A Tempest in Tampa?

As Republicans pack for the GOP convention next week in Tampa there’s a gathering storm threatening a negative impact on the party.

Actually, two storms.

The first is an actual one. Weather-watchers are tracking Tropical Storm Isaac which they say could turn into a hurricane that hits Florida as early as Sunday, the day before the convention opens.

Reportedly there are contingency plans in the event of bad weather. One can only assume such plans involve lots of prayers from conservative evangelicals or tweaking the party platform to include a constitutional ban on hurricanes.

Which gets us to the second storm. The platform, a document normally ignored by delegates, candidates and media, is likely to get a tad more attention this time.

That’s because its draft includes calls for constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage and abortion. As a Wednesday New York Times editorial suggests the abortion ban would “erase any right women have to make decisions about their health and their bodies. There are no exceptions for victims of rape or incest, and such laws could threaten even birth control.”

Not that this position is new. It’s just that the Missouri squall caused by U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, a GOP senate candidate, has drawn more attention to it and will blow the winds of dialogue in media coverage of the Tampa gathering.

Assuming Akin – who last Sunday set off a political twister over abortion, rape and the GOP’s standing with women generally – sticks to his word and remains in the race, he and his views undoubtedly will be a big part of media convention coverage.

Now maybe he and Isaac both blow over, leaving Mitt and his running mate a chance to shine in the Sunshine State. But if Isaac and Akin don’t go away, Republicans could find their party (and their party) facing a tempest in Tampa.