TAMPA--Isaac increasingly seems like a really big problem for the Romney campaign. Cancelling Monday's convention schedule over local logistical concerns is no big deal. But yesterday it became increasingly evident, if not much discussed, that the tropical storm-cum-hurricane could imperil the impact of this convention.
Glen Johnson dared actually suggest, on Boston.com late last night, that the whole convention could end up being cancelled.
Trouble is, it looks like a hurricane will make landfall on the Gulf Coast sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday. America is avid extreme-weather watchers in any case, but hurricane + New Orleans makes this a natural blockbuster. Add the Gulf Coast woes of the BP spill to that equation. And then factor in the simple fact that very few people in the US are actually eager to hear from anyone on the GOP roster; Susanna Martinez and Artur Davis, or even Chris Christie and Paul Ryan, aren't exactly appointment TV.
CNN has already dispatched major parts of its Tampa crew -- including Anderson Cooper and Soledad O'Brien -- to New Orleans, and I'd be a little surprised if the broadcast networks aren't anchored from there Tuesday. My guess is, at best, most viewers will watch an hour of convention speeches Tuesday night as an inconvenient interruption of their storm watching. And then, if there is significant damage on Wednesday, not many people are going to want to be force-fed the convention. And even if they do watch, they're not going to be in the mood for either an optimistic rah-rah atmosphere; or a nasty President-bashing atmosphere; or even a sober 'I built this without any damn government help' atmosphere.
And then Thursday night, the big one for re-introducing Romney to the voting public, could be a very, very tough thing to pull off.
As it looks more and more like this will be a fairly serious natural-disaster event, the likelihood of Romney getting much benefit out of this convention becomes slimmer. It's bad luck for him, but part of campaigning is dealing with bad luck. It will be interesting to see how he handles this.