The Republicans, who gather in Tampa, Fla., on Monday, are generally better at this — 2008 being an exception — than the Democrats. But this time the Republicans face a peculiar set of problems.
Most of the speeches will feature pointed criticisms of President Barack Obama and reminders about how the country would be much better off under the Republicans.
The organizers had planned to focus the convention on Obama’s abysmal record on jobs and the economy. You can be sure that the destructiveness of Obamacare will come in for its deserved share of attacks as well.
But unexpectedly, events, including even the weather, have conspired to have the delegates and the country talking about everything but the convention. It’s possible that Tropical Storm Isaac could become a hurricane and hit Tampa on Monday, the opening day of the convention. Just the threat of a hurricane means that even before the delegates arrive in Tampa they’ll be worrying about how they’re going to get out of Tampa.
No word will be said on the convention floor but the hallways will be buzzing about Rep. Todd Akin, the party’s Senate candidate in Missouri. Akin made himself unelectable, and may have cost the GOP control of the Senate, with coarse remarks about rape and an ignorance of the female anatomy that argued strongly for requiring sex education in our public schools.
Akin has resisted calls from every major Republican, including Mitt Romney himself, to get out of the race, making himself look incredibly self-centered. And thanks to Akin’s idiocy and stubbornness, the right-to-life movement is suffering plenty of collateral damage as well.
Meanwhile, the organizers are glued to the website of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (whose parent agency several GOP presidential candidates wanted to abolish) tracking the path of Isaac and another tropical storm behind it, hoping the weather cooperates. Not much else has so far.