Skip to comments.Cleveland, no need to swoon over the RNC
Posted on 07/14/2014 4:30:28 AM PDT by Kaslin
Republicans picked Cleveland to host their 2016 national convention, and the city, writes the Plain Dealer's Stephen Koff, "is swooning over its victory."
No kidding. "Huge day for our city. Has anything ever happened here that's bigger?"tweeted Aaron Goldhammer, co-host of ESPN Cleveland's morning sports show. Ed FitzGerald, Cuyahoga County's elected executive and the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor of Ohio, rejoiced in the GOP's confirmation "that Cleveland is now in the middle of a historic renaissance." Local folk hero Charles Ramsey, who last year saved three Cleveland women held hostage for 10 years, told a TV interviewer that news of the coming Republican convention made him "giddy happy as a clam."
"Our City's Time To Shine," exulted the Plain Dealer's front page on Wednesday, while the editorial board announced that "the Republican Party has validated the city's relevance."
Though I've spent more than half my life in Boston, I'm a born-and-bred Clevelander, so none of this delirium surprises me. To grow up in Cleveland in the 1960s and 1970s was to live in the Rodney Dangerfield of cities the town with the inflammable river and mayoral hair, the butt of endless jokes on "Laugh-In," the home of a ball club so desperate for fans that it offered ten-cent beer as a promotion and wound up with a drunken ninth-inning riot. Is it any wonder Cleveland developed a persistent inferiority complex? There are only so many times a city can hear itself mocked as the "mistake on the lake" before taking the put-down to heart.
But don't be too quick to scoff, Boston. Cleveland's euphoria at landing a presidential nominating convention may seem excessive, and it might be tempting to smirk at a town so hungry to have its significance "validated" that it would treat a gathering of politicos and media people as a prize beyond measure. Yet Cleveland's reaction is no different from Boston's when it was chosen to host the 2004 Democratic National Convention. "This is the relaunch of Boston," Jack Connors, head of one of the city's top ad agencies, exclaimed at the time. A legislator from Boston hailed the selection as history-making: "Let's face it, the city's crossing a threshold here."
The truth, of course, was that Boston didn't need a relaunch any more than Cleveland needs to be validated. Cities crave major-party conventions because they see themselves basking in the reflected prestige of a presidential nominee and the political poobahs swarming in from around the country. Given the dismal opinion Americans have of national politics and politicians, that prestige is mostly theoretical, but the illusion persists.
Lord knows why. Has any city's national reputation been measurably enhanced because it was the site of a quadrennial nominating convention? The parties spend immense sums to stage these events, and the media send armies of journalists to cover them. Yet voters tune out much of the proceedings, which in any event have almost no effect on how the election turns out.
Besides the supposed glory that comes with hosting the GOP's conclave in two years, Clevelanders are being told to anticipate an economic boost of $200 million from all the wealth delegates will be spreading around.
But Cleveland is apt to learn what other host cities have learned about the bonanza that conventions are invariably predicted to generate: It's also mostly theoretical. Boston officials repeatedly claimed that the local economy would reap a $150 million windfall through hosting the 2004 convention. In the event, it netted one-tenth as much. Most delegates spent less than $500 during their stay in the city; a majority never ventured beyond the convention site and their hotels. "As a short-term economic event, the DNC clearly was a bust," the Boston Business Journal glumly concluded.
Boston wasn't an outlier. National Journal reported two years ago on research by economists at Holy Cross who "reviewed every national political convention hosted between 1972 and 2004, comparing 14 convention towns with 36 similar regions." Result: Not one of the 18 conventions during those years "had any impact on personal income or local employment in the host city."
I begrudge Cleveland not one iota of the civic pride it takes in having won the 2016 convention. But I also know that Cleveland doesn't need a horde of conventioneers or even, dare I say it, LeBron James to feel good about itself. "Laugh-In" is ancient history, and Cleveland is no longer the buckle on the Rust Belt. Republicans picked a city whose reputation is far better than it used to be. If only the same could be said about Republicans. Or Democrats.
But if it had been the Dhimicrat Convention, now THAT would have been something to get excited about.
Cleveland is not on my bucket list of places to go.
This is satire right.
Cuyahoga County Ohio is a Liberal county... but I am sure they won’t have any compunction about cashing RNC checks.
and the article doesn’t even mention the anarchists and attendant costs of that gaggle.
Not new. The GOP nominated Coolidge and Landon in 1924 and 1936, respectively, in Cleveland. So in 2016, it will have been 80 years since the convention was held in Cleveland.
Since I am not from Ohio, I wouldn’t know. Are you?
It is worth a 24-hour stopover though if you are in northern OH.
With the frenzy of LeBron (promote ACA at Obama’s request) going back to Cleveland this ought to be interesting.
Perhaps blubbering Boehner can kiss both rings.
Yes, I live in Ohio.
It is THE most Democrat county in Ohio.
Why do republicans insist on spending their money in democrat strongholds?
>>Why do republicans insist on spending their money in democrat strongholds?<<
They suffer from the delusion that they can somehow defeat Santa Claus by buying a few trinkets.
The optimist in me tells me that since Ohio is perhaps THE most intense Battleground state, and Cuyahoga County is THE most fraud-ridden election site in Ohio, that having the place crawl with Republican operatives might mitigate that fraud.
Alas, with what is going on in Mississippi, I fear the Republican presence in Cleveland will only enhance the fraud.
Fact is that it is a battle ground but Ohio is also the Mother of Presidents.
She’s an old Republic and the Mother of Presidents
I guess the GOP settled on Cleveland because they couldn’t find a landfill that would take them and went for the next best thing.
The Democrat strongholds are the cities. Cities are where convention centers and the associated hotels and amenities are located.
How could any city be proud that a bunch of corrupt politicians will be visiting for a week, throwing around their ill-gotten gains?
The author has a very solid point. All things considered, it’s possible hosting a convention has more minuses than pluses.