The cordoned-off green zone for the Republican National Convention may lie on Manhattan’s West Side—but the event will be strictly Madison Avenue. The Republicans, ever the masters of spin, are poised to use their convention to remake the party’s image in two vital ways—both of them making good use of the seemingly inhospitable environment of New York City.
First, the RNC in NYC will help transform the image of the Bush-era Republicans from right-wing, ideological wackos into just a bunch of regular guys. With a host of “moderate” convention speakers (and a little help from the mayor), the Republicans will position themselves as decent, sensible, patriotic people, forced to fend off the attacks of protesting anarchists, agents provocateurs from foreign countries like Canada, pinkos, queers, and other radicals of the type that most Americans are all too ready to assume make up the majority of New Yorkers.
Second, the RNC in NYC will play the 9-11 card in the shrewdest possible ways. Any lingering tendencies in the minds of swing-state voters to hold the Bush administration accountable for the attacks should be put to rest by this extravaganza. The Republicans will be depicted as journeying to New York to honor those who gave their lives, to recommit themselves to protecting the nation’s security and prosecuting the war on terror, and to celebrate their not-so-secret weapon: the unassailable hero of 9-11, Rudy Giuliani.
Additional reporting: Alicia Ng and Alexander Provan