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Republican National Convention

15. June 2004 • Rob Goodspeed
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This year’s Republican National Convention is scheduled to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York city from August 30th through September 2nd. Holding their annual meeting in the heart of a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 5 to 1, and moving the event back to be closer to September 11th has made it the target of an unusual amount of protest planning. One group, called United for Peace and Justice, applied for a permit with the New York City Police department seeking permission to hold a march of 250,000 people up Seventh Avenue to Central Park where they would hold a massive rally. While police have denied that permit, many others are pending Other groups planning protest actions include Counter Convention and

Convention organizers are working closely with the New York City Police and a variety of federal agencies to create the tightest security of any convention in U.S. history, an effort which will put over 10,000 uniformed NYPD officers on the streets for the days of the convention. The convention organizers are spending over $100 million on the television spectacle.

U-M students are, of course, planning to send a delegation. To learn more, contact nphelps at or emmallen at

To read more about the event, see Newsday’s “When terrorism fears, delegates, protesters, toursits and commuters converge in August, the results will be steamy – to say the least”

  1. Perhaps its just me, but doesn’t all of this “protest” smell of something strongly akin to anti democratic values. the primary tenant of democracy is debate. To have debate you need to have both sides listen to each other, treat each other with respect, and argue their positions. NOne of which, it seems, is what these groups are going for.

    Not to say there aren’t reasons to protest. But the concept of republicans being unwelcome in new yrok, because they have differnt views sort of makes me sick.

    what sad is that these days its impossible to find a place where republican and democrats gather to debate the issues in a respectful way. All too often people are simply written off for having differnt believes. Yes, both sides are guilty, but shouldn’t it be people with the “brains” who make the first move?
       —David Livshiz    Jun. 15 '04 - 08:37PM    #
  2. David,

    I completely agree with what you’ve said. Some people have the nerve to oppose others and mobilize against them simply on the basis of differences in opinion. This is no different than ANY other form of discrimination except that some people seem to think it’s discrimination owing to a higher calling, as they feel this discrimination is necessary, even noble, because the very people they’re discriminating against are people they believe to be discriminatory (which is funny, since, if one has accepted the basic logic of discrimination, one is no longer entitled to hold discriminatory actions against another since the value of those actions has already been made clear). That’s college kid logic for you, though. Watch three or four kids respond who essentially argue the points I’m arguing without even knowing that that’s what they’re doing.
       —James Dickson    Jun. 16 '04 - 02:55AM    #
  3. Yeah David, I’m sure the Republicans were planning on debating the issues at their convention. Politeness and respect in politics went out the window long ago, and considering Republicans are the ones who spent two years insinuating that anyone who disagreed with them were traitors, I think cries of “civility” on their behalf are pretty pathetic.

    Did that make you point, James?
       —Jay    Jun. 16 '04 - 11:08AM    #
  4. david,
    i know its been difficult adjusting from russia…this isn’t the soviet union…this isn’t the tsar and this isn’t tenienmin square like you would wish it was…here in america, we have a right to protest when we feel our government unjust…or more specifically, when new yorkers feel that the gop has been screwing the city since day-one and then pretend to be their friend…should the people just stand back and take the pain??? perhaps in russia, and in the russia-like america you envision, this is how a ‘democracy’ works, but not here…

    on the other hand…did it make you sick when you leanred about fannie lou hamer and the freedom party crash the dnc in 64??? without that action, the civil rights movement would have been put back 20 or 30 years…

    sit back and take it,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jun. 16 '04 - 12:30PM    #
  5. This thread is the height of irony. Jay and Ari both get on David’s case and essentially say “shut up and take it, that’s how it is” PRECISELY because they believe David to be saying “shut up and take it, that’s how it is” to the protestors. Both of you have made it clear that you didn’t read David’ statement for what it was, but for what you believed it should be, or maybe you’ve heard similar arguments and stopped reading closely.

    Re-read what he said and tell me it’s unreasonable.
       —James Dickson    Jun. 16 '04 - 01:26PM    #
  6. What David said largely misses the point of these protests. The point is not to engage the Republican delegation in a polite debate, the point is to use the media attention to engage the country in a debate.
    As far as that goes, everything in this thread has already been a positive result of those planned protests: polite disagreement.
       —js    Jun. 16 '04 - 01:33PM    #
  7. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
       —Rob    Jun. 16 '04 - 01:47PM    #
  8. If I go to the protests, and I think I might, it will be to voice my opposition to the exploitation of September 11th by the RNC. They intentionally moved the date to an unprecedented late time, and most reasonable people agree that it was to recall memories of 9/11, in the very city of the tragedy.

    That’s why I’ll protest. Well, that, and I think protesting the Republican party in general is a valid, American, and free way to let our representatives know that we don’t agree with the agenda of that party. Assembly, protest, and boycott are as American as a plastic-wrapped, square, microwavable apple pie, after all.
       —Eric Goldberg    Jun. 16 '04 - 02:27PM    #
  9. Ari,

    I’ve noticed that your arguments rarely revolve around either facts or standards. Hence: “when new yorkers feel that the gop has been screwing the city since day-one…” which you present as if it’s actually evidence without ever explaining how they screwed “new yorkers;” what, exactly, “screwing” entails; and why the Republican Party would have gone about “screwing” them in the first place – surely even you can realize that people will feel differently about things than you do, and that that fact alone doesn’t make them bad people.

    That’s my beef with this “the personal is political” garbage, is that that logic permits one to discriminate against another on the simple basis of disagreement, the theory being that if one does not like another’s politics, they do not like that person, which is an idea people with college educations should have moved beyond a long time ago (I’m looking at you, Ari).

    I have a question for you, Ari:
    If “rightists” (conservative counterparts to college-aged liberals; think YAF) were to protest the Democratic Convention because they FELT that the party had screwed them over – and how couldn’t they feel that way? after all, if Democrats got what they wanted, it would mean that the YAFers weren’t getting what they wanted, which, to a college student, is reason enough to protest I suppose – would you support that on the grounds of free speech as well? If neo-Nazi’s protest reading off the names of holocaust victims on the Diag, is that protest legitimate?

    Or is it only when it’s ‘pissed-off’ liberals hoping to change the world protesting studgy old conservatives that it’s okay?
       —James Dickson    Jun. 16 '04 - 02:31PM    #
  10. dicky,

    first a few facts and figures…

    Why should New Yorkers protest the Republican National Convention?

    ? Bush has shortchanged New York City on homeland security funding and
    endangered our neighbors.

    ? Bush has cut funding for our schools, hospitals and homes.

    Facts you can use:

    ? Portion of EPA samples of the air around Ground Zero that showed
    asbestos levels higher than the agency’s own 1% danger threshold while the
    Bush administration was saying it was safe to return downtown after
    September 11: 1/3 (source: The Daily News 8/26/03 and 10/28/03)

    ? Odds that a member of the New York-based 442nd Military Police is
    suffering from exposure to depleted uranium shells during their recent
    deployment to Iraq: 4 out of 9 (source: The Daily News 4/4/04; The Daily
    News tested 9 for exposure; 4 tested positive. One of the four, Staff Sgt.
    Ray Ramos, a Brooklyn housing cop, is experiencing “daily headaches,
    constant numbness in my hands and rashes on my stomach” as a result.)

    ? Amount the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) says it needs to be
    prepared for terrorist attacks: $331 million (source: The Daily News

    ? Amount the FDNY has received in homeland security funding: $36 million
    (source: The Daily News 10/21/03).

    ? Among the fifty states, New York’s rank in antiterrorist funding on a
    per capita basis: 49 (source: Jack Newfield, “Bush To City: Drop Dead” in
    The Nation, April 1, 2004)

    ? Amount that Bush’s proposed cuts to Section 8 rent subsidies would take
    away from the 112,000 city residents currently using the program: $104
    million (source: The Daily News 3/25/04).

    ? Amount of funding to New York City schools Bush has cut over the last
    two years: $1.2 billion
    (source: An “F” For Education: A Two-Year Review Of The No Child Left
    Behind Act, Congressman Anthony D. Weiner, September 7, 2003)

    ? Amount the Republican Medicare bill is depriving New York City hospitals
    in federal funding: $400 million (source: Jack Newfield, “Bush To City:
    Drop Dead” in The Nation, April 1, 2004)

    ? Number of jobs lost in the United States since Bush took office: 3
    million (source: The Daily News 2/23/04)

    ? Number of jobs lost in New York City since Bush took office: 232,400
    (source: The Daily News 2/23/04)

    ? Amount Bush has raised for his campaign: a record $182 million (source:
    The Daily News 4/3/04).

    ? Number of New Yorkers the RNC wants to work for them for free: 8000

    as for your question to me:

    if conservatives wanted to protest the dnc they would have every right as americans to do so under their first amendment rights of free speech and assembly…

    freedom is deck,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jun. 16 '04 - 03:28PM    #
  11. They should be allowed to protest if they wish AND if it doesn’t pose any logistical (eg. security) problems.
       —Paco    Jun. 16 '04 - 03:44PM    #
  12. Ari,

    Since you understand so much about how much funding Bush has cut to New York schools, all I have is one question—why did he do it?

    P.S. I agree that these groups should be able to protest, sure, but I see no value in protesting someone simply because they disagree with you.
       —James Dickson    Jun. 16 '04 - 04:03PM    #
  13. i don’t protest bush because i disagree with him…i protest bush because he is making my country unsafe…he is making people hate us…he is laying off my fellow countrymen and feeding his rich friends…i’m protesting because he is slaughtering people…

    if he had policies that i agreed with and he got the same results i would STILL protest, because it is the outcome of his policies that i am protesting, not simply the ideology behind them…

    p.s.: i probably won’t be at the rnc this summer, due to a schedualling conflict, but my heart will be there…

    bush+dick=we’re all screwed,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jun. 16 '04 - 04:19PM    #
  14. oh, yeah, and to answer your question about why…its very simple:

    once upon a time, under a president named clinton, this country had a budget surplus…then bush decides he wanted to spend more money than any other president in the last quarter century, while at the same time stifling revenue, mainly by allowing his rich friends to not pay taxes, but still sending the irs after workiing class people…

    simple math will tell you that such a policy results in a negative number…so when a high school in detriot says, ‘can we have heating and electricity’, the state can say “sorry, no money…rich people don’t pay taxes”, and then any available nickle goes straight to bush’s friends in the defense and oil industry…

    your turn,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jun. 16 '04 - 04:43PM    #
  15. Ari,

    Now we’re getting somewhere.

    I just have a few questions—
    1) Who is President Bush MAKING hate us?

    2) Since hate is a choice, how is President Bush FORCING people to hate us? Has he left them no choice? And what about the people he’s made like us even more?

    3) How many people has President Bush personally layed off?

    4) What people is Bush slaughtering? Furthermore, if you were to ask President Bush if, and why, he is slaughtering them, what would HE say?

    5) Our country runs deficits all the time; not to the extent Bush has (hence the term “largest deficits…”), but deficits have been our story much more than surpluses have.

    6) You keep going out of your way to prove my point that you lack, or choose not to exhibit, the basic ability to understand someone as that person would understand themself.

    I ask you why President Bush cut funding in schools (a question that has an answer, which I know, but I wanted to see if you knew it, which, obviously, you do not) and you go on this ridiculous bedtime story about President Clinton’s good economy (and since when are presidents responsible for the economy? was Clinton also responsible for the recession which began under his watch?) and Bush’s excessive spending habits without mentioning the two wars we’ve had since Jan. 20, 2001, while never taking into account Bush’s actual logic in making those funding cuts.

    Why do you feel comfortable, as someone who’s been exposed to at least four years of quality education at Michigan, with attacking someone or their policies without having any real grasp of the logic behind them? You’d think that SOMETHING would’ve stuck – inquiry, fairness, evidence, the ability to retrieve and analyze facts – in your time at U-M which would make you want to get more out of your own arguments or at least base them on something other than your opinion and your dubious interpretation of the facts as you see them.
       —James Dickson    Jun. 16 '04 - 05:48PM    #
  16. 1) Who is President Bush MAKING hate us?

    2) Since hate is a choice, how is President Bush FORCING people to hate us? Has he left them no choice? And what about the people he’s made like us even more?

    Either you’re an idiot or you’re just being a pain in the ass with semantic arguments. Among possible definitions for the word “make” are ” give rise to; cause to happen or occur, not always intentionally.” “Make” doesn’t mean “force”; nor does it imply sole or inevitable causation. It’s an imprecise word, but Ari’s meaning should be clear enough. The policies and actions of the Bush administration have done nothing to improve impressions of the US or USians abroad—and continue to give desperate and frustrated peoples more reason to distrust, loathe or even hate us (is that a bit more precise?).

    3) How many people has President Bush personally layed off?

    Again, Ari’s meaning should be clear enough—Bush’s policies have so far lead to incredibly poor job growth in an otherwise shakily recovering economy.

    4) What people is Bush slaughtering? Furthermore, if you were to ask President Bush if, and why, he is slaughtering them, what would HE say?

    I think he would refuse to answer the question. Again, you’re either an idiot or being an ass. If you reprased it in a way he might answer it (using words like “collateral damage” instead of “civilian slaughter”), you’d probably receive an Albright-like “it’s worth it” response.

    5) Our country runs deficits all the time; not to the extent Bush has (hence the term “largest deficits…”), but deficits have been our story much more than surpluses have.

    Right. And Ari’s point still stands that his deficits have been insanely large exacerbated by policies that have primarily benefited the wealthy… What’s your response to that?

    So Ari gave you a list of reasons why he is protesting Bush because he feels the actions and policies of Bush are dangerous for our country and democracy. This implies that he disagrees with Bush, but the reasoning goes deeper than simple disagreement. I can disagree with Bush I about whether brocolli is yummy, but I’m not going to make any noise about it. But if I disagree with Bush about policies and actions that are killing people unecessarily and making (I believe) everything a whole lot worse for everyone, I believe it’s my duty to make that opinion known in as many ways as possible.

    I understand and agree with criticisms of “protests” when the protest is simply trying to silence an opinion (e.g., at U of M when BAMN shouts down anti Affirmative Action speakers)—an action which is anti-democratic and obnoxious. But the purpose of the RNC isn’t to express opinions or ideas. It’s ostensibly to “select” the Republican Party candidate for President, but we all know it’s not really about that either. It’s in effect a pro-Bush pep rally. I don’t see what’s so wrong with taking to the streets of the City (with a couple hundred thousand of your closest firends) while the pep rally is going on and saying to the rally-goers and fellow citizens that “I disagree with that and everything it stands for. Continuing the policies of the Bush administration is bad for all of us. If you agree with me stand with me and we’ll hold our own rally for something better, right now, outside of these doors. If we shout loud enough, they can’t ignore us. Nothing else is more important than that in this moment.”
       —Scott T.    Jun. 16 '04 - 07:25PM    #
  17. James, while it is apparent from its tone that you wrote your last post with great self-satisfaction, confident you had buried Ari’s comments under your unassailable logic, you did nothing but respond to his statements with irrelevancies (who cares if he discussed the logic behind Bush’s policies, its the results that matter), and sophomoric blather (“the basic ability to understand someone as that person would understand themself”). You certainly aren’t engaging arguments – you’re trying to get around them with ridiculous rhetorical maneuvering and snotty attacks on Ari’s intelligence that don’t survive even the weakest scrutiny (how do you know he has no grasp of the logic behind Bush’s policies? That wasn’t what he was talking about and he didn’t need to talk about that to make his point). He made several conclusory points, but that was after a much longer post listing specific relevant grievances.

    You’ve just responded to clear points by trying to define them as outside the bounds of the terms that you want them made on (where one must pointlessly acknowledge the good intentions behind policies that have produced horrible results).

    Very convincing.
       —Jay    Jun. 16 '04 - 07:27PM    #
  18. Scott,

    Since you’re better at expressing Ari’s opinions than he is, maybe you could write subtitles for his posts?

    I’ll respond to your post point by point, though, since you seem game.

    1) It’s always been my contention that some people do not need a reason to hate the United States because an excuse serves them just fine. These people hated the United States when Clinton was President, too (bin Laden declared war on us in 1998…), and will hate us if Kerry gets in office -they spread an ideology of hate and intentionally kill innocent civilians, cut off gas lines, and assassinate the Iraqis who are trying to assist in the creation of a democratic nation. So, I guess my point here is, it’s not anything Bush has done per se which makes them hate the US, but an active choice on the part of the haters which has been and would’ve been made with or without Bush. I really don’t think it’s George Bush’s job to get those types of people to stop hating America, and that’s never been his goal – his goal is to kill those people so that the moderates which make up 95% of the population in Iraq and elsewhere can agree or disagree with us or with politics in the new Iraq WITHOUT KILLING PEOPLE.

    2) Poor job growth is a myth. 1.9 million jobs have been created in the last year; better evidence of a poor economy exists – use it.

    3) I want a serious answer to this question, cut the crap. WHO is Bush slaughtering and why? I’m clearly missing the point so why don’t you show me the point?

    4) re: deficits. This is a point Thomas Friedman has made as well, and it’s one of the more valid criticisms of the Bush Administration. I always thought that the best way to get the economy going again would’ve been to permanently abolish the payroll tax, but the dividends are good enough, I suppose.

    My view on taxes and deficits is similar to that of Steve Forbes – I don’t care if Washington can’t balance its books, I don’t want to pay anymore tax than absolutely necessary.

    You pulled a nice little rhetorical spin of your own there, Mr. Trudeau. Yes, the rich have been the prime beneficiaries of the Bush tax cuts, as they should have been. The rich pay the most taxes in this country and often give much more than 1/3 of their income to the government in taxes, and I believe that is wrong. Let me keep my money and do with it what I will; isn’t that better than letting an Administration you so clearly mistrust use those funds for social programs?

    Which brings me to a point I’ve been wanting to make for a while. Why is it that liberals can on one hand argue that our political leaders are inept, then turn around and say that the real problem is that the government doesn’t have enough revenues for social programs. If Bush is truly inept, why would you want Bush’s social programming agenda to ever pass or receive funds?

    Like I said, I suppose I don’t see the value of protesting in the same way you guys do. It’s not the 60s no matter how much some people wish it were, and, personally, I don’t have the time to organize or participate in protests (yet I manage to post on this blog…), nor do I have the interests.

    See, Scott, I’m basically a legitimist. I said all the same sorts of things about the GOP when it tried to have Clinton impeached and I have as much disdain for YAF as I do for SOLE or BAMN or any group of people who feel that they can best affect change by holding signs and marching.

    What I find funniest is that so many of the people who protest harbor much stronger anti-Bush sentiments than even John Kerry, the man who will be running against Mr. Bush. Kerry can at very least acknowledge that Bush is trying his best to be a good President and that he has done some good, and his professionalism thus far has been outstanding.


    I would like you to do a little more than merely quote me when you respond to my posts—think about what I’ve said, consider that it may be true or at least reasonable (I know, it can’t be; you’re right and I’m wrong, I know the drill) before you write it off, especially when your entire post takes me to task FOR WRITING SOMEONE OFF.

    Is it sophmoric blather to say that Ari can’t understand someone as that person understands themselves? Is that a statement that doesn’t bear itself out in the conversation above, specifically the parts of the conversation which I referenced in the post you seem to have merely skimmed for quotes? I want you to READ the thread, then respond, not vice versa.

    And the logic behind someone’s actions absolutely matters.

    Let me ask you a simple question, and we’ll start from here.

    Does it change your view on Bush’s cuts to NYC schools if a) he cuts funding because he’s evil, and hates children, or, b) he cuts funding because he doesn’t believe the school is doing the job it agreed to do to receive funding, namely, to educate its students? Don’t interpret it or guess what I’m getting at, just answer the question.
       —James Dickson    Jun. 16 '04 - 08:08PM    #
  19. “Poor job growth is a myth. 1.9 million jobs have been created in the last year; better evidence of a poor economy exists – use it.” dicky

    what i heard on npr last night is the same figure, however, that doesn’t even make up HALF of what was lost since bush…and furthermore, are these the same types of jobs…if a factory worker is laid off, and then ends up working double shifts at mcdonalds’, he/she is worse off than before, hence the concept of a ‘recovery’ would be asinine…

       —Ari P.    Jun. 16 '04 - 08:43PM    #
  20. James, I wasn’t saying anything about your substantive argument. My point was that rather than arguing on behalf of your positions, you veered off into calling someone an idiot and took them to task for raising certain issues whithout pointing out that the Bush administration’s heart was in the right place. I found this childish and said so.

    And you’re still doing it. You attribute to me the attitude of, “I know, it can’t be; you’re right and I’m wrong, I know the drill” when I never said anything of the sort and have no idea on what you’re basing that.

    And in answer to your specific question, I know exactly why schools got their funding cut because I asked the woman in charge of administering Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” program during his first two-and-a-half years in office (she was teaching at UM last semester). It’s because he created a sytem for distributing money whereby federal funds would be denied to schools classified as “failing” but set the standards so that about 50,000 of the nation’s 90,000 public schools are considered “failing.” Instead the money goes into various school “choice” programs (whether that means giving students funds for other public schools or private schools).

    After creating these absurd standards (whatever you think of the public schools, 50,000 of them are not failing), of course, he cut the extra money his bill was supposed to provide to improve public schools, both “failing” and “passing” ones.

    I don’t think this money was cut because he hates children or because he thinks the schools are bad. I think that there is a concerted idealogical effort within the Bush administration to attack the public schools even if it means twisting the intent of a law intended to improve them and cutting the funding it promised to help them. I don’t think administration officials hate children, but I’m pretty sure they hate public schools (Rod Paige called public school teachers and their union terrorists), and if this country’s children end up getting hurt in the attack on the schools most of them attend, the White House is willing to live with that.
       —jay    Jun. 16 '04 - 10:03PM    #
  21. Jay,

    You’re right; I haven’t done a great job of living up to what I preach, but since I believe in what I preach, I can and will do better regardless. That’s a standard I hope to hold myself to and that I hope you will all hold me to.

    I’ll address the substantive issues tomorrow; right now I’m drunk and not proud of myself.

    Good night all,

       —James Dickson    Jun. 17 '04 - 02:15AM    #
  22. “The rich pay the most taxes in this country and often give much more than 1/3 of their income to the government in taxes, and I believe that is wrong. Let me keep my money and do with it what I will;”

    Well I wasn’t aware we were in the midst of such riches. James, which tax bracket are you in?
       —Mark    Jun. 17 '04 - 06:26PM    #
  23. Mark,

    None of your business. If you’re expecting me to act like I’m poor or apologize for the success of my parents, who have jobs, then you’re barking up the wrong tree. Unlike, say, a Monique Luse, I don’t feel that I have to grow up poor to identify solutions to poverty.

    What tax bracket are you in, Mark?

    The government should not take more than 1/3 of anyone’s income between state, local, and federal taxes. If it used its revenues more effectively, the government could accomplish nearly anything; it doesn’t, and I’m not one for throwing good money – my money – after bad.
       —James Dickson    Jun. 17 '04 - 06:38PM    #
  24. So James, you’ll be voting against the incumbent, who has managed to involve us in two costly wars with no forseeable end, and has increased spending by leaps and bounds from what the previous president, one of those “tax and spend liberals,” was outlaying, all while managing to create unfunded mandates around the country and increasing corporate welfare? Because if fiscal management is your prime argument, Bush is not your guy.
       —js    Jun. 18 '04 - 10:13AM    #
  25. I realize that Bush isn’t traditionally what one would consider a fiscal conservative, but, hey, he’s for cutting taxes. Meanwhile, Kerry claims he’ll roll back the Bush tax cuts in the first 100 days in office—no matter how bad one believes Bush to be on economic matters, you can’t get worse than a guy who is campaigning to see the death of a tax cut.
       —James Dickson    Jun. 18 '04 - 10:44AM    #
  26. dicky,
    some libertarian conservatives have mentioned to me that they are inclined to vote for kerry because they know he will spend less, especially with a republican congress…

    yes, you can get far wrose than a guy who wants the richest of the rich to thrown in their lot with the rest of us…for example, i think its far less evil for someone like kerry (who wants to increase revenue and decrease spending) than someline like bush, who wants to take money away from already under-funded school to give his rich friends more money…

    you worship a false, green god,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jun. 18 '04 - 11:56AM    #