To appreciate the alienation of New York Republicans, look no further than the state party Website, which offers, among its bright-red menu bar of links, a button that asks, “Why be Republican?” Would the Mississippi GOP need to sell its merits like this? Or even New Jersey’s? In a state where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by 5 to 3, and in a city where Al Gore beat George Bush by 4 to 1, declaring oneself a Republican is a recipe for pariahdom in certain circles—or quadrennial estrangement at cocktail parties, at the very least.
That will all change this week. For four brief, glorious days, New York Republicans will finally have their moment, as some 40,000 of their like-minded peers from around the nation flood midtown, momentarily bringing the political forces of the cosmos into blissful equipoise. To commemorate the occasion, New York decided to round up some of the city’s most prominent Republicans for a class picture that highlights the party’s evolution since Henry Kissinger and the Rockefeller boys carried the GOP mantle a few decades ago.
Authors and activists, politicians and publishers, the participants were in a jovial mood. Radio host Curtis Sliwa, who’s been evading the mob in an undisclosed hideout, came out of hiding for the event. Asked if he was ready for his head shot, he replied, “That’s what I was trying to avoid.” When the group was asked what kind of music it preferred, the New York Post’s John Podhoretz, a rock-and-roll buff and no stranger to self-parody, didn’t miss a beat. “Something nineteenth-century,” he joked. They settled for the Beach Boys instead.