TAMPA, Fla. – With severe weather in the forecast, gay and straight Republicans alike scrambled over the weekend to readjust their plans for the 2012 Republican National Convention in downtown Tampa.
Over the weekend, Tropical Storm Isaac threatened Florida, posing all sorts of potential problems for the Tampa area, including hurricane-force winds, storm surge, extreme rainfall, flooding, tornadoes and lightning strikes. RNC planners consulted with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which operates the National Hurricane Center, as well as state and local emergency-management officials to determine an acceptable course of action.
"Due to the severe weather reports for the Tampa Bay area, the Republican National Convention will convene on Monday, Aug. 27 and immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 28. After consulting with Gov. Scott, NOAA and local emergency management officials, we are optimistic that we will begin an exciting, robust convention that will nominate the Romney-Ryan ticket," said Reince Priebus, the RNC chairman.
By Sunday night, however, Tropical Storm Isaac began drifting westward in the Gulf of Mexico and away from Tampa, and hurricane forecasters began warning New Orleans and Louisiana to expect a direct hit on Tuesday.
Nearly 50,000 people are expected to descend on the Tampa area for the RNC, and such a large number of tourists put an extra burden on emergency-management officials. Downtown Tampa is prone to flooding from heavy rainfall and its proximity to Tampa Bay also leaves the area vulnerable to any storm surge created by the extreme weather.
The RNC welcoming party on Sunday went ahead as scheduled, but the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert at the American Action Network Pavilion at Liberty Plaza was canceled because of the weather. Log Cabin Republicans, the largest LGBT group within the GOP, and its three Florida chapters went ahead with their "Welcome to the Republican National Convention" cocktail party and reception on Sunday afternoon.
The GOP is essentially scrapping most of Monday's plans and rescheduling them later in the week. The storm system, which is dumping lots of wind and rain over Florida today, should be past the Tampa area by late tonight.
Meanwhile, the Log Cabin Republicans firmed up plans for three events during the convention's run through Thursday, Aug. 30:
* Teaming with the Victory Fund to host a Republicans Out To Win party on Monday, Aug. 27, at Oystercatchers at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, 2900 Bayport Drive. IS THIS STILL HAPPENING?
* Hosting a brunch with Freedom to Marry for Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry on Aug. 29 at Holland & Knight, 100 N. Tampa St. in Tampa. CNN contributor Margaret Hoover and Andrew Langer, president of the Institute for Liberty, are the special guests.
* Celebrating Congressional Allies in support of the LCR PAC on Aug. 30 at Liberty Plaza, 108 S. Morgan Street in Tampa.
Members of Log Cabin Republicans are still smarting from the proposed Republican platform, which is rabidly anti-gay. In a news release issued Aug. 21, R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of LCR, wrote:
While Log Cabin Republicans commend the delegates who proposed inclusion of pro-equality language in the 2012 Republican Party platform, the final document is marred by outdated social conservative ideology.
“Tony Perkins may be boasting today about having written an antigay marriage plank into the Republican Party platform, but it will be a hollow and short-lived victory,” said Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper. “The obsessive exclusion of gay couples, including military families, from the rights and responsibilities of marriage, combined with bizarre rhetoric about ‘hate campaigns’ and ‘the homosexual rights agenda’ are clear signs of desperation among social conservatives who know that public opinion is rapidly turning in favor of equality.
Unfortunately, what voters can’t see in this document is the significant debate within the Committee. We were pleased to see vigorous debate on amendments in support of civil unions and to delete language regarding DOMA. While these measures failed, the future direction of our party clearly trends toward inclusion. This may well be the last time a platform will cater to the likes of the Family Research Council on marriage, and the fact is, platforms rarely influence policy. Tony will never see his discrimination written into the United States Constitution.”
Cooper continued, “Together with Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, Log Cabin Republicans are proud to have encouraged this important debate at the Republican National Convention. Only by being in the room and speaking conservative to conservative will we succeed in building a stronger and more inclusive Republican party.
Despite abysmal marriage rhetoric, in certain places the 2012 Republican platform is an improvement compared to the 2008 document for LGBT Americans. Log Cabin Republicans advocated for the exclusion of any language calling for the return of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ – there is no longer any reference to the supposed ‘incompatibility of homosexuality with military service.’ We are pleased that the 2012 platform’s language on refugees no longer presents a barrier for asylum of LGBT people who are persecuted and threatened with execution in places like Iran. Finally, we appreciate the inclusion of language recognizing that all Americans have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. While there is clearly a long way to go and the language regarding marriage will be harmful to Republicans in November, these changes should not be overlooked.”
GOProud to host Homocon 2012 in Tampa
GOProud, a smaller LGBT group within the Republican Party for gay conservatives and their allies, will sponsor Homocon 2012 on Tuesday, Aug. 28, after the RNC concludes for the day.
The event is at The Honey Pot in Tampa. Here is the news release issued about the event:
GOProud's Homocon 2012 will be "THE must-have ticket" at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa Florida on August 28th, 10:30 pm - 2:30 am! Guests will dance the night away after the evening convention session at The Honey Pot night-club in Tampa's Ybor City neighborhood. You can be there! Register below to request an invite to this invitation only event. There is no charge to attend. (Space is limited so preference will be given to GOProud donors. Attendees will receive final confirmation and helpful information approximately one week before the event.)
We'll have lots of well-known "Special Guests" in attendance! "Special Guests" will be listed here as they confirm. So far, that list includes:
David Keene, Former Chair of the American Conservative Union and Vice-Chair of CPAC
Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform
Mary Matalin, author, CNN contributor and long-time GOP operative
Richard Grenell, former U.S. Spokesman at the United Nations
Amy Kremer, Chair of the Tea Party Express
Mike Flynn, Editor, Breitbart.com, BigGovernment.com
Dana Loesch, contributor to Breitbart.com, radio host and CNN contributor
Margaret Hoover, former FOX News contributor, author and current CNN contributor
Roger L. Simon, CEO of PJ Media
Larry O’Connor, Editor of Breitbart.tv and radio host
S.E. Cupp, author and co-host of MSNBC’s “The Cycle”
Will Cain, analyst for The Blaze and CNN contributor
Jazz Shaw, "All Purpose Pundit" and weekend editor of HotAir.com
Joshua Baca, National Coalitions Director for Romney-Ryan 2012
More "Special Guests" will be announced soon!