The Republican National Convention will be a three-day affair, much like the Democratic convention this year. RNC Chair Reince Priebus announced yesterday that, because of the threat of Hurricane Isaac, the convention will quickly gavel into session and then adjourn on Monday, returning Tuesday for the remainder of the events.
The initial plan was to formally nominate Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate on Monday, but that will now be postponed until Tuesday. Romney has a glut of funds earmarked for the general election that he has not been able to access under the nomination becomes official. So that will get pushed back 24 hours.
Anecdotally, I’ve heard that many people are having trouble getting to Tampa by air. The high winds and precipitation associated with Isaac has led to the cancellation of several flights into central Florida.
Despite this abundance of caution on the part of convention planners and the airlines, it looks as if the storm will mostly miss Tampa. Isaac’s new path includes the Florida Keys, and then through the Gulf of Mexico, picking up strength to a Category 2 hurricane, before landing in the northern Gulf Coast on Tuesday or Wednesday, somewhere around Alabama. The range of possibilities for the hurricane ominously includes New Orleans. Tampa could get what amounts to tropical storm-like conditions, including rain and strong winds.
The worst of the weather effects in Tampa could be seen Tuesday, not Monday, leading me to wonder if the lack of broadcast TV coverage had more to do with the cancellation than the threat of the storm. With the three major networks all scaling back their convention coverage to one hour a night on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, my guess is that future conventions will all move to three days rather than four. This is the second straight convention truncated by hurricanes on the Republican side (the 2008 RNC took Monday off because of Hurricane Gustav, mainly because George W. Bush was scheduled to speak that day and putting “Bush” and “hurricane” together in people’s minds was considered bad form), and the DNC was already planned for a three-day affair this year.
RNC officials say they plan to cram in all the speeches scheduled over the four-day period into the three days. Among those scheduled for Monday night addresses was former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, also known as the last friend to Todd Akin in the Republican Party.
In addition to the country getting a reprieve from a whole day of speeches about big government and Kenyan colonial socialism, residents in Tampa will get a reprieve during the convention from foreclosure.
With the Republican National Convention coming and Tropical Storm Isaac right behind, who has time for evictions?
Strapped for manpower, Hillsborough sheriff’s deputies next week will temporarily stop serving notices of foreclosures and evictions.
For distressed residents in Tampa and across the county, that could mean an extra week of breathing room.
Hillsborough’s 2,500 deputies, sheriff’s spokesman Larry McKinnon said, will already have a heck of a to-do list, staffing the convention and dealing with any havoc that blows in from the looming tropical storm.
Posting eviction notices? “That’s like worrying about Pluto right now,” McKinnon said. “It’d be silly … if we’ve got traffic gridlock, traffic lights out, trees down everywhere, and we’re out serving evictions.”
I’ll bet lots of cities in Florida and around the country are hoping for some big convention to come to town right about now and distract their sheriff’s deputies from carrying out foreclosures.