Wednesday, August 23, 2006

National Urban League president urges a New Orleans convention

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

While his heart is in the right place, the National Urban League's president Marc Morial's call for the Democrats and Republicans to hold their 2008 convention in New Orleans is a bit of a publicity stunt at this point:

In spite of the fact that New Orleans officials in July withdrew their bid to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention, the president of the National Urban League on Wednesday urged both parties to hold their conventions in the city.

New Orleans on July 13 said it was too difficult to raise money to finance a national political convention. A spokesman for the city told Congressional Quarterly that city officials wanted to focus on rebuilding the city after Hurricane Katrina instead of spending time and money on a political convention.
National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial said [the convention] could help rebuild New Orleans and that hosting one of the conventions there "will also demonstrate that the nation's political leaders are squarely and solidly committed to rebuilding."

In a letter sent Wednesday Morial urged DNC Chairman Howard Dean and RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman to consider New Orleans. Morial asked both political leaders to limit convention expenditures to 50 percent of the 2004 levels and contribute the rest to rebuilding the Gulf Coast.

"The GOP came to New York City's rescue in 2004. Why can't the political parties come to the aid of New Orleans, which was hit by a tragedy nearly as grave as 9/11 and as deserving of such grand gestures," Morial said.
Everything was OK until this statement. The GOP convention in 2004 did not come to rescue New York, it came to use New York as a prop in the GOP's politicization of 9/11. New York did not need any rescuing three years after 9/11, and certainly not from the GOP.
"Our political leaders need to put their rhetoric into real action. What better way to help the victims than to hold their conventions right in the midst of Katrina's Ground Zero," Morial said.
I think most people could think of lots of better ways to help victims of Katrina then holding a political convention 3 years later. If Morial was serious, he could have released this letter before New Orleans dropped out, when it was still relevant. But in any event, the leaders of New Orleans decided their time and resources were best spent elsewhere, and we should not ask them to revisit that decision.