Republicans afraid of the storm? Come to Chicago

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With Tropical Storm Isaac threatening to turn into a hurricane and menace the Republican National Convention in Tampa early next week, Republicans must make a decision.

They could just get sloshed on rum, margaritas and whiskey and ride out the storm like real Floridians, and watch young TV reporters hang on to light poles during live shots in hopes of becoming an anchorperson someday.

Or Republicans could quickly change cities and find someplace new for their big shindig.

Happily, there is one city that can easily handle such a large crowd, a famous convention-and-restaurant town with an amazing political history and the kind of earthiness that would delight Republican delegates and journalists looking for juicy stories:


Hey, Mitt Romney, How You Doin'?

And why not?

"I think it's a great idea," Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady said Thursday. "We'll have 50,000 Republicans. They'll be excited and relieved. And we could land them right at Meigs Field."

That's right — X marks the spot.

Brady knows that the last mayor carved up the beautiful little lakefront airstrip with bulldozers, putting giant X's into the runway. So Republicans might have to sneak in by boat. But Brady told me he'd phone Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus to put a good word in for Chicago.

Chicago is the perfect site for the convention because most locals have never seen a real Republican. They've seen former GOP governors like Jim Edgar and Jim Thompson, but they don't count. I'm talking about real Republicans.

Simply seeing one would amaze and perhaps even frighten city residents. Republican delegates could take turns sitting in a pen at Lincoln Park Zoo just to let Chicagoans see them up close.

"Ma? What's that, ma?" a kid might ask. "It looks like some guy in a suit talking in complete sentences. Does it bite?"

"No, dear," the mom might say. "Don't be afraid. That's just a Republican. We tamed them long ago. But I thought they were extinct."

Meanwhile, most Republicans haven't truly explored the rich and wondrous political history of Chicago. Oh, they act like they know about the city and its politics. They talk and talk about the Chicago Way — so they must have read about it somewhere — but have they ever really walked on it?

Just think of the places Republicans could visit. And Romney could even take them on a tour.

First stop would be along the bank of the Chicago River, where President Barack Obama was found as an infant, floating in that reed basket, to be raised by Chicago Democrats until he reached the age of miracles.

Romney could take them out to the Kenwood neighborhood, where the Obamas bought that dream house.

They could even take photographs of the strange strip of land right next to it — the grass bought by the wife of Obama's former real estate fairy, now-imprisoned political fixer Tony Rezko, in a convoluted arrangement allowing the Obamas to complete their estate. The president has said it was a "boneheaded" move to involve Rezko.

Republicans would be wise to cut little pieces of sod and put the pieces in tiny glass cases. They could use them as fundraising devices and call it Obama Bonsai.

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