The area around the convention has been declared a "National Security Area" and Simon has some interesting thoughts about that.
If there’s one thing that has dominated the talk, not to mention the hearts and minds, of most people here in Tampa for the convention is the tremendously stringent security, far worse than what I remember from Minneapolis in 2008.
Only two routes, roughly a mile and a half apart, give you entry to the convention facilities. All other streets are blocked off with staggering numbers of security personnel – soldiers, police from various venues, secret service, other security services, private services, etc. – on horseback, motorcycle, bicycle, automobile and, of course, on foot. There appear to be vastly more of them than there are of us, media and delegates. At some angles from the convention perimeter, Tampa resembles a military encampment.
One insider in a position to know told me that over 60 security organizations were involved. What could be the reason for this? It’s hard to believe it’s the threat of those so-called anarchists who seem to be nowhere in evidence (or washed down a drain). Or could it?
(Yes, I know. According on to one report linked by Drudge, one group of 200 demonstrators, later reduced to 100, did show up somewhere – a minuscule number in a metropolitan area that approaches three million in a country of well over three hundred million. Ten times as many people are on line for pizza at Ray’s on a bad day.)
Here’s another interesting thing that same insider told me. This intense security was not instituted by the RNC or by the Romney campaign, but by the federal government that has declared Tampa a national security area. In other words, Obama’s people are in charge of the stringent security here. They instigated it. What do they fear?
I have two theories, not necessarily contradictory. One, they just want to make the Republicans look bad – police state types. Perhaps more importantly, the Obama folks don’t want anything violent to happen because they know convention violence most often comes from the left (cf. Chicago 1968). Violent left-wing demonstrators at the Tampa Republican Convention would be bad news for the Democrats.