Josh Kucera at Slate
[...] The Post stays behind with some of the roughly 10,000 die-hards who refuse to leave New Orleans. "In my gut I feel this thing is really not as bad a hurricane," one told the paper. "I think this thing has been blown completely out of proportion for the sake of federal and local officials so they can save face for dropping the ball on Katrina."
The political effect of all this will be unclear. The Republicans lose a chance to amplify the buzz created by nominee John McCain's pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, but they gain the chance to look serious and capable of dealing with a national disaster: McCain and Palin visited a disaster relief center in Mississippi yesterday. Bush and Cheney probably would have turned off independent voters that Republicans need, and, anyway, the convention might likely have paled next to the Democratic Convention last week: "The tumult may also limit comparisons, which may have been unfavorable, between the Republican convention this week and the Democratic convention in Denver last week, where Mr. Obama's acceptance speech drew more than 40 million television viewers," the Times writes.
The hurricane may have shortened the convention but it didn't put a dent in the Post's special convention section, which has a good analysis of the Bush factor in McCain's campaign—the headline "The Friend He Just Can't Shake" says it well...
The timing of Hurricane Gustav is a serendipitous godsend, with a small 'g', to the Repugs, although I'm sure some of them think it's the answer to their prayers to their Special Repug Friend in Heaven, and the ones who count are letting them.
It's win-win. Look what Gustav lets the Repugs do:
1) It lets McCain pretend he gives a shit about what happens to NOLA and the Gulf Coast, including photo-ops.
2) It lets the Repug FEMA pretend it's actually ready to help, although it probably would be if the storm hit a rich white neighborhood, like when Katrina hit Haley Barbour and Trent Lott's Mississippi.
3) It's the best excuse they could have ever hoped for to avoid having Cheney and Bush spotlighted in speeches. The perception of distance from those two is important to 'Hugger' McCain.
4) It allows the lackluster convention to be blamed on the storm instead of their godawful throwback warmongering message, and draws attention away from the non-participation of most of the down-ticket Repugs who are staying away anyway in a desperate hope of getting re-elected even with an 'R' next to their name.
5) It takes all the news people to the hurricane areas instead of the Minneapolis airport men's room. Moral values, you know.
6) The few Repugs who show up in St. Paul will receive extra largesse from lobbyists in the form of too many hookers forced to lower their prices due to a lack of turnout. The paparazzi who might catch them at it will be busy elsewhere and it will be cheaper for the lobbyists in an off-Repug year.
Win-win. Leading up to the pending lose-lose, why even bother with a convention at all? They'd rather figure out new ways of screwing us in the back room anyway (see #6).