Florida is as much America's place for conspiracy as it is the place for wearing airbrushed t-shirts of an anthropomorphic rude-ass dolphin holding a coozied-beer and saying, "Cram it up your blowhole!"
It was Florida, after all, who brought America the 2000 spectacle of one governor's secretary of state certifying the election results for his brother, before Bass Weejuned clowns dressed like Andy from The Office staged a bunch of protests under the direction of the governor's dad's fixer.
So, you know, it's probably a little forgivable to wonder, just for a little while, whether this hurricane thing might have been, uh, convenient.
Tropical Storm Isaac is currently twisting its way up the Gulf, possibly toward New Orleans and the chance to reach its rendezvous with irony. But one place it is emphatically not is over Tampa. Isolated rain bands and unpleasant winds have lashed the area for about 20 hours, but nothing so strong that a resident couldn't have slept off an afternoon of rumrunners in a patio chair in the backyard, exposed to the elements.
Which brings us to those residents, many of whom remain solidly unimpressed. After conducting an unofficial straw poll of locals working as supplementary staff for the RNC, the verdict, as one expressed it, seems to be, "It's bullshit, man."
Granted, some Gulf coast counties preceded Governor Mantis Head in declaring a state of emergency, and experts worried that the large coach buses chartered by the RNC could prove a hazard in high winds blown across the Gandy and Howard Frankland bridges, and the Courtney Campbell Causeway. But, for people who spend every late summer waiting to be smitten by almighty God, Isaac seemed at best a longshot threat.
On the other hand, the virtues of canceling day one of the convention are more immediate. Today was meant to be the great unboxing of Romney 4.0. Horrifying acts of God tend to overshadow the debut of a guy who changes his mind with the lunar cycle. Moreover, mass protests were planned for today, intended to meet the unveiling of the RNC message head-on. Images of protesters without shelter—young people committed to democracy, who planned to sleep wherever possible—already present compelling counter-programming to the RNC. Imagine, then, seeing those same idealistic young people being buffeted by disastrous elements while thousands of members of the 1% saunter through media stand-ups, smorgasbord lines and cash bars. MEET ROMNEY faced the possibility of coming in third behind protesters and a hurricane for Monday's most interesting story.
Now, contrary to expectations, an event where people sit around waiting to hear the same canned speeches from the same pundits is vastly more exciting. Four days of over-orchestrated wankery and needless waits have been compressed into three. Schedules have been shuffled, and public-opinion liabilities (Governor Mantis Head) have been bumped. Monday can just be a sleepover, and everyone can trawl for handjobs!
And, yeah, maybe calling bullshit on Isaac is itself bullshit, just another layer of reflexive Florida bullshittery. But it's traditional. Tampa has a rich Italian-American history, and Tampa residents can do dietrologia with the best of them.
At the very least, the RNC luckily avoided unpleasant questions about why—if all the righteous people in America are gathered here—a hurricane would target them. The prayers worked! The sodomites and fornicators of Louisiana are on notice again.