The RNC vs. Hurricane Gustav

It was 7:00 pm EDT on Thursday, August 25 when hurricane Katrina made landfall in Florida in 2005. At this time it was only considered a category 1 storm. Four days later, on August 29 at 6:10 am CDT, Katrina made its second landfall in Louisianna as a category 3 storm. Sustained winds now blew at more than 125 mph. The levees broke at 8:14, and all hell broke loose. The waters rose, the winds blew, the damage and destruction was unfathomable. This was the sixth strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded and the third strongest to make landfall in the United States. Families were separated, lives were lost, homes were destroyed.

The response was slow. It happens that in one of his (few) criticisms of George W. Bush, John McCain spouts the Katrina situation as a major failure on the part of the administration. During the aftermath, it was said the US Army Corps of Engineers had told the administration the levees in New Orleans required repair or replacement, but the money didn’t come. It had long ago been diverted to the war effort in Iraq.

Now Gustav is threatening to make landfall in the US, and New Orleans is more than prepared for their next showdown with mother nature. But what are the Republicans to do?

As Tropical storm Gustav inches closer to slamming into the Gulf Coast, a spokesman for presumptive presidential nominee John McCain suggested the RNC might decide to postpone its national convention events in St. Paul next week in the event of another hurricane disaster.

Spokesman Tucker Bounds said in an interview with Market Watch news service late Thursday, “Sen. McCain has always been sensitive to national crisis … and we are monitoring the situation very closely.”

Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

Well, it sounds as if they’re concerned. Concerned enough to stall their parties up here in Minnesota. But is concern the real reason? Unlikely. More likely this apparently magnanimous move has to do with media coverage. It was said many times that John McCain was genuinely sore about the lack of attention he garnered while the Democratic primaries were going on, when all eyes were on Obama and Clinton. In other words, the Republicans are worrying that they won’t be in the spotlight if another disaster should happen. And in this system, often times media coverage means votes. The Democrats had their fair share at the DNC, so would losing this coverage shoot the Republican chances to hell?

Another thought that struck me was this: Perhaps this is a means to gain better PR in the eyes of the nation. George Bush looked like an uncaring jerk on his pedestal of the White House, safe and warm while many people suffered in the cold and dark. John McCain and his advisers likely do not want him to earn such an appearance. The slogan says “Country First,” and that’s just what they’ll do…at least until the man gets elected into office. Then its McCain and Rich White Men First.

A third point, brought up to me recently: How do the protest permits work? Will they expire in a short amount of time? Will they become worthless in a week’s span and then not be reissued for when the convention actually happens? Maybe Gustav is playing right into the hands of the Republicans. Maybe this hurricane will help their little party go off without a hitch, without dissent. Maybe its not what they’re planning, and maybe their intentions are good, but I think I smell something a little fishy.