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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hurricane Gustav Helpful to the RNC

To ensure that the title of this post does not offend anyone, let me be clear: No one in their right mind, Democrat, Republican, or other, wants Hurricane Gustav to take lives, cause damage, or hurt the economy. No one is cheering for Hurricane Gustav. No one is thankful for the timing. We all hope for the safety and stability of New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast. They've been through enough.

However, objectively and unemotionally, the timing of Hurricane Gustav is helpful to the Republican Party for three reasons.

1. The Republican National Convention can now serve a purpose other than pageantry. The Republican Convention should turn their four day appeal to the American people into a bi-partisan telethon. Have Republican after Republican get on stage and appeal to their local and national constituents to donate money and goods to the afflicted areas of the Gulf Coast and surrounding regions. In addition, they should publicly invite Democrats to show up to the Convention and pitch in with the effort. If the Democrats show up, it'll give unprecedented legitimacy to a convention and it'll portray the Republicans as leaders and the Democrats as followers. If the Democrats decline the invitation, you can imagine how that might be spun by Republican strategists.

This can also be spun by some (read: scum) that the Democrats, at their convention, only cared for canned speeches, glitz, and idolatry while the Republicans cared for the American people. One can only hope that the average voter is aware that either party would do this. Democrats would have been just as shrewdly political, but they'd also be just as willing to help the afflicted region. It just so happens that Gustav occurs during the Republican Convention.

2. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney will not be present at the Convention and it won't seem conspicuous. Their individual and joint unpopularity is a huge albatross for McCain/Palin '08. Under normal circumstances, however, their presence, especially President Bush's, is expected, as all outgoing incumbents attend their party's convention during their final year. It was a tough spot for the RNC.

Not anymore. They have government business to take care of. The American people need them and they will answer the call. Yes, it's a convenient reason to be absent, but it's also legitimate.

3. Here's the Bush Administration's chance to almost make up for 2005's Hurricane Katrina, which is an indelible black eye on the President's legacy and, considering the Democrats' "McBush" strategy, unfairly ties McCain to the irrefutable failure. If the federal government does an admirable job taking care of the evacuees and the post-hurricane clean up, it could go a long way to helping McCain and the Republican Party regain a point or two in the approval polls.

So, there are the implications in presidential politics. Now, let us all hope for the safety of those in the path of the storm.
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