Dumb quote of the day--they might also be thinking about the weather edition

>> Friday, August 24, 2012

...every man, woman and child in Tampa Bay wants to know just one thing: how can they help support this historic effort [The 2012 Republican National Convention....
- Tampa Bay Host Committee,
Host Committee Volunteer Orientation Video

I dunno: if Tampa is anything like Charlotte, what they really want to know is where the hell they're supposed to park.

I don't want to lean on the Tampa Bay Host Committee too much, especially on a line pulled from an orientation video that's intended not just to inform volunteers about the dress code, but also to boost enthusiasm and morale. It's just when I heard the line on NPR this morning, it made me chuckle.

It isn't a partisan thing. I'm mostly glad the Democrats are coming to Charlotte, but I'd still be mostly glad if the Republicans and Dems swapped cities (maybe not quite as mostly, but mostly mostly). Not unambiguously glad, because hosting a national convention is a massive pain in the ass, and it's going to cost the city a lot of money we really don't have (I don't know what Tampa Bay's economy looks like, but I suspect they're in a similar bind). And the whole thing is going to screw up traffic and basically lock down the city, and there are going to be all sorts of other expected and unexpected inconveniences.

On the other hand, I'm also thinking that not only are all these politicians coming and staying in our hotels and eating in our restaurants and buying clean underwear at our stores when their luggage gets lost, but it's also their staffs, their hangers-on, their families; and it isn't just them, of course, because there are going to be all kinds of reporters coming down here, too, with their expense accounts; and also various lobbyists and such; heck, even protesters coming down here from out-of-state have to sleep and eat somewhere (at least until they get arrested). One hopes that the screwed-up parking and bus schedules and diverted traffic and trouble getting seated at your usual hangouts, etc. is all repaid by the revenue stream from an epic political tourist event.

And here, too, I have to admit that here's a reason I'm glad it's the Democrats and not the Republicans coming: namely that I have this completely unfounded and based-in-nothing-but-personal-prejudice suspicion that Democrats are better tippers. I could be wrong, I could be wrong; don't jump down my throat, I absolutely could be wrong. Still, come on: Mitt Romney totally comes off as the kind of guy who still thinks 15% is appropriate. I'm not saying he actually is--I have no idea, and, again, this is just me making assumptions and so on. And Grover Norquist comes off as the kind of guy who still thinks it's funny to leave "Don't bet on the ponies" written as a tip at the bottom of the check, though I'm sure in reality he does leave whatever spare change he has in his pocket on the table, too, especially if he can't find a pen. Whereas Bill Clinton comes across as the kind of guy who leaves a hundred dollar tip at Hooters, and some people would make it a big thing that he was at Hooters (the food's terrible, for godssakes), but on-topic I'm thinking that a hundred bucks is a pretty good tip for a basket of wings with onion rings, a bottle of PBR and maybe a round of sodas for the Secret Service dudes, even if the waitress ends up splitting it with the kitchen.

I'll also confess I'd rather have my seat at a restaurant taken by Elizabeth Warren than Sarah Palin, not that Palin would be all that likely to go to any restaurant I'm likely to go to. But it's a matter of principle. I hope you get the idea. Again, I realize this is total lefty bias on my part. I imagine myself standing outside a restaurant, and in one hypothetical scenario, I'm thinking, "Goddammit, it's that misogynistic, scientifically illiterate shitbag and he's taking my seat and he's going to leave a shitty tip and fuck him," and in the other imagined scenario I'm thinking, "Joe, you want the Bourbon Pork Chops or the mulate, or ask for a Po'Boy with extra Cajun mayeaux. Not that I have any illusions about the Vice-President being allowed to come down to my neighborhood or anything; if anything, I'm more likely to have my seat taken by David Plotz, which actually wouldn't be a totally bad thing, since I could shout, "Gabfest is better when you're on vacation and Bazelon hosts!" and duck without getting Tasered by a swarm of suited men with earpieces. (I assume. Gods. I don't know. See: it's all about all sorts of assumptions and prejudices and ignorance on my part, from whether Republicans tip to how much security the average Slate editor rolls with.)

None of this, of course, goes to my thinking, or anyone I know thinking, "How can I help support this historic effort?" And maybe Charlotte is different than Tampa: we're nowhere near the coast (naval yard notwithstanding) and I'll bet nobody in Tampa Bay gives a rat's ass about keeping up appearances with Atlanta. All I can say is that, as best I can tell, everybody else in Charlotte is as all over the map as to whether this is a good thing or an awful thing for the city, and whether the inconvenience is worth it and how much of a mess it's going to be, and whether the revenue will make up for the expense, and so on and so forth. Heck, there's probably even a couple of people excited the President's coming to town. I imagine things are similar down in Florida. Well. Okay, also, they might be thinking a little more than we are about the chance of rain.


Leanright,  Friday, August 24, 2012 at 3:12:00 PM EDT  

Good post. Humerous. Anyway, my job takes me to various cities in the Western US, and I remember back in 2008, going to Denver just a few short weeks after the Democratic Convention. Most folks I spoke with were excited to have had it in their city; it was a huge pick-up for their economy, and vendors were STILL selling Obama items like mad. I even picked up a few for myself ! (Ha, yeah right).

Be excited Eric, Conventions happen once per party every 4 years, and the chances of it happening in your home town again in your lifetime are quite slim.

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