As Tropical Storm Isaac threatens Florida, Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday said he will leave it up to Republican Party officials to decide whether to proceed with their convention next week in Tampa. It will, said the governor, not be his call.
There should be no envy for whomever has to make the final decision
If you decide to proceed or wait too long to decide to cancel, you put at potential risk the lives of the tens of thousands of people who will be gathering for the convention, which is being held in a low-lying area of Tampa along the Hillsborough River. An evacuation of so many people -- most of whom won't be familiar in the least with what to do in case of hurricane -- could be its own disaster.
But if you decide to cancel too soon, and Isaac brings only rain and maybe a few gusts of wind as he drifts farther west, you risk being accused of over-reacting and costing the Tampa Bay area millions in lost business. You risk the scorn of your constituents.
Gov. Scott knows too well what that is like, so you can't blame him if he leaves the call on whether to proceed with the convention to someone else -- for instance, those who guessed they could hold a big event in Florida in late August without the possible threat of a hurricane.
The bottom line is that as of Thursday morning, it's probably too soon to have to make that call. Isaac remains a good distance away, and there remain too many uncertainties about where he is heading.
But by this weekend, the politicians will have to listen carefully to the weathermen and make a decision.