Monday, May 7, 2012

No Room At the Embassy For Florida

As usual Chris Ingram takes his shots at Marco Rubio, but snark aside it's worth a read.

The Republican National Committee recently released the hotel assignments for state delegations at the convention in Tampa this summer.

The Florida delegation was severely penalized with an assignment at the lovely Innisbrook Resort — 40 miles away and probably a two-hour commute from downtown Tampa the week of the convention. The RNC's slight came as a result of the Legislature (dominated by Republicans) thumbing its nose at the RNC when the state chose a presidential preference primary date outside the committee's preferences.

The RNC retaliation means Florida delegates will have the longest commute of any delegates and will have to endure long days on their feet without a chance for a mid-afternoon nap, or a place to freshen up before the prime-time activities.

The District of Columbia, which has about 287 resident Republicans when Congress is not in session, scored the Wyndham Tampa Westshore. Even the delegation of the postage-stamp-size island of Guam fared better, with an assignment at the Clearwater Beach Hilton.

If you believe in reading between the lines, the hotel assignment suggests all the talk about Sen. Marco Rubio being on Mitt Romney's short list for vice president is just hype. Rubio will be lamenting all those unexplainable American Express card charges while riding a bus down U.S. 19 on his way to the convention center. If he stays for the duration of activities, he'll get back to his room at 12:30 a.m. at the earliest. Poor Marco, his parents' trip from exile (or not) in Cuba didn't take that long.

Meanwhile, just a stone's throw away from the Forum and the Tampa Convention Center sits the Embassy Suites Downtown Convention Center. The name does it justice. The only hotel closer to the convention center than the Embassy Suites is the Tampa Marriott Waterside. Mitt Romney and the Massachusetts delegation will be living large there.

Who got the Embassy Suites?

First, it's important to recognize that despite looking good in a dark suit, sounding all high and mighty on important issues such as runaway federal spending, and generally appearing to be serious souls, Republicans are just as childish about meaningless stuff such as hotel rooms as, well, a fifth-grader. Access to the convention site, proximity to the best restaurants and bars, being inside the security zone, and not having to ride a bus (a really big deal if you're a Republican) are almost as important as fighting over abortion and gays in the party's meaningless platform.

The RNC (and to a large degree the Romney campaign) is loving Michigan, though. Detroit, Michigan's largest city, is home to GM, the once-American company. Today, GM stands for Government Motors, and Detroit is the armpit of America. Once the fourth-largest U.S. city, Detroit is now ninth, and flight from the city continues. Michigan as a whole is overly reliant upon unionized, low-skilled industries. Built on a near-century-old economic model, Michigan's economy is broken for sure.

Michigan hasn't voted for the Republican nominee for president since 1988, when George H.W. Bush faced Michael Dukakis. But there is a reason Michigan got the second-best hotel assignment: Gov. Rick Snyder. My bet is he's Romney's man for vice president.

Make no mistake, Snyder isn't exactly a household name. His own website acknowledges that just two years ago he was "a virtual unknown in the political world." And while his parents didn't flee persecution (or not) of a Third World dictator, and he never billed household repairs to his Republican Party Amex card, and he never paid a hefty fine for campaign violations like one junior senator from Florida just did, Snyder knows how to get things done.

Snyder has delivered on campaign promises, including eliminating the state's business tax and replacing it with a flat tax. He also eliminated the state's $1.5 billion budget deficit — without partisan infighting or a government shutdown, as occurred with his predecessor.

Snyder doesn't have a "political career." What he has is real-world experience working for corporations such as Gateway and Coopers and Lybrand. He knows business, the negative effect high taxes have on the economy, and how to create jobs — not because someone wrote him a fancy speech but because he has lived it. He is also an attorney with an MBA.

In his first and only campaign, Snyder got 58 percent of the vote and demonstrated tremendous crossover appeal by picking up a significant chunk of the Democratic vote.

Snyder is the personification of what an elected official should be. He has business experience, and he is disciplined. Too bad he doesn't speak fluent Spanish.

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