mountains or "taking our party to new heights in the Mile High City." However, it is a simple fact that it would be extremely counterproductive to purvey images of our delegates and elected officials cheering the party's commitment to the welfare of working Americans and then crossing picket lines when they return to their hotel rooms. Denver will not be chosen until there are assurances from the labor movement that this will not be a problem. I'm not saying that these assurances cannot be gained over the next two months. I'm only saying that such assurances are absolutely necessary for Denver to be chosen as the host city.