December 01, 2003
Cruisin' with Big Tom

I think many things of Tom DeLay, but I've never thought he was stupid. I have to say, though, I can't understand what he's thinking with this idea.

It is being billed as the perfect place for celebrations during the Republican National Convention next summer, with shows, fine works of art, health clubs, bars, cafes, amazing views, luxury staterooms and restaurants serving cuisine from around the world. And it is just a short walk to Midtown.

But before its visitors can cross a New York City street, they will have to pass over a gangplank. The Norwegian Dawn, a 2,240-passenger luxury cruise liner, has 15 decks, 14 bars and lounges and babbling brooks. But even docked at a pier on the Hudson River, it is not New York City. And, to many critics, that is the point.

The House majority leader, Tom DeLay, would like the ship to serve as a floating entertainment center for Republican members of Congress, and their guests, when the convention comes to New York City next Aug. 30 to Sept. 2.

"Our floating hotel will provide members an opportunity to stay in one place, in a secure fashion," said a spokesman for Mr. DeLay, Jonathan Grella. He did not elaborate.

Nothing quite says "out of touch with the average American" than spending a week on a luxurious cruise ship, especially when the stated purpose of being on that ship is to avoid contact with ordinary people.

"In an era of nonstop news and visuals, do you want the visual of the convention to be a group of people sequestered on a cruise ship?" said one Republican strategist, who added that there is a lot of hand-wringing among Republicans in New York and Washington over the plan.

Oh, I do, I do, I really really do. This is something even the Democrats couldn't fumble.

What's even more beautiful about this is that it's all Tom DeLay's idea. Even his point man in New York, Rep. Vito Fossella (R, Staten Island), is backing away from it. And of course, the sheeplike GOP is too scared to criticize DeLay for his Dukakis-in-a-tank scheme. Well, on that score, they deserve what they get.

Keep it up, guys. You're giving the rest of us hope. Thanks to Linkmeister for the catch.

UPDATE: DeLay has changed his mind, after realizing just how stoopid and unpopular this really was. Oh, well. Via Atrios.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 01, 2003 to Election 2004 | TrackBack

The NY Daily News mentioned this last week, however, they made the point of mentioning that DeLay was worried about the "security" in New York City.

Now, let's see, we'll have 37,000 police officers working overtime, bodyguards by the hundreds, Secret Service agents all around Madison Square Garden, not to mention the press everywhere in sight, and he's worried about security? The Daily News has started the New York Knuclehead Award for people like this.

Posted by: William Hughes on December 1, 2003 7:05 PM

Not to mention all those foreigners working on the ship itself--you think they hire American?

I was on one of their ships in 2001, and the crew was under 10% U.S. (WAY under), although the passengers were about 50% Americans.

Posted by: precinct1233 on December 1, 2003 9:49 PM

So given Norway's position on the war in Iraq:

'"Military operations have now been initiated against Iraq. There is no clear basis in international law for this war. Norway has consistently stuck to the view that military action requires a new decision by the UN Security Council", Mr. Bondevik [Norway's Prime Minister] said.'

do you think that they will rename it "Freedom Dawn?"

Posted by: Kyle on December 2, 2003 12:00 AM

Kyle, carry it one step further; arrest them all and take them to the Int'l Criminal Court. ;)

Posted by: Linkmeister on December 2, 2003 12:52 AM

The original report on this was in Roll Call a week or two ago. It mentioned that Democrats were also planning to use a cruise ship as a hotel.

I have no problem with the cruise ship being used by Republicans or Democrats. Hotel space is VERY scarce around convention time, so having one location where everyone can be is a valuable resource for a political party.

However, I agree: having Republicans in a cruise ship is a great visual for Democrats. If I were a Dem strategist, I'd be hoping the GOP does it, and that the Dems don't.

Posted by: Another Rice Grad on December 2, 2003 4:18 PM