Intrepid: GOP Tuesday Party
To hear members of the "greatest generation" tell it, there is nothing more patriotic than World War II.
At the USS Intrepid, the backdrop of vintage fighter jets and the narrative they invoke tends to overwhelm partisan politics. But in this election season a handful of swing states have assumed paramount importance, and the patriotic militarism of the past has taken a backseat to the political calculations of the present.
On the second night of the Republican National Convention, attention shifted from war rhetoric to electoral politics, and no state is under more scrutiny than Ohio.
Like the Democrats, the Republicans have showered Ohio with special favors, including a front row center spot on the convention floor. Representative Bob Ney of the 16th district of Ohio said that he scored the Intrepid for his convention after-party following a lengthy process of elimination.
At Ney’s party on Tuesday night on the deck of the great decommissioned aircraft-carrier now serving as a museum, the disco music pumped with the indisputable sounds of Donna Summer, Kool and the Gang and Stevie Wonder.
But no one danced, much to the chagrin of party organizers and the hot-dog vendors who were brought aboard to give the delegates a taste of New York.
There, in the midst of the antique World War II fighter jets that were so delicate that no guest could smoke within 300 yards of them, Congressman Ney stood receiving the guests at the party held in his honor.
Congressman Ney hails from a largely Democratic district. He has held his ground there for more than ten years – but this year he finds himself thrust into an electoral battle more important than anything he’s ever faced.
As he stood with his small but tenacious entourage in tow, sipping what appeared to be a gin and tonic, he took a few moments to discuss the treatment the Ohio delegation has received. While pleased at the New York welcome, he was downcast when asked to predict how his state would vote for president.
“It’s nuclear. They’ve been treating me extra special” Ney said. “But the other guy is going to win, though not by much,” he said, referring to John Kerry.
Two reporters had a moment to contemplate his explosive remarks before an Armani-clad aide approached and shooed them away. So they moved on, Donna Summers blaring in the background.
It was a lovely night. From the Intrepid, the view of the New York City skyline was absolutely astounding.
As the rest of the party was eating it up – hotdogs and beer on the flight deck of the Intrepid -- in the middle of the dance floor, where nobody seemed to be, suddenly, a man with a long white beard, clad in a emerald green blazer started rubbing, in a most inappropriate way, grinding if you will, along the backside of a middle aged woman.
The grand old party had begun.
By the hot-dog stand stood a GOP County Commissioner from Delaware, Ohio. Only 27, Kris Jacobsoncertainly has a bright future in the Ohio political world. But tonight he was off the clock -- and here to party. While Heinz 57 dripped onto his shirt, he offered an opinion as to why no one was dancing: “They’re pussies,” he said.
There were other GOP luminaries to be hold on the flight-deck:
Katherine Harris, smartly decked out in a black business suit with gold trim, said that she had enjoyed the convention’s evening program immensely. Harris, who played such a pivotal role in Florida’s 2000 recount as Florida Secretary of State said that she loved Arnold: “He was wonderful, I feel fortunate at having the chance to see him.”
Rick Lazio, the New York congressman who stepped in to face Hillary Clinton during the 2000 NY Senate race after Rudolf Giuliani withdrew after being diagnosed with prostate cancer hinted that he would run again, saying that he anticipated "one more tour of public service."
Meanwhile, Michal Attia, 27, a police officer on duty at the entrance to the Intrepid, said that he was waiting to go home. It had been a long-ass day.
“It sucks,” he said, “I’ve been on since 11AM and I was supposed to leave at midnight, but they told me to stay until the party ends at 2AM.”
As the party petered out under the shadow of the old aircraft carrier beside the intermittent roar of the West Side Highway, it was clear that GOP revelers had other places to go and people to see. As he flicked his cigarette aside before crossing the street, one older Republican lobbyist joked that while some politicians work to serve the people, he “makes money and f---- the public.”
by Caitlin and Sam