Day One in Tampa

The gavel will come down Monday afternoon officially opening the 2012 Republican National Convention here in Tampa; kind of. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus of Wisconsin will formally commence proceedings in a nearly empty hall, because most delegates and alternates will not attend the scheduled 10-minute session. Your can follow it all on the official web site of the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Tropical Storm Isaac has dominated discussions throughout the Gulf South, and Tampa has been no exception. Whatever impact the storm will have locally should be over today, so Monday’s scheduled business has been compressed into an extended, all-day Tuesday session. Wednesday and Thursday sessions are expected to be typical, prime-time affairs.

Weather worries have kept many Mississippians away. Gov. Phil Bryant naturally is on “hurricane duty” back in the Magnolia State and will not come to Tampa at all until it is clear Mississippi is out of harm’s way. Many other delegates and alternates, particularly those from Coastal areas, have already left Tampa to be home just in case the storm hits Mississippi.

A room full of delegates, alternates and guests who remain heard Chairman Priebus speak at the Mississippi delegation breakfast Monday morning. The Hyatt Regency in downtown Tampa essentially is the Convention headquarters, and it is a very high honor for the Mississippi delegation to share these plum accommodations with our colleagues from Wisconsin, the Chairman’s home state. The reason for this became obvious this morning as Priebus credited Mississippian Henry Barbour as being the key to his (Priebus’) election as RNC Chairman two years ago. Thanks, Mr. Chairman (and you too, Henry)!

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus

Chairman Priebus reminded Mississippians that we are not in Tampa because we are worried about the future of the Republican Party, but because we are worried about the future of America. The Chairman stated that the policies of the Obama administration are at odds with the American dream of individual opportunity and success. Priebus noted that Republicans have a nominee in Mitt Romney who has been a successful leader in every endeavor he has undertaken. Everyone here, at least, is enthusiastic about the Romney/Ryan ticket, and the Chairman reminded us that one of our jobs as party leaders is to share that enthusiasm in our communities.

Other than the actual disruption in the first day’s formal Convention schedule, most other activities are proceeding normally here in Tampa. The storm has essentially bypassed us, and the weather in fact is quite pleasant. Receptions, meetings, luncheons, and parties are taking place as scheduled, and the regular Convention order will kick in Tuesday, only one day late. Tampa and the RNC have been very lucky in missing the brunt of Isaac. It is the prayer of everyone here that the upper Gulf Coast will be fortunate as well.

Greg Snowden