In their lead editorial this morning, the Tampa Tribune takes aim at anyone questioning the idea of hosting a major event like a political convention at the apex of hurricane season in the Sunshine State, what with tropical storm Isaac aiming its way towards Tampa Bay as of this morning.
Fair enough, but this is important for people to remember: In 2006, one of the factors working against Tampa getting the 2008 convention was the fact that that there had been a little storm called Katrina the year before, and there were four major hurricanes in Florida within seven weeks in August-September of 2004. It absolutely was a factor in why St. Paul got the nod over Tampa, because those hurricanes were still fresh in the minds of high-ranking Republicans, as they would be during the 2008 RNC, when the first day of the convention was cancelled for a storm that was scheduled to hit nearly a thousand miles away in Texas!
But in 2010 when Charlie Crist and Al Austin held a news conference with then RNC chair Michael Steele, and reporters brought up the hurricane question as Tampa again vied for the next GOP convention, they and other officials essentially laughed it off, referencing the fact that Tampa hadn't had a major storm hit in nearly 80 years. My point simply is that the potential for a big storm was something that concerned Republicans at one point, but then the passage of time reduced that anxiety.
Activists planning a major protest in Tampa on Monday say they're not going to wimp out because of Isaac.
(Check out blog later today for our story questioning the assumption of how many protesters will actually be coming to Tampa).
The Wednesday night schedule for the RNC was announced yesterday. Jeb Bush, Condi Rice and Tim Pawlenty are the big stars.
Among the thousands of big-name Republicans descending upon Tampa next week is the man who calls himself "America's toughest sheriff," Arizona's Joe Arpaio. An immigration rights group announced that they will be making their presence felt here to protest his speech, which will take place at Lowry Park Zoo.
And I'll have plenty to say regarding the upcoming convention on my regular Thursday afternoon slot on WMNF 88.5 FM's Last Call program that airs between 5-6 p.m.