Taxpayers Should Request a Refund When Congress Reconvenes Next Week
Did you know that both the Republican and Democratic conventions receive taxpayer subsidies? They was not the reason why I skipped Tampa this year, the first convention since 1992 that I do not attend. It does, however, remind us all of how out of touch leaders of both political parties are these days. John Fund from the Wall Street Journal posted an item about this at National Review Online. This is not new. It has happened in prior years.
Tampa was the first convention I watched on television, rather than live and in person. It was a great show but was it politically necessary? There are good arguments on both sides of this mostly insider issue. Up until the last GOP convention, I would have said your nuts to get rid of them. Now I am not so sure that, as currently set up, they are worth the time or effort they require to do right.
At a personal level the 2008 Minnesota GOP convention was a political catharsis. Deep down, die hard party folks sensed that the McCain-Palin ticket would have a tough time defeating an already almost historical-like figure. Did we really need to spend millions of dollars and days at a convention? Could that money and time have been put to better use on a sharper ground game or other political effort? Could we have introduced Palin in another venue? Did we harness the power of technology correctly?
One thing is certain, the taxpayer should not foot any of the expenses for the political conventions and in 2016 we should make it so. We should also seriously explore how to remake the political convention process, especially when most of the substantive business of the convention is completed way before the main event, the nominating speeches. The party convention is not the place to change our image. We are supposed to be doing that every day, at the grass and net roots.
When Congress reconvenes next week, a bill should be introduced requiring both political parties to refund taxpayers for any federal funding used at the political conventions this year.