To the editor:
As delegates and others gather for the delayed Republican convention, an undercurrent of concern is dampening the usual high spirits. Isaac is on most minds.
A Colorado delegate who is attending his sixth convention says that Mitt and Ann Romney should go to New Orleans instead of Tampa. "He should put that picture of "W" (President George W. Bush surveying Katrina's damage from 5,000 feet) behind everybody," he says. A veteran Ohio GOP official says that most delegates are worried about the Gulf Coast: "They are shaking their heads at Romney's bad luck to have the hurricane at the same time as the convention."
"This is eerie," a woman from New York says. "Seven years to the day after Katrina hit and Romney has a decision to make. There's no good option. Cancel everything and party activists are unhappy. Keep to the schedule and risk punishing publicity by the networks. Do a partial convention and maybe have Isaac competing with what's happening in the arena."
Meantime, party officials, larger contributors, elected officials and candidates continue their pace of strategy meetings and fundraising without interruption. Across Tampa Bay in Clearwater, the head of a government relations firm from Washington, D.C. says, "Isaac is a non-event here in the Tampa area but an important event along other parts of the Gulf Coast and in the news. There are no easy decisions right now for the Romney people."
Most of the real activity at conventions happens outside the formal sessions in the hall. That will happen in Tampa. But people are worrying that Romney's best chance to reach voters may be ruined. Could Romney be Isaac's only victim in Tampa?
By Ken Feltman
Feltman is the chair of the Falls Church City Republican Committee.