Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Republicans and cities: Ill-starred romance?

From Wikipedia.com
With a graphic that mimicked the famous 1975 New York Daily News headline: "FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD" the last Sunday's New York Times Review section had this headline: "REPUBLICANS TO CITIES: DROP DEAD." It topped an article headlined "How the GOP Became the Anti-Urban Party."

"The fact is that cities don’t count anymore — at least not in national Republican politics. The very word “city” went all but unheard at the Republican convention, held in the rudimentary city of Tampa, Fla.," wrote Kevin Baker, author of the "City of Fire" series of historical novels.

To be fair, he also notes this about the Democratic presidential campaign: "There wasn’t so much as a mention of cities in the debate on domestic issues the presidential candidates had last week. Nor did the Democrats have much to say about cities at their convention in Charlotte, N.C." At least he didn't call Charlotte a "rudimentary city."

Are Republicans anti-city? If so,why, and if not, why not? Not a few political observers have noted, for instance, that in North Carolina, Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory, former mayor of Charlotte, is running ads that mention he was mayor but neglect to say he was mayor of Charlotte, the state's largest city. [Mike Collins, host of WFAE's "Charlotte Talks" radio show this morning asked McCrory about that, during an interview. McCrory said about half his ads mention Charlotte and said there isn't much time in some ads to say very much.]

Obviously, there is anti-Charlotte sentiment in some parts of North Carolina, and in my observation it's not so much a Republican-Democrat thing as a rural-urban thing and as Charlotte is blessed with a robust and bipartisan phalanx of boosters who display great zest for their city a "We don't like braggers" thing.

What should the candidates be saying about cities? Weigh in below, if you have thoughts.

(Note: I moderate comments for obscenity, insults, lack of civility, etc., but not for the opinions expressed. So if your comment doesn't instantly appear, please don't be discouraged. )