Political Convention-Hurricane Trivia
The last time a major hurricane made a direct hit on Tampa was when Warren G. Harding was president. (It was 1921, a nonconvention year.) But if there is one thing that politicians dislike, it is unscripted, unpredictable events, especially ones with biblical names. With 50,000 people scheduled to arrive by Monday, and hordes of journalists watching and waiting, Tropical Storm Isaac is draining valuable time and attention away from the convention itself.
Democrats are patting themselves on the back. Howard Dean, who ran for president in 2004 and once led the Democratic National Committee, said the party had long ago agreed to stay out of Florida during the summer. Too risky, he said. The last convention held in Florida was in 1972, when both Democrats and Republicans gathered at Miami Beach. “It’s right in the middle of hurricane season,” Mr. Dean said. “You can’t take that chance.”
This is not the first time a Republican convention has wrangled with a hurricane; it managed to do so in 2008, even from a city seemingly as hurricane-proof as St. Paul, Minn. That year, Hurricane Gustav barreled into the Louisiana coast, delaying the first day of the convention out of respect for the victims. (Minnesota had been chosen over Tampa for the convention, in part because of hurricane concerns.)