By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog
TAMPA— After a year and a half of the Republican presidential nomination process, it seems that the inevitable nominee will be nominated at the Tampa Bay Times Forum next week.
Clinging to the title of presumptive nominee, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney will take to the floor at the Republican National Convention to shed that name and attempt to unite the 18 million voices that cast votes in the primaries, not always in his favor.
The many months of attempting to find the “anti-Romney,” the candidate without a large state government health care plan or a more liberal governing record in his past, seem to have been unsuccessful.
As foretold by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat in November 2011, the political press at that time was ready to commit to nearly a year of avoiding Romney’s ‘inevitability,’ engaging in an “extended masquerade, designed to persuade credulous readers and excitable viewers that the Republican presidential nomination is actually up for grabs.”
In March 2012,after the endorsement of future vice presidential nominee U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., Republican strategists and party bosses felt the same.
“This is evidence of Mitt Romney transitioning from being the frontrunner to the presumptive nominee,” senior Republican strategist Doug Heye told CNN.
After nearly a year of hovering over the primary process and engaging crowds in the small coal mining towns and the largest hotel lobbies with the same message of defeating President Barack Obama, Romney seems ready to accept the fate that has been bestowed upon him by leagues of political observers and millions of GOP voters.
Being that as it may, the GOP nomination week in Tampa does not promise to deliver the same inevitably that Romney has enjoyed since declaring his candidacy.
Gathering speed and power in the Caribbean Sea is Tropical Storm Isaac, expected to swipe by Florida’s west coast in full force on Monday evening, wreaking temporary havoc on the $123-million convention that anticipated everything but a washout.
On Friday, it was announced that the actual nomination ceremony might take place on Monday, earlier than expected according to Republican officials speaking to AP, in order to shore up any concerns about a flooded convention floor by very powerful Hurricane Isaac.
Another problem Romney faces is the legion of dedicated followers of a fellow Republican candidate who have vowed to be anything but quiet at the RNC.
Spread out across town, supporters of Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian stalwart, are holding competing rallies and festivals and promising to be heard on the convention floor. That’s another reason for moving the nomination ceremony up to an earlier date, according to AP, because it will not be viewed on live television for all to see.
It was reported this week by the Financial Times that favorability toward a gold standard and an audit of the Federal Reserve were both added to a draft of the official Republican platform, perhaps in order to placate the supporters of Paul who claim to be more skeptical of the nation’s central bank.
Another strategy to be employed by the Romney camp will be to hold a “video dedication ceremony to Dr. Paul,” according to campaign strategist Russ Schriefer, intended to highlight the “mutual respect” both candidates share for each other. Paul is a physician.
At its core, the convention is to be held in order to officially nominate the winner of the numerous Republican presidential primaries that took place over the course of 2012, the candidate that received more than the 1,144 delegate threshold.
If the past two years of presidential campaigning and subsequent surprises are any indication, that may be more difficult than originally intended.
Yaël Ossowski can be reached at Yael@FloridaWatchdog.org and on Twitter @YaelOss