It now looks like the Republicans have dodged a bullet. Hurricane Isaac will not directly hit the part of Florida where they are holding their convention (Tampa). There will still be some bad weather, and the delegates will probably be getting wet, but now that the hurricane has shifted its course to the west the Republicans will be able to get on with their convention. For a while, there was speculation that the convention might have to be called off, but that won't happen now.
But while the GOP has dodged one bullet, there are a couple more that could also cause them serious damage. One is that the convention will not be able to completely hog the news as was hoped by the Republican Party. In a normal election year, the week of a party convention (by either political party) is dominated in the news by what is happening at the convention. And Willard Mitt Romney (aka Wall Street Willie) really needed that to happen this year. He is not liked by most Americans (even some of his supporters), and he needed the opportunity at the convention to redefine himself and try to make himself more likable.
But this year that's going to be harder to do, because the convention will be happening at the same time that Hurricane Isaac in making landfall. And much of the news-time that would have been spent covering the convention will now go to hurricane coverage -- both the storm and its aftermath. The Republicans will be lucky to get half the coverage they would have gotten if Hurricane Isaac did not exist (or did not threaten the United States).
The second is that Hurricane Isaac is now headed for the worst possible landfall location for the Republican Party -- the New Orleans area. It has only been seven years since Hurricane Katrina hit that area with devastating consequences, and the images of Katrina have not faded from the American consciousness. And another thing that is vividly remembered (to the embarrassment of Republicans) is the totally incompetent way the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was handled by the Bush administration -- with many storm survivors having to wait for days to get any help at all.
Right now, it doesn't look like Hurricane Isaac will cause the same devastation that Hurricane Katrina did (although that could change). But even so, the American people will be watching to see how the government reacts this time -- and comparisons of that reaction to the Bush failure of Katrina are inevitable. If President Obama is smart (and I believe he is), then he already has FEMA, the Coast Guard, and others ready to spring into action as soon as they know where they are needed. And any competence the Obama administration shows will make the Republican Party look bad by comparison.
The Republican Party certainly did not need this hurricane to happen at this time. It bears nothing for them but an ill wind.
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