New Page -- 6 September 2003
The fact that Love and Sex Makes Strange Bedfellows does not detract from the realization that, in addition, Politics makes strange bedfellows as well. Politics being the art of compromise, one can even discover Senator Ted Kennedy and President George Bush pushing the same bill through Congress. Admittedly this is not quite as shocking, when one considers Teddy's experience with respect to bedfellows – that is, where "fellows" is understood in the genderless connotation. Still...
A curious example of who's politically in bed with who has arisen with the decision by President George Bush and the Republican National Convention to forsake Brother Jeb Bush and his hopes for Tampa Bay, Florida to host the 2004 Republican National Convention. Tampa Bay (and Florida) thus loses the proverbial gold mine of income for any city intent upon hosting filthy rich members of the Republican Party, their filthy rich counterparts in the filthy... Media, and all those inevitable demonstrators who see the opportunity for a sound bite when they hear it.
It is indeed astounding that after providing the aid and questionable means to get brother George elected to the Presidency that Governor Jeb and his state would not reap some benefits from all their labors. Talking about cashing in an I.O.U.! Plus which, Florida would undoubtedly be important in the Bush re-election effort. Surely!
[But then again, perhaps the Republicans are assuming that between Brother Jeb and his fellow hench-person, Florida's Secretary of State Katherine Harris, the State of Florida is already guaranteed to apparently vote Republican in 2004.]
Governor Jeb Bush, meanwhile, clearly demonstrated his loyalties to the state he allegedly governs. "At the end of the day," Jeb is reported to have said , "they will do what is in the best interests of our great president, and I will as well. I'm a loyal soldier in his army as it relates to his political career." Sorry, Florida. You just came in second.
Admittedly, when Tampa Bay, New York City, and New Orleans were considered as the three finalists in the 2004 convention sweepstakes -- with New Orleans a decided long shot -- Jeb did respond to the question as to which city would most help is brother politically by "uncharacteristically straddling the fence". "I hate to sound political, but really, the symbolism of New York is a very powerful reminder of my brother's leadership..." and will be in 2004." "New York and California are difficult states for Republicans nationwide, and Florida's got to be part of the question. You be the judge of which state is the most important."  [emphasis added]
Suffice it to say that the Governor of Florida has determined that his state is less important than President's Bush re-election campaign.
[Incidentally, we could hardly allow Jeb's statement about New York reminding us of his Brother George's leadership in connection with 9-11-2001. Like, for example, the Bush Administration being wholly unprepared or apparently oblivious to what was coming down. Perhaps Jeb knows something that most of us don't about what really happened on that fateful day. Didn't Jeb declare a State-wide "state of emergency" just before 9-11-2001? Hmmmmm…]
Meanwhile, back in the traditional Democratic stronghold of New York -- where George Bush received only 35.23% of the vote in 2000  -- the GOP has picked the Big Apple to host the 2004 Republican National Convention. This is the GOP's very first time to locate its National Convention in New York City -- probably because the Democrats outnumber the Republicans there five to one. However, Ronald Reagan did carry the state in 1984 -- and quite possibly lightening might strike twice (pardon the pun).
Republican Governor George Pataki and Democrat-turned-Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg are in fact quite delighted that the convention with its nearly 50,000 visitors, $150 million in economic "activity", and use of 22,000 hotel rooms  will be just the ticket for the city. A well known truism is that where there is a lot of money flowing, there is the opportunity for a LOT of profits. Of course, the $80 million dollar budget for the convention will include a $27 million contribution from the city's coffers (for police, sanitation and "other costs). That makes it ever so slightly expensive for the city’s voters -- but hey, the hotels will be raking it in!
As for the extra $53 million to round out the budget, this piddling sum is to "be raised privately." Perhaps, Cheney's bosom buddies and former employers at Halliburton can find some loose change from their profits on the $1.7 billion dollar contracts to rebuild Iraq. In fact, one can pretty well guarantee a contribution, inasmuch as Halliburton has the inside track for another $5 billion in contracts -- contracts which, despite all claims to the contrary, will not be put out for bid.  [It's called gross corruption and graft.]
Meanwhile, back in the land of the free and the home of the Yankees, New York Mayor Bloomberg "praised New York unions for assuring GOP planners the convention would be run efficiently and for agreeing to a no-strike deal during convention week, which begins August 30."  With Bloomberg having switched his party allegiance from Democrat to Republican, the Democrats followed suit and gave up on New York when the city refused its courtship with the GOP, and moved their 2004 site to Boston. Sigh.
Why, you might ask, did the GOP -- and in particular, Republican strategist Karl Rove -- seem so intent upon ignoring Jeb Bush and Florida's appeals, and instead head north to New York City? Supposedly, it's all in the symbolism. "The [GOP] strategy is to focus on Bush's role in the war on terrorism and national security. 'Al Qaeda is still out there. The security and national security issue is going to remain very, very strong,' said a Bush advisor." 
More importantly the GOP convention will be held August 30th through September 2nd  -- allowing Bush to begin his formal campaign near the third anniversary of September 11, and thus -- according to the GOP's hopeful expectations -- enhance the Republican fund-raising advantage. Currently, the Bush campaign expects to spend $200 million dollars on his re-election effort -- roughly twice the amount of money Bush and Cheney spent on the 2000 campaign. [5, 6] Quick! Someone call Halliburton!
Or better yet, let's stop and think about this for just a moment.
George and Company are heading into what amounts to a Democratic stronghold -- complete with the potential for anti-war demonstrations in the mega-city-style – purely in order to capitalize upon the horrors of 9-11-2001.
Naturally. What better way to honor the dead and injured than to use them for political opportunistic symbolism! By waving the flag a lot, ignoring the incompetence and possible complicity in the national disaster by the Bush Administration, and delaying the convention just to use 9-11-2004 as the campaign kick off date... the GOP is attempting to appeal to those who would toss Benjamin Franklin's advice aside, and eagerly give up liberties in order to gain a questionable security. In other words, it’s all about fear and loathing, terrorism, and military bravado.
Karl Rove -- Bush's chief advisor in all matters relating to being re-elected and looking presidential under the best or worst of circumstances -- "has been studying the history of campaigns as to not repeat other candidate's mistakes." Karl is the man responsible for President Bush campaigning so aggressively for Republicans in 2002, and thereby taking credit for the Republicans gaining control of Congress. 
Accordingly, Rove’s Choice of New York City and the plans to capitalize on the death and destruction of the Two Towers, may be considered to be a political risk. Delaying the time of the National Convention -- the latest since the Republican Party was founded in 1856 -- only serves to emphasize the primary purpose of the convention. "Bush's advisors said they chose the date so the event would flow into the commemorations marking the third anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks." 
"The strategy of starting so late and building the campaign around the events in New York is not without risks. Bush's advisers said they were wary of being portrayed as exploiting the trauma of Sept. 11." 
Duh. But being wary is not the same as making changes out of something akin to respect, concern, or legitimate honoring. The potential for a significant backlash to this strategy is well within the bounds of probability.
In fact, one wonders just how secure New York City is going to be during the week before Labor Day in 2004. Someone might want to bring back a couple of armored divisions from Iraq just in case.
Meanwhile, it is important to remember that politicians are like babies. They need to be changed on a regular basis, and often for the same reason.
Or forward to:
 Originally located at: http://www.sptimes.com.
 Originally located at: http://www.hollandsentinel.com
 Common Cause's CauseNET Message for August 28th 2003, [Currently, one third of the $1 billion per week being spent in Iraq is going to private contractors like Halliburton. Vice-President Cheney received a multi-million dollar severance package from Halliburton when he retired as the company’s President after less than eight years on the job. (Before that, Cheney was Secretary of Defense) The "revolving door" between government and corporate America has done very well for Dick Cheney – even if the nation has paid through the nose for it.]
 The fact that one strong Democratic Senator died in an airplane crash during his re-election campaign -- with other Senate and Congressional races being extremely close (i.e., within the margin of error in the vote counting process) -- might suggest that the Republican spin on the outcome is somewhat less than credible.]
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