Don't get me wrong. I thought the convention center was a terrible idea. Hell, if you've read me for any length of time, you know that "terrible idea" is an understatement. But the hole is dug.
Now, we have to sell that thing like it's the best thing that ever happened — not only to this city, but to whatever industries remain where people still get together in large groups. You know, instead of sitting at their desks doodling as they listen in on a conference call, while someone somewhere takes over their computer to show them a Powerpoint presentation that says the exact same things the dude is saying on the phone.
If this convention center is going to work, it's only going to work because Nashville seems like a better destination than all of the other places that have convention centers. It takes a wild kind of arrogance to believe that your city is going to succeed where others are failing. But let's be honest: that kind of arrogance backed up by success? That can be very, very good for a city.
I think that's what Mayor Dean is gambling on. And now, all our chips are riding with him.
So, yeah, I hear Mayor Dean when he addresses the Rotary Club and talks about how the economic boycotts against Arizona brought on by their immigration laws have been a bat to the knees of their convention and tourism business.
And I, too, wonder if the supposedly more business-friendly Republicans are willing for the whole state to take the economic hit just so that they can score political points. And I wonder how bad the fallout will be for Nashville when Republicans do pass those laws.
It'd be something if it wasn't the economy and the changing nature of conventions that ended up being the Achilles' heel of the convention center, but Republican lawmakers.