Something is rotten with the National Hurricane Center's forecasting of Tropical Storm Isaac, Rush Limbaugh thinks. First they said it would hit Tampa, the site of the National Republican Convention. Then, a mere hour and a half after Republicans cancelled Monday's festivities, the forecast changed, putting the soon-to-be hurricane on a path toward New Orleans. Why is that so bad? Because it's seven years after Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of New Orleans, as well as President George W. Bush's approval ratings. Coincidence?
Limbaugh repeatedly said on his radio show Monday he is not arguing there's a conspiracy -- in fact, he specifically said a version of "With none of this am I alleging conspiracy" five separate times. And yet, everything else he says would lead one to conclude he believes in a conspiracy, especially things like "The degree of coincidence here is just amazing." Let's analyze those coincidences:
As a Florida resident, Limbaugh was obsessively checking the weather reports. That's how he spotted the ominous non-conspiracy timing:
RUSH: Okay, 6:45 p.m. Saturday night the Republicans announce that they're canceling Monday. At 6:45 p.m. Saturday night, everybody is still under the impression that Isaac is making a beeline for very close to Tampa. It was an hour and 15 minutes later that the eight p.m. model runs showed New Orleans. I'm alleging no conspiracy. I'm just telling you, folks, when you put this all together in this timeline, I'm telling you, it's unbelievable.
He wonders if perhaps the scientists were working on the new model -- implying that they could have warned the RNC not to cancel:
An hour and 15 minutes before the eight o'clock -- now, the eight o'clock model runs, that's when they're published. I don't know when they're actually run. Eight o'clock is when they're released. They could run 'em at 7:30, could run 'em at six. Hell, I don't know. That's one thing I don't know.
What makes this all the more unsettling is that you could almost -- if you were a conspiracy theorist, which Limbaugh is not -- you could almost be forced to wonder if the weather service was collaborating with the liberal media to invent narratives that are unpleasant for the GOP. Limbaugh then plays a clip of National Journal's Ron Brownstein from CNN Monday morning:
BROWNSTEIN: We're now in a split screen mode. Our top story is understandably, justifiably is a hurricane perhaps hitting the gulf. This convention already has been affected enormously by the storm and will be the rest of the week. Test for the President too, if hits New Orleans seven years...
O'BRIEN: Right, right.
BROWNSTEIN: ...after President Bush failed that test.
O'BRIEN: A test where we've seen a track record before. Much to compare and contrast to.
Now that Isaac is heading for New Orleans, the Democrats have an even better story than the one about the RNC's rainy convention -- Katrina.
RUSH: So you've got the Florida Republican guy talking about the convention, and he says, "Yeah, we want to get going here. We want to be able to spend the money we've raised. We want to get going explaining Romney and our agenda and our policies." And these guys all respond to it, "Oh, no, look, pal, you may not get it yet, but the rest of this week we've just guaranteed it's gonna be about Hurricane Katrina and Bush and how you Republicans didn't care about anybody, and FEMA didn't get there on time. We're gonna relive this whole thing...
What I spent the first hour trying to tell you was how it was being reported in a way that resulted in the Republicans canceling their convention today when it's nowhere near there. And that there were model runs Saturday night that showed Tampa was not gonna be hit at all, massive shift of models that was not reflected by the hurricane center for 12 hours. That's all I'm saying. And now we got the media jazzed like I haven't seen 'em in a while because now Hurricane Isaac is casting a pall. How dare the Republicans even do a convention with a hurricane bearing down on the Gulf coast. How do they even do that?
The coincidences are just amazing.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.