The Republican Party, on life support for a presidential candidate of earlier Christie vintage, has encountered another family brouhaha at the outset of its 2016 plans. No sooner did the word get out that Sin City (a.k.a. Las Vegas) was eager to host the convention than the party’s resident Tea Party morality wing complain that it ought to go somewhere more closely associated with Eden-before-the-fall. Huh!
It would seem strangely disconnected, of course, for a national party to open the program with an ascending invocation for grace in the epicenter of world class wickedness that would be happily indulged by the delegates and other visitors.
A problem: One of the leading lobbyists for a Republican gathering is casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire mendicant who earlier had spent mega-millions on a bad gamble himself: Newt Gingrich’s dead-end candidacy for president in 2012. There are bound to be a few folks who are unwilling to reject his knock on the door this time with a plea to fill his casino cup.
As we all know, conventions, no matter how rowdy, unkempt or outright riotous, are marvels of every big city that can afford to house, feed and entertain armies of excitable visitors out for a good time.
The late Ralph Perk, as Cleveland mayor, even promised to make up for his city’s shortage of hotel rooms by docking a liner on Lake Erie. The sophisticates in both parties didn’t fall for it.
As one who was paid to report on the political revelers on a half-dozen occasions, I discovered that most of the politicians and camp followers who showed up had less interest in the probable nominee than after-hours pleasures sheltered in places that quite distinctly were not their home away from home. Talk about defiling Eden!
Jim Rhodes, as Republican governor, had nothing good to say about these festivities, insisting that a lot of time and money could be saved if the parties asked the delegates to mail in post cards with their votes. Still he defied rumors by showing up – a little late – himself and managed to entertain transfixed out-of-state reporters with silly stunts and incoherent press conferences. But on the whole he had it right the first time.
Republican purities. Las Vegas. Jeez.