Republicans picked Cleveland to host their 2016 national convention, and the city, writes the Plain Dealer's Stephen Koff, "is swooning over its victory."
No kidding. "Huge day for our city. Has anything ever happened here that's bigger?"tweeted Aaron Goldhammer, co-host of ESPN Cleveland's morning sports show. Ed FitzGerald, Cuyahoga County's elected executive and the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor of Ohio, rejoiced in the GOP's confirmation "that Cleveland is now in the middle of a historic renaissance." Local folk hero Charles Ramsey, who last year saved three Cleveland women held hostage for 10 years, told a TV interviewer that news of the coming Republican convention made him "giddy … happy as a clam."
Though I've spent more than half my life in Boston, I'm a born-and-bred Clevelander, so none of this delirium surprises me. To grow up in Cleveland in the 1960s and 1970s was to live in the Rodney Dangerfield of cities — the town with the inflammable river and mayoral hair, the butt of endless jokes on "Laugh-In," the home of a ball club so desperate for fans that it offered ten-cent beer as a promotion and wound up with a drunken ninth-inning riot. Is it any wonder Cleveland developed a persistent inferiority complex? There are only so many times a city can hear itself mocked as the "mistake on the lake" before taking the put-down to heart.