With much of the Republican political Establishment and its brave chroniclers from the news media hunkered down in Tampa, nearby, the Tropical Storm Isaac continues not to care. Although new forecasts have the potential hurricane missing a direct hit on the Republican National Convention and instead threatening the Gulf Coast, Isaac has already crashed Mitt Romney's big party and could still result in the cancellation of the whole thing.
The Boston Globe reports that Romney's staff, while moving forward with plans for a three-day convention, "also realizes that Isaac's potentially horrid wrath could eclipse any bunting-draped imagery they generate inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum." And appearing callous could "render the whole convention exercise a net loss for their candidate, rather than a positive force propelling him into the fall campaign."
Along with the optics of humanity, there are also practical matters to worry about, the Times reports, like media coverage: "even if the storm largely bypasses this region, it holds the risk of creating an uncomfortable split-screen image, especially if it continues barreling toward New Orleans. The governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama declared states of emergency in anticipation of the storm."
News outlets are now predictably obsessed with the storm's path now, especially with the new beefed-up stakes: Isaac, following an all too familiar path, could hit New Orleans on or near the anniversary of Hurrican Katrina. Already Fox News has sent anchor Shep Smith to Louisiana, while the city is bracing for a category 1 or 2 storm and thousands in the tri-state area have been advised to evacuate. This morning, Isaac sits ominously south of Alabama.
"It'll be a great convention," said Romney yesterday, hoping to maintain a sunny outlook without appearing insensitive. "I hope everybody's fine there. I'm concerned about the people that are going to be affected by it." Ahem.