DNC Exits Denver – A Few Conclusions

Still the conclusion from an earlier post:

My posts on this blog have generally viewed the Democratic National Convention as something quite absurd; an archaic practice feeding only the voraciousness of politicians and the media for spectacle where spectacle is unnecessary. William Jennings Bryant didn’t even attend the 1908 Democratic National Convention in Denver, where he was nominated to be the party’s candidate for President. Sure times were simpler then. But, in retrospect, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out how politics has become antithetical to any notions of “We the People…” The people be damned, for the most part, with the machinations of the kind of power politics (read: elite) that sees no problem with spending $100 Million of the People’s money (half to the Dems, half to the Repubs), to put on celebrations, not of democracy, but, rather, celebrations of the monstrous egoism that infects both major parties. What is the point, after all, of providing a coronation, a crowning, an egregiously gaudy investiture for someone who has already captured the prize? Yes, I know, there’s that talk about Hillary pulling a fast one at the convention. Don’t believe it will happen. But, that kind of maneuvering surely doesn’t require a venue–an entire city for Christ’s sake!–and $50 Million of the People’s money.

Actually, if your add-up the $50 Million from the Feds, and the contributed $46.something Million more from fat cats, the DNC convention in Denver cost about $100 Million. Hard to wrap my mind around that figure, that much money. But, the show must go on…

The cops, for the most part, were superb. Lord, when I hiked downtown during the confab, I didn’t even see any cops. They were lurking, of course, off in secluded sewing circles, waiting for some nitwit to spit on the sidewalk, yell “Fire” in a crowded theater, or holler unholy epithets through a bullhorn…witness the Pink Lady being knocked to the ground by one of, um, Denver’s Finest. Be that as it may, I believe a sincere thanks is due to Deputy Chief Michael Battista and Commander Deborah Dilley for their efforts, their time, their blood, sweat and tears expended on behalf of just, well, keeping the peace in Denver during the DNC. And, of course, thanks to all the other Denver Police Officers, with a few exceptions, who simply maintained their cool, did what needed to be done with no excessive posturing–batons, CS gas, dogs, etc.–to assure the Donkey Dance remained a happy time for all.

Thanks too, to the “protesters” who appeared also to keep their cool. Yeah, it seems they didn’t have the turnout expected; seems the bodies anticipated just didn’t have the time or the commitment or the desire to sleep on tartop at the Coliseum to really present much of a presence during the DNC. But, hey, times have changed. It ain’t ’68. Rabid, wild-eyed contingents of young’uns are hard to come by these days.

We’ll have to wait awhile to see what financial benefit accrued to Denver. I’m sure the Hick and minions will ballyhoo the economic boost the Donkeys brought to Denver. And, they should. But, hopefully, most will view whatever rosy picture is painted by the Hick against the staggering cost of the confab. Indeed, what was the net financial result of the whole thing.

Denver, of course, was showcased across the nation, the world in a pretty positive manner. That’s a good thing. Those of us who love this city, could not escape a prideful moment here and there as we saw our city become the backdrop for every media organization who took the time to do just that: Showcase Denver.

So, all in all, it did go well. But the cost… Oh my God, the cost…

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13 Responses to DNC Exits Denver – A Few Conclusions

  1. Dave Grady says:

    The cost to the People? The only government monies spent on the convention were federal monies for security costs – and that money went to the pockets of those providing goods and services… in other words, to the People!

    Or were you disappointed that Denver was able to wrangle an additional $46 million from “Fat Cats”, which also was spent on goods and services – often of the very local variety.

    And that’s to say nothing of all the travel costs and discretionary expenses of folks as they wandered in around our fair land.

    Used to be a time when outsiders lavishing millions and millions of dollars in the city was counted a good thing. The benefits… Oh my God, the benefits!

  2. georgeindenver says:

    Gee, Dave, I guess $100 Million of the PEOPLE’S money to throw these unnecessary, senseless coronations–both DNC and RNC–is just a wee drop in the bucket, huh. And, that $46 Million from the “fat cats…” Gosh, Dave, that money could have built crystal palaces for the Hick’s homeless initiative. But, then, politics trumps all, doesn’t it. But, the point remains that we THE PEOPLE really need to see a the NET realized from this grotesque, archaic display of big egos burning bright and hot in the some skewed notion of what democracy really means. I don’t suspect Hick and crew to actually sharpen that pencil and consider the REAL COSTS TO THE PEOPLE as opposed to the revenues you note. And, oh, by the way… If you think there is something reasonable in the Department of Justice handing over $50 Million for “security” contingencies for these shindigs, then let’s, just right off the top, put that sharp pencil to work and dedcut $50 Million from any NET proceeds claimed to be realized.

    I could go on, but, hell, ain’t gonna change your mind. By the way, you missed the central point of my post which is in quotes. Read a bit more carefully next time.

    Thanks, so much for your comment.

    P.S. Had a thought… All of that sales tax, lodgers tax and whatever other revenues the city realized from the DNC, why couldn’t that be used to lower my property taxes. Now, that’s a reasonable proposition.

  3. Dave Grady says:

    You’re missing the point. $100 million was the amount it cost to put on the convention; it was not the amount spent by The People. The funds were provided almost entirely by the government, corporate donors, and wealthy philanthropists.

    Once you admit that, you inevitably come to the conclusion that this was a huge plus for Denver… and most especially the city’s People.

  4. georgeindenver says:

    Ahem, Dave… Grants from the Department of Justice in the amount of $50 Million for the DNC, $50 Million to the RNC–now, ready carefully, Dave–ARE MONIES GENERATED THROUGH TAXES WHICH, YES, THE PEOPLE PAY. Who, Dave, do you think the “government” is and where, Dave, does the government get the funds to operate.

    This was a “plus” for Denver is many more ways than the generation of revenue. But, Dave, I’m kinda, well, ONE OF THE PEOPLE, and ain’t no extra cash in my wallet as a result of the DNC. Go figure… As a matter of fact–as reported in the NEWS this morning–some area businesses suffered up to twenty percent losses as a direct result of the DNC.

    So, the proof of how economically successful Denver was in hosting the DNC will be in the pudding. But, alas, the Hick and crew will not go to the trouble to make pudding, they’ll make pabulum, happy-crappy pabulum, the ingredients of which will, bet you a buck, not include the immense costs suffered by downtown business (not vendors) whose contingencies for this confab cost a bundle, not only in the lost worker time, but in the tactical measures they had to take to assure the safety of their property and their employees.

    I’m happy the DNC came to town. I’m happy Denver tax revenues will benefit. But, again, there are those other costs that will never be figured into the equation. And, as a consequence, we’ll probably never know the TRUE cost/benefit of this event.

    Thanks for your thoughts, Dave.

  5. Dave Grady says:

    I used to be a math teacher, so I’m going to break this down for you.

    The city of Denver has 570,000 residents. Given the US population of 305,000,000, Denver residents represent 0.19% of the national population.

    If the federal government spends $50,000,000 from its general fund, each Denver resident pays 0.19% of that.

    Get out your sharp pencil, and you can calculate your personal contribution to the Democratic National Convention.

    Your share was $1.64.

    This is what you’re railing against? The massive outlay of The People’s money? The event with a questionable net benefit to Denver? Please.

  6. georgeindenver says:

    Ahah! A math teacher. How did I know that! It’s uncanny. Getting into that 2+2 and x=y stuff kinda tends toward seeing the world in black and white terms.

    THE PEOPLE is THE PEOPLE. Not just me or you. It’s a concept encompassed in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution. Even a math teacher can understand that…I hope. Just an aside…democracy is kinda the same thing: a concept that doesn’t fit easily into that black and white math stuff.

    Think Big, Dave. Where else could $100,000,000 of THE PEOPLE’S money be spent? Think there might be a more worthy cause out there in the hinterland, the slums of America? Think AIDS research could use any extra $100 Mil? Or cancer research, or education, or environmental concerns? What about Social Security? Sure, that $100 Mil would, indeed, be a drop in the bucket there. But, it might help a wee bit, don’t you think, Dave? What about America’s crumbling infrastructure? Our immense trade deficit? Our National Debt?

    See, Dave, the problem is priorities…even for my measly $1.64. The problem for me is, I think my $1.64 should have gone elsewhere. Guess you don’t agree there are better ways to spend THE PEOPLE’S money.

    As to the “net benefit” of the convention. As I said, we’ll probably never really know the bottom line…just the pabulum from the politicians. Why, what more could we expect?

  7. georgeindenver says:

    Since Dave Grady provided yet another response to my response to his response… You get the gist. Something of a reductio ad absurdum exercise. I thought is would just be easier for me to provide his latest with each paragraph of my response bookended with **. Happy Reading.

    Let’s talk priorities, then. You mentioned several items above, asking to rate the spending on the DNC versus other options.

    How much difference could we have made by reallocating that money? You could increase the spending in AIDS or cancer by 2%, infrastructure by 1.5%, or education by 0.01%. In other words, you’d be fiddling around the margins. Hell, there’s probably 10% of waste, fraud, and abuse in EACH of the above areas.

    **Hey, Dave, that’s exactly my point. Why don’t we “fiddle around the margins” a bit. Can’t hurt. Might help. As to “waste, fraud, and abuse,” methinks you’ve lost sight of the premise of all the expenditures the Feds anticipated for the DNC. Their—Homeland Security, FBI, Secret Service—“intelligence” suggested hoards of wild-eyed, bra-burning, long-haired, urine and shit tossing, brick throwing, anarchistic lowlifes ascending upon Denver for the DNC. How good was their intelligence? Probably as good as that intelligence that defined Saddam Hussein as the antichrist, and, therefore, inexorably the enemy, and therefore, the source of the 9/11 attacks, and therefore, let’s just head into Iraq, destroy their country, kill hundreds of thousands of their people, thousands of our own young men and women and… Well, for what? What has all of this been for? What has it accomplished, except to place the United States of America in the eyes of the world as an aggressor of immense proportions, teetering on the edge of becoming a second rate power, with very little integrity, with no moral compass, with a dipshit for a president and… Bin Laden still thrives. Dubya missed the boat, didn’t pursue him where we knew he was. And, Dave, you’re asking me to take seriously the “intelligence” provided by the Feds in anticipation of the DNC coming to Denver and the $50 Million price tag associated with that “intelligence?” Give me a fucking break!**

    But it’s always the cynic that thinks about the costs and never about the gains. The main reason the federal government provides security for these conventions is that we think we’re better off as a nation if our national leaders aren’t assassinated, and to ensure that terrorists can’t strike at us on our homelands. Is any of that important to you?

    **Oh, I see fear here, Dave. You’re afraid, aren’t you. You’ve bought Dubya’s and Cheney’s and Rove’s talking points lock, stock and barrel. Haven’t you, Dave. I’m sorry for you. I cannot imagine the constant peek over the shoulder, the perpetual on-your-toes mentality, the consistent wonder if the dark-haired, dark-eyed guy next to you on the bus or the street corner is a—Oh, my God! Grab your magnum, Ethel—terrorist. Be afraid, Dave. Be very afraid. You gyrate the very cockles of John McCain’s heart.**

    Then we have to spend some money to ensure the events (and The People, and our democracy) are held safe from those who want to attack us.

    **Ahem… See prior response.**

    Is it a lot of money? In personal budget terms, sure. But since this is a matter of Homeland Security, let’s compare the convention spending to the department’s annual budget: $46.4 billion. That’s one tenth of one percent. Not exactly a significant target to focus on, is it?

    You want to do something about our federal debt. That’s admirable. So how do we begin to make a dent into that $9.6 trillion?

    **You begin to make a dent, Dave, by taking my fucking one-dollar and whatever cents it was and begin to draw down that debt.**

    The Iraq War has cost us $600 billion so far. That’s a pretty penny isn’t it? In fact, that’s TWELVE THOUSAND TIMES more costly than the DNC. So why is it that you focus on a relatively piddling amount of money for an event which, if attacked, would have changed the course of our country’s history and democracy?

    **Oh, so much fear. Get a Doberman, Dave. Get an AK-47. Build a bomb shelter. Teach your wife Karate.**

    I’ll give you the answer. It’s because you’re not a historian, as I am. You loved the thought of pigeonholing me as a math teacher, but I explained that as one of my former jobs, and you immediately saw that as my defining characteristic. In the same way, rather than seeing the actual Big Picture of this event against the backdrop of American history and actual federal outlays, you decided to play it as a small event suitable for demonizing “Hick and minions” and lamenting money you didn’t even lose.

    **Ah, Dave, be not so quick. I did not spend five years acquiring degrees in history to be “pigeonholed” by you. And, I thought you told me it cost me one-dollar and some fucking cents to provide security for the Donkey Dance. Now you’re telling me it ain’t so, that it was money I “didn’t even lose.” C’mon, Dave, did it cost me money or didn’t it. Take a look back at the “history” of our exchanges. I’m sure you told me what the Donkey dance cost me directly, out-of-tax-pocket.**

    Well, maybe this won’t go down as a momentous event in American history, but I for one am thankful for that fact, and for the fact that we provided appropriate resources.

    **Dave, you’re a gem. Self-righteous and certain that the truth of our country, the truth of our republic lies somewhere within the shell that Dubya and his minions have so labored to drill into our heads for so long, so very fucking long. Excuse my language, but it’s clear you’ve bought the Dubya crap for so long that you can’t even dig yourself out of that fearsome hole to read, to understand the lessons of our history. Yes, your inner truth has emerged here, Dave. I leave it to Franklin Roosevelt to provide your little history lesson tonight (and I paraphrase): “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.”**

    **Finis. Signed. Sealed. Delivered.

    **Be well, Dave. I know I will. Fear does not invade my sleep, my psyche, my belief that the promise of this democracy is not encased in some adamantine shell of fearsome loathing. I’m better than that. Our country is better than that.**


  8. I have to give props to the CO GOP, they’ve clearly got their base fired up and patrolling the blogs, bashing anyone that doesn’t cry ‘Hail Bush!’ at the sound of his Praetorians ‘knocking the f–k out innocent people’.

    Dave Grady, if you think the assault on that young woman and the television reporter was ‘fair’ or ‘American’ – I believe you are wrong.

    Keep in mind, if you would ally yourself with such thugs, one day YOUR turn will come. The wheel always turns. Closing your eyes to evil done in the name of the State is the cancer killing this country.

    Be careful of your choices Dave Grady, karma will find you, not us.

    God Bless America, may she one day shine again.

  9. georgeindenver says:


    Thank’s for the perspective. From the above string between Mister Grady and me, the inevitable progression of “first principles” from these “types” (being nice here) emerges when their logic fails. Fear. Fear. Fear.

    Funny how the conversation went from my assertion that national political conventions are, in this day and age, absurdly costly and unnecessary, to the proposition that somehow fear keeps us a safe, great nation. But, such is the polemic these day.

    Thanks, again


  10. Suz at Large says:

    Hey, George.

    Kudos for boiling down all that exchange with Mr. Grady but to tell ya the truth I pretty much skimmed over the last parts of it. You made some good points and he just wants to quibble.

    I too question why the hell any political party has to have the kind of pure-PR-and-marketing four-day show that the DNC and RNC have become. Especially at such expense to the national government, because inevitably there has to be security beyond what you could expect any local government to afford. And in my perception, that serious security situation goes way back to November 22, 1963 and has only escalated as the world has moved through the last half-century or so, including the spring/summer of 1968, the WTO debacle in Seattle in 1999, and September 11, 2001.

    I also think the cops overall did well, of course not including the lamentable exception you blogged about here. (Duh, you do wonder if the guy had, like, noticed all those cameras?)

    One of the Denver Post’s kneejerk left-ish columnists (to balance the kneejerk right-wing neocon Harsayni) bleated today about the alleged heavy police presence and how it spoiled things for somebody or other and her granddaughter. I can only do eyerolls. Um, maybe it would be a good teaching moment: people who were heads of organizations were promising publicly (including under oath in federal court) that tens and tens of thousands were coming to march in our streets. Some of those people were vowing to “disrupt” the convention – which is not a passive thing. So based on all the available information, the City had to prepare. That number of cops would not have been so noticeable in a throng of tens of thousands. Grandma might in fact have been relieved to see a few of them in such a case.

    I don’t know if the younger generation is lacking wild-eyed rabid contingents, but Glen Spagnoodles, he who commutes from Highland Ranch to organize and speak for the pissed and dispossessed, sure didn’t bring in the thousands of demonstrators that Recreate 68 constantly told us to look for. I was 28 years old in 1968, I did march against the Vietnam war back then, and 1968 is the *last* year we would ever want or need to re-create, believe me. Assassinations, riots in US cities, and all of it: Bah.

    The Iraq Vets against the War, however, showed us how it’s done: (1) Have a coherent message, (2) organize the group to get it delivered, (3) carry out the plan, (4) with some self-respect and dignity. I saw reports and pictures that after that one was over, several of the marchers shook hands with the cops. (Despite the Rocky Mountain News reporters posting “tensions are escalating!” stories when the march had reached the Pepsi Center.) The cops also showed how to handle a situation with some grace and effectiveness.

    I have just heard from the teevee news that W. and Cheney (aka the Lord of Darkness) are not going to attend the Republican National Convention on account of Hurricane Gustav. Damn, that John McCain is one lucky dude – he won’t have to pose for any pictures onstage with either W or Cheney, and the whole toxic Presidency won’t be on parade there.

    Wonder how many demonstrators will turn up in the Twin Cities?

  11. Suz at Large says:

    Oops, let’s don’t age me too much. I was 20 (not 28) years old in 1968. if you can edit that, would ya?



    PS, yes I turned the Big Six-Oh at the end of June. Ouch.

  12. Stephen says:

    As a late-20s, Denver-born, progressive gay man, you can take this comment for all that it is worth (determined by the reader), but I have to take umbrage at the outrage with regards to the dog-and-pony show that is the DNC this year.

    In 2001, this country was attacked by a group of Saudi Arabians working out of Pakistan, Germany, and Iran. In 1941, this country was attacked by a large contingent of Japanese pilots. In the latter, our president told us there was “nothing to fear but fear itself.” This is a meaningless platitude. It says nothing at all, except that as a country, we can group up to manage any threat–at least, that’s how we (audaciously) interpreted it. In the former, our president said to the world, “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” This is a dark and depressing comment, breaking global communication and allegiances into black and white. No doubt this ties our country to vicious dictators and evil men just because they don’t like “terrorists.” This puts Saudi Arabia on our allies list.

    The reason I bring this up is that before 2001, my government at least pretended to care about me. My government spewed mindless and meaningless platitudes at me in an effort to make me feel better about my tax dollars. In 2001, that stopped. Frankly, I want my platitudes back. I want my politicians to care about making me happy, even all they must do is appear to care about me–and I’ll chuck my $1.64 into any bin earmarked for this purpose any day of the week.

    That’s what makes the DNC important to me. And I suppose that makes me one of the most jaded men in history.

  13. georgeindenver says:

    Stephen, thanks for your comment.

    I do need to relate that the quote from FDR came from his First Inaugural Address, delivered in March, 1933. In the context of the speech, I do not believe the “Nothing to fear…” quote constituted a “…meaningless platitude…” You will recall, Roosevelt came to the Oval Office in the deepest, most desperate period of the Depression. His speech was a precursor to the immense battle he would pursue to restore America’s faith in itself economically, socially. Pearl Harbor would not come for another eight years.

    FDR, born to the elite, living a charmed life, forsook his past of privilege and created/restructured this country’s social/economic institutions in such a way that, if you had lived during that time, you would have–I have no doubt–believed he cared about you personally.

    If you read, or watch, or listen to the speech at “American Rhetoric” http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/fdrfirstinaugural.html I believe you, as I have, will be struck with the litany of America’s ills at the time, which so closely mirror what we see today.

    Jaded? No. I think national political conventions are archaic and unnecessary. They enable “platitudes.” One can only hope the platitudes of the DNC were real, genuine, heartfelt and, yes, applicable to you and me…not just oratory that grabbed the media’s attention, and pleased the politicians.

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