Shuster's convention notebook: Will Hurricane Isaac cause chaos?
By David Shuster / current.com / @DavidShuster
From now until September 7, I'm going to fill this space with daily notes, observations and thoughts about the political conventions.
I hadn't planned to start this notebook until Sunday, the day I'm scheduled to arrive in Tampa for the Republican convention. But given the latest track of tropical storm Isaac (soon to be known as Hurricane Isaac) and an amusing e-mail I received from the Tampa hotel where I'm staying, I'm going to start this blog effort now. First of all, I covered Hurricane Katrina (August 2005) from Biloxi, Miss., the point along the gulf coast where the winds and storm surge were the most severe. It was the most memorable story of my career. As a result, I'm a bit cynical and jaded when I read reports about potential "chaos" or "destruction" with Hurricane Isaac.
Destruction, eh? I've seen destruction ... and I'm willing to bet my convention credentials Tampa won't see that kind of damage or trouble.
However, the possibility of some disruption to the Republican convention is real. Isaac will turn into a hurricane on Friday and could begin to offer some clues to its storm path by Friday night.
A jog west into the Gulf of Mexico — whose warm waters would add energy to the storm — followed by a move to the north could put Tampa in the "impact zone" as I like to call it, starting Monday morning.
Bob Buckhorn, the mayor of Tampa, has even raised the prospect that the GOP convention might have to be delayed or canceled. He told CNN, "Absolutely we're prepared to call it off," though he later added, "I don't think it will come to that." Indeed, the hotel where I'm staying in North Tampa is already convinced the hurricane won't be a big deal. Or perhaps the hotel manager just wants to avoid a slew of cancellations from panicky convention delegates.
Watch Jennifer Granholm talk about the
GOP's 2012 convention platform
The hotel manager just sent a note to next week's guests, saying, "The storm should not pose a major problem, and the city has been planning for this type of thing from the beginning. Anything less than a Category 3 is no big deal for us, and our hotel and most of the city will not be affected. Much rain, that’s it. So please do not allow your attendees to panic. … Normal drill for us." First of all, it is possible Issac will reach Category 3 levels, particularly if it swings over the gulf. Second, I can only imagine the headache at the concierge desk if delegates from landlocked states start to panic.
Maybe that's why the hotel manager's e-mail closed with vacation imagery and references to the beautiful swimming pool. The manager wrote, "Our pool is located on a wildlife preserve and is very nice. The bar will be open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly, room service too. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available at our hotel, and visit our website for pictures and advance dreaming of deliciousness."
Deliciousness, eh? Romney is losing in all major polls, a hurricane is starting to bear down on his convention, and everything in northern Florida — including hotel swimming pools — will probably be drenched by rain for a few days.
Perhaps the hotel manager is a Democrat?
(Photo from Getty images)
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