What in the name of Richard Nixon was the Republican Party thinking when they chose New York City as the site of the 2004 convention? New York City? For a political party opposed to everything from Social Security to fluoride in drinking water, the Big Apple just doesn't fit the retro image Republicans have worked so hard to cultivate.
Speaking of image, did anyone consider the very real possibility that sending Bush to New York City for an event of this size virtually guaranteed he'd encounter a protester? Surely his handlers realize that such an encounter could be devastating to the image of a man who's been encased in "political bubble wrap" for the past four years.
Then there's the whole security issue. New York City just doesn't seem like a very safe place for our nation's chief executive to be hanging out these days. Good grief, didn't these people see "The Manchurian Candidate?" Even if they didn't, I'm reasonably certain decision makers in the Republican Party realize that Dick Cheney is just a heartbeat away from becoming president.
As a native of the Show Me State, I personally think Missouri would have been a much better choice to host the Republicans' big gala. Given all that Missourians have done for the Republican Party in the past few years, I'm more than a little peeved that our state was passed over. After all, didn't Missouri citizens vote overwhelmingly to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage? (New York City is the thanks we get. Wow!) Just between you and me, I've heard that you can't find a Bible in any New York City hotel room. Oh well, so much for traditional family values.
It isn't like they don't know us here in Missouri. Given that Bush/Cheney have made 3,477 campaign visits to the state in the past 90 days, Republican Party big wigs must know our state has a lot to offer.
Without much effort, I can think of at least a dozen places around our state that would have been a better fit than New York City. For instance, Branson would have seemed an ideal location for the GOPs, just in the nick of time "shuffle to the middle." Delegates could have enjoyed a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet at the Kozy Korner Kafe, Bush could have delivered his acceptance speech during intermission of the Lost In the 50s Show and the whole mob would have been off the streets by 10 p.m. I can't imagine the party of "hearth and home" wanting more than this.
Additionally, the Branson area would have provided an ideal location for Bush strategists to deflect attention away from such silly issues as mounting job losses, rising health care costs, record high oil prices and the ongoing train wreck in Iraq by highlighting the one issue that's most important in this election. Imagine, if you will, those Swift Boat Veterans for Bush climbing into those funny-looking vessels known as DUCKS and puttering around Table Rock Lake.
Organizers could have followed up with a well-orchestrated pep rally in which featured speaker Larry Thurlow assails the integrity of that soldier, sailor, airman or marine who had the courage to take Bush's place in Vietnam. Talk about saturation coverage! Matt Drudge and Fox News would have been on that like a duck on a bug.
With time saved by convening in Branson, Bush might easily have taken an excursion over to Springfield and spent a little time at the Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World. Given the vast array of fishing lures this mega store offers for sale, I'm certain Mr. Bush would have found some "Weapons of Bass Destruction" there.
In a very close election, this high profile snub of our beloved state could prove to be a huge tactical error for Team Bush. But then, given an administration that has spent the past four years elevating blunders to an art form, what would you expect?