Sad commentary but no surprise: New Orleans has dropped its bid to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention. As Congressional Quarterly reports, officials say they need to focus on rebuilding their city instead.
"New Orleans is open to conventions and meetings," a spokeswoman for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau tells CQ. "It's not an example that we can't handle it. We have more immediate needs to focus on right now.
Holding the convention in New Orleans -- Baghdad really wouldn't have worked -- would have helped Democrats put a fine point on the failings of the Bush administration. We were always of two minds about the idea. On the one hand, it felt a little too much like the Republicans' efforts to cash in on 9/11 by hosting their 2004 convention in New York -- and it would have led to the inevitable stories about more pressing reconstruction efforts being postponed or about people in need being displaced. On the other hand, the Democrats need to focus on the Bush administration's failings in places like New Orleans, and cashing in on 9/11 sure didn't seem to hurt the GOP any in 2004.
So what now?
With New Orleans out, the Democrats will have to choose from New York, Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul. New York and Minneapolis-St. Paul are on the Republicans' shortlist, too, as are Cleveland and Tampa-St. Petersburg. As CQ notes, it's probably logistically impossible for any city to host both conventions in 2008 because they're running virtually back to back: The Democrats are scheduled for Aug. 25-28, with the Republicans to follow Sept. 1-4.