August 27, 2012
When I started counting, inside the perimeter of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the number of machine guns strapped to National Guard or Secret Service personnel totaled 28. All roads but one leading to the Forum—where networks are broadcasting Sunday morning shows—were barricaded, some with snowplow trucks, and the line of cars and trucks angling to make it through wrapped around two blocks.
Ditching the car, it took an hour to make it inside through twisting paths marked by security fences and confused guards. And that was before making it to a dark, covered, leaky passageway featuring wet blue Astroturf.
This is no way to run a convention, and it isn’t even raining yet.
The reason, according to Reince Priebus, the Republican Party chairman, is that the Secret Service insisted on closing its tents as Tropical Storm Isaac approached, reducing the number of entrance points to the convention center complex. And that produced mass confusion with journalists and others trying to make their hit times for live TV appearances. When the convention actually starts, this could mean endless headaches for everyone—not just the media—trying to get to their seats and work spaces.