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Hurricane Isaac a Potential ‘PR Disaster’ for the RNC?

Today Anthony Wing Kosner took to his Forbes blog to ask whether the Republican Party might suffer a PR disaster in case tropical storm Isaac happens to turn into a powerful hurricane and makes its way toward the Gulf of Mexico and the city of New Orleans just as the party faithful celebrates its brand at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Given the fact that Fox News described the storm’s probable trajectory as “eerily similar to Katrina’s,” we can understand why everyone involved might be doing a bit of an anti-rain dance today–no matter what your partisan alignment, you’ll probably agree that a whole lot of people in politics wish Katrina had never happened. So what’s the real PR risk for the RNC?

Kosner takes a couple of sentences from a Boston weatherman’s blog post about the storm and turns them into a question: If Americans see images of flooded Gulf-area homes and other damage interspersed with the usual high-end fraternizing that characterizes every political party’s national convention, will they then devalue the party brand, creating a “no-win public relations nightmare?”

We do feel like Kosner has pulled a bit of what we call trolling for traffic here, and we’re not too anxious to facilitate some kind of partisan pile-on, but the question he raises feels legitimate—how much will the storm affect the convention? Will one story swallow the other? How should the convention’s organizers and other party spokespeople prepare, and how should they respond if the worst does come to pass?

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