Before giving free rein to my inherent cynicism, let me say that my thoughts and prayers go out to the residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast area as Hurricane Gustav approaches. May they all come through this with nothing worse than a wet car and some interesting travel stories to tell their grandchildren.
Now on to your normally scheduled snarkiness...
In the wake of the spectacular success of last week's Democratic Convention in Denver, Hurricane Gustav may be the best gift that Bush, McCain, and the Republicans could have asked for.
To whit -
- When observers inevitably note that the Rep convention didn't match the Democratic convention for energy or eyeballs, they can now point to Gustav, not their own lackluster candidate or tired platform, as the culprit. They've already altered the schedule for the first day of the convention, turning it into a functional meeting only.
- McCain gets to show he has a heart by visiting evacuees in Mississippi with his running mate Sarah Palin rather than being wined and dined by the Republican Party elite and its financial backers in Minnesota.
- McCain also gets out from under the cloud that accompanies Bush and Cheney wherever they go, because they have cancelled their scheduled appearances at the convention. The McCain campaign couldn't exactly *ask* a sitting President and VP to skip the gathering; now Mother Nature has done it for them.
- Following in the theme of the above note, Bush gets an opportunity to somewhat rehabilitate his image after the debacle of Katrina. Instead of his post-Katrina "flyover" debacle, Bush will inspect preparations and meet with evacuees and emergency preparations in Texas (in Texas instead of Louisiana so that his presence doesn't interfere with emergency preparations).
- Federal agencies now have an opportunity to demonstrate that they aren't soullessly mismanaged the way they were during the run-up to and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The biggest difference between the two storms, Katrina and Gustav, is one of simple timing -
- Katrina hit one of the poorest areas of the country, and hit during 2005, which was not an election year.
- Gustav is hitting the same area two months before a presidential election.
Any other questions?
The Obama campaign's message on Gustav is here; the McCain campaign's response is here (note: they don't have anything on the campaign website as yet.)