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Monday, July 26, 2004

The Boston Rag

I hope that the attendees of the imminent Democratic National Convention enjoy themselves in Boston. There is perhaps no better major city in the country to be in during the hot months of July and August.

People who came early got to see the fever pitch of a city enthralled by a particularly contentious Red Sox-Yankees series.

Nonetheless, I was really opposed to the idea of a Boston DNC site from the beginning this year, even before one considers the infastructure issues raised by the ongoing Big Dig. I'd have preferred that the Democrats send a signal to a more marginal part of the country that - endless blather regarding "red" and "blue" America notwithstanding - the Democrats aren't going to concede the entire Heartland to the Republicans. Especially in an election like this, where Kerry should be more interested in appealing to the middle since the very notion of another four years of Bush/Cheney should be sufficient to motivate the Democratic base to turn out.

All things considered, it'd have been better if the Democrats could have found a way to reward a Democratic mayor and governor in a swing state with the economic benefits of a convention. Boston fits none of these characteristics, other than the mayor, and, well, not many major cities have Republican mayors anyway. The governor in Masachusetts is a Republican, who's busy trying to make mischief on behalf of President Bush and his campaign. Massachusetts is as far from a swing state as you can get - it's Kerry's home state, and Bush couldn't win here no matter what state the Democratic nominee would call home. And Boston, if anything, is losing tourist revenue from the convention, since many people who'd have otherwise taken their vacation in or around Boston chose to skip it; somewhere like Detroit, Kansas City, or Pittsburgh would be more likely to derive a positive revenue stream from a convention than Boston.

As for the convention itself...

Tonight is the night where Bill Clinton (along with his wife Hillary) returns to the national state in support of the Democratic ticket.

* The possibility that the Clintons aren't going to work too hard for this ticket, since Hillary would be first in line in 2008 in the event of a Bush victory is being discussed among the chattering classes, after being mostly the stuff of conspiracy theory earlier. I don't buy this meme now, since the rank and file will more likely be watching the Clintons for any sign for a reflection of this sort of calculation.

* Al Gore will be speaking as well. In his more recent public speaking engagements, he has attacked Bush and the GOP in harsh tones, speaking with a fire that seemed largely absent from his 2000 campaign.

I don't expect much to happen the first night of the convention; the other two nights are much more important as to how things might go in November.


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