Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 29, 2008

DELAYING THE GOP CONVENTION?.... Tropical Storm Gustav, which is expected to become a hurricane sometime soon, continues to move towards the Gulf Coast. For the people along the coast, this is obviously a scary situation that will leave many communities scrambling. For Republicans planning to kick off a national convention, there's a different kind of scramble going on.

Republican officials said yesterday that they are considering delaying the start of the GOP convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul because of Tropical Storm Gustav, which is on track to hit the Gulf Coast, and possibly New Orleans, as a full-force hurricane early next week.

The threat is serious enough that White House officials are also debating whether President Bush should cancel his scheduled convention appearance on Monday, the first day of the convention, according to administration officials and others familiar with the discussion.

For Bush and Republican presidential candidate John McCain, Gustav threatens to provide an untimely reminder of Hurricane Katrina. A new major storm along the Gulf Coast would renew memories of one of the low points of the Bush administration, while pulling public attention away from McCain's formal coronation as the GOP presidential nominee.

Senior Republicans said images of political celebration in the Twin Cities while thousands of Americans flee a hurricane could be dubious.

Complicating matters, the McCain campaign and its surrogates spent quite a bit of time earlier this summer insisting that coastal oil drilling is perfectly safe, and that Hurricane Katrina didn't produce any oil spills at all. The campaign's claims, of course, were demonstrably ridiculous.

With this in mind, reports like these are unhelpful: "A hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico could also cast unwelcome attention on the offshore oil rigs that McCain has championed as a solution to rising gasoline prices -- they are now being evacuated in the face of the coming storm."

Also note, if a major storm hit the coast, it might not just necessitate moving the convention, it might also prompt Republicans to alter their message a bit. A senior GOP official told the Washington Post, "You would have to dramatically change the nature of what you do. Much less partisan. Much less political."

I find that hard to believe -- this is the Republican convention after all -- but it's something to keep an eye on.

Steve Benen 10:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (46)

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fox news is reporting that palin is mccain's vp pick. isn't she having some legal problems? doesn't she suffer from inexperience worse than obama's? would this be the most desperately obvious attempt to get pumas?

Posted by: FLDem on August 29, 2008 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Here's to a major oil spill off the coast. Let the oil flow into the gulf. And let the stupidity end once and for all.

The symbolism of this hurricane is astonishingly mind blowing when you consider how it relates to katrina, global warming, oil safety and dependence on oil as the only form of energy.

Posted by: glutz78 on August 29, 2008 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Nature has a liberal bias. This hurricane will remind everyone how badly Bush messed up after Katrina. The Dems should buy air time with footage of Katrina: "Do you want four more?"

Posted by: jen f on August 29, 2008 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Wow. As a New Orleanian who lost his home in Katrina, I am glad to finally see a silver lining in Gustav (most of the time I'm just sick to my stomach over it). Nothing like another Gulf Coast storm to remind people that the GOP's sole purpose is to protect the monetary interests of our nation's economic elite. The irony of it all is delicious.

Posted by: Trent on August 29, 2008 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

I'm wondering if the Republicans will take Gustav's presence as a message from God.

Posted by: Cheryl Rofer on August 29, 2008 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

OK if the Hurricane arrives at the right time to force Repubs to scramble for cover, this ardent atheist will happily convert.

Posted by: gregor on August 29, 2008 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans should save their contributors a lot of money by just canceling their convention altogether and conceding the race now.

Posted by: Th on August 29, 2008 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Which evangelical minister prayed for God to send rain to disrupt a political convention?

Seems like He's made His choice.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on August 29, 2008 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

This seems like the answer to that guy who was praying for rain in Denver during Obama's speech.

"Rain?!? You want rain?? I'll give you some rain!!"

Posted by: paul on August 29, 2008 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

James Dobson evidently got the wires crossed and prayed to the Democratic Jesus.


CNN confirms: It's the Alaskan with the huge bouffant.

Posted by: MsMuddled on August 29, 2008 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

It's official-- McCain's VP is Sarah Palin of Alaska.

Nicely played, McCain.

She has even less experience than Obama and she's 5 years younger than Obama. Does that mean McCain can't keep saying that Obama doesn't have enough experience???

Posted by: zoe from pittsburgh on August 29, 2008 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

What are the practicalities of the delay?

Time is too short, by playing the finance game the conventions are too close to the elections to allow for much delay.

What is better hurry up and finish, or risk holding 4 nights of fun and games and parties during the clean-up of a petentially devastating storm afterwards?

Although this may shake of the potential disturbances in St. Paul during the convention.

Posted by: Neal on August 29, 2008 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Palin, as my Wellesley-grad wife said, is "Dan Quayle, with tits".

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on August 29, 2008 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK


I guess ANY WOMAN will do, huh?


John McCain REALLY wanted to win Alaska, huh? The Obama campaign can just clost the Alaskan offices NOW! rotflmao

Posted by: Nashville_fan on August 29, 2008 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Palin? sweet. take down a rising star with your ineptitude McCain. two years ago she was the mayor of a town of 6,000 people.

figure everyone from Mittens on down looked at the Dem Convention and said "oh, hell no I'm not getting into this furball"?

seriously, Palin?

Posted by: northzax on August 29, 2008 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

If it were a hurricane possibly delaying the DNC, you know the right-wing nutjobs would be declaring that it's God's way of punishing the wicked and exalting the righteous. Where's your god now, fundies?

Posted by: yowza on August 29, 2008 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

As a lover of that city with close friends living there, and as someone who did volunteer clean-up work after Katrina, I hate the idea of N.O getting whacked again, dear god. But politically it sure looks like a lose-lose-lose-lose for the GOP, convention message-wise. It smacks their handling of Katrina down like a big, rotting, 50-lb PCB-polluted dead fish right in the middle of their banquet table no matter HOW they do or don't try to deal with it. Whether Bush stays to Take Charge of the Situation (emphasizing how he didn't the last time, and how this is a political attempt to atone for that sickening failure). Lose if he goes to St Paul, lose if he doesn't. And lose if they shift the date of the convention (a logistical nightmare, and again putting the subject of The Big Birthday Cake with Bush and what a cock-up they made of Katrina front and center). Even more of a lose if they have to pretend they are the Unite Murka Party, given how heavily they are relying on trashing Obama's character, having no ideas and no record they can run on.

Of course obviously this is all good for McCain. Did you know he was a POW?

Posted by: DrBB on August 29, 2008 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Be careful for what you pray for, you just might get it!

Posted by: GOD on August 29, 2008 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Palin? Seriously?

Isn't she under investigation in Alaska for firing the Public Safety Commissioner because he wouldn't fire a trooper who had just divorced her sister? Corrupt and petty. Definitely a rising star in the GOP.

Posted by: TR on August 29, 2008 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Will the Religious Right go along with having an ambitious, young, pretty, career woman a heartbeat away from the presidency? I can see a lot of fundie heads exploding.

She will help him in the key battleground state of Alaska (!), and will be heir apparent in 2012.

Posted by: Speed on August 29, 2008 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

I can't imagine they're seriously considering delaying the convention. Can you imagine the havoc that would cause to airline and hotel reservations for all of the delegates? Half the seats would be empty.

Posted by: Shalimar on August 29, 2008 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Biden will filet her like an Alaskan salmon. Can't wait.

I wonder what Cindy thinks about McC picking a VP who's 28 years younger than him, and ten years younger than her.

Posted by: Basilisc on August 29, 2008 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK


Well, McCain destroyed the Celeb meme that they spent all summer trying to create with his inability to remember how many houses he owns.

Now he destroys the "Experience is vital" narrative with his Palin choice.

What does he have left to run on?

Maybe there are more POW PUMAs out there than I think?

Posted by: The Other Ed on August 29, 2008 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Palin??? That is rich. The jokes really do write themselves. I miss Molly Ivans more and more each day. She would be having such a good time right now.

Posted by: clar-z on August 29, 2008 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Shalimar: maybe they know that half the seats will be empty anyway? and this is cover?

I was thinking about the potential McCain spoiler announcement last night that had the intertubes abuzz, and wondered if the reason it didn't happen is because someone pointed out that if they tried to steal Obama's limelight, he could show up, rent the HomerDome and speak to another 70,000 screaming people while McCain gives a nice dry speech to a passionless crowd at Target?

Posted by: northzax on August 29, 2008 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Basilisc: I just hope, for Cindy's sake, she's got an iron clad prenup.

Posted by: northzax on August 29, 2008 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

... and she's a former runner-up Miss Alaska. Cindy must be real happy about all this.

Posted by: Basilisc on August 29, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

If it is Pallin that definitely does end the "experience" issue. McCain's first decision as a potential president is to pick a person who has absolutely no experience on the issues that face America, but he obviously feels her experience is sufficient to be POTUS.

Posted by: bubba on August 29, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

By January 20, it'll be: Sarah who?

Posted by: MsMuddled on August 29, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

POW - Politician of wealth
PUMA - Please understand my angst
Gustav - gas tax holiday!

I hate the fact that's something so destructive is on it's way but at the same time the irony is nearly enough to build a temple and start praying to Poseidon. Well, almost.

Posted by: William the trollop on August 29, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

so much for grammar..

Posted by: William the typist on August 29, 2008 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Palin is a beautiful woman. Are we sure the campaign staff made it clear to McCain that he was picking a VP candidate and not the next Mrs. McCain?

Posted by: Shalimar on August 29, 2008 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

I still think this Palin stuff is a head-fake - she's a horrifically bad choice. Aside from destroying the GOP "Obama too inexperienced" argument and the "Obama is a lightweight celebrity" argument, the visual of the two together just emphasizes McCain's age.

One other point. Some progressive commentators have noted that McCain is flighty, switching positions on a whim and making bad decisions without thinking. This pick looks like exhibit A of that, as does the notion of moving the GOP convention. If Palin really is the choice, it's a huge demonstration that McCain is unserious, and that he is incapable of making large decisions well.

Posted by: jimBOB on August 29, 2008 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Great Choice McCain!

Simultaneously pissing off the base with a gay rights supporting woman, and scaring women with Palin aka "Feminists for Life". Who's from Alaska. That's a swing state.

Seriously - how long before somebody digs up something horrible said by a Feminists for Life member and she has to denounce them?

Posted by: Adam on August 29, 2008 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK


but later in the week Hanna will be wondering around in the Bahamas perhaps within a couple hundred miles for Flordia...

Posted by: lutton on August 29, 2008 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Ummm...Lafayette here and, no, let's NOT have a big oil disaster in the Gulf if its all the same to you guys safely out of the storm's path.

Buncha copters overhead as people are leaving the offshore rigs. Local Albertson's already looks like its been hit by locusts.

Ain't we got fun.

For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery. -Jonathan Swift

Posted by: MsNThrope on August 29, 2008 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK
Senior Republicans said images of political celebration in the Twin Cities while thousands of Americans flee a hurricane could be dubious.

Because images of Bush and McCain eating cake, Bush playing guitar with some country singer, Rice shopping for shoes and seeing Spamalot in Manhattan, Michael Brown enjoying leisurely dinners in Baton Rouge, etc. did not appear the least bit dubious....

Posted by: PattyP on August 29, 2008 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

This could become devoutly comical. The GOP has already paid up front for all those reservations. Cancelling the event at this late date could result in "no-show" abandonment of the money spent on those reservations---hotel rooms, convention space, food ans sundry supplies, support staff, and the biggest "bite" of all---airline tickets.

Now, extrapolate that into having to pay for everything a second time, coupled with all those hotel rooms that won't be available because they're already booked out to other people and groups, airplane seats that won't be available because they're already sold, food that won't be there because it's perishable, and everything else under the sun that the GOPers just wouldn't be able to get a "re-do" on.

Could it be that even God has abandoned the Republicans this year, casting them adrift in a sea of uncertainty, floating aimlessly among the flotsam and jetsam that is the McCainian Sea?

Posted by: Steve on August 29, 2008 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

For all those who have been insisting that the MSM loves McCain, well, it is the reporters and the talking heads who'd have to change their plans, who'd have to struggle for hotel reservations, who'd have to spend the time digging into Palin and covering Obama's campaign.

Good work, John, you have now shot your only remaining 'constituency.'

Why don't we all start wearing Yosemite Sam mustaches, to celebrate McCain's nomination.

(No, that's unfair to Sam, who never hit what he was aiming at, but didn't shoot himself in the ass so often.)

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on August 29, 2008 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

So the dirty old man skirt chaser picks Palin as VP. I can hardly wait for the gross hugs and kisses on stage at the convention. 70 year old McCain-loving grandmas will be throwing up in their mouths while even Cindy may have trouble maintaining that plastic smile. If I were him, I would get no closer to her than a fully extended arm hand-shake followed by going to opposite sides of the stage. John Stewart is offering burnt sacrifices in appreciation.

Posted by: Th on August 29, 2008 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

So the dirty old man skirt chaser picks Palin as VP.

It's his Max Byalistock/Ulla moment. Hey, it looked like he was gonna go for the Ken doll but we should've known all along it was gonna be Barbie.

Posted by: DrBB on August 29, 2008 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Palin is a beautiful woman. Are we sure the campaign staff made it clear to McCain that he was picking a VP candidate and not the next Mrs. McCain?

Like I say, the jokes practically write themselves. Apparently even McCain's own Comm chief couldn't help getting into the act--Ambinder writes this morning she was on one of the a.m. network shows saying McCain made the choice "from his heart." Other non-thinking parts of his anatomy might have played a role as well.

Posted by: DrBB on August 29, 2008 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

To: James Dobson and Focus On The Family
From: God
Re: In answer to your recent prayers.

I’m writing to try to be as clear as possible about my latest message, because, frankly, you don’t seem to be “getting it”. I’ve been worried for a while that you have been missing the point of the whole christianity theme that we’ve been trying for in Our corporate image, on top of which you seem to be supporting the wrong party in the upcoming elections. I’m now on my second great storm (I’m rather proud of thinking up that answer to your prayers, but I’m concerned that you might find the message a bit subtle. Hence this memo.) I’ve smitten two of your cities, from which you’ve drawn entirely the wrong lessons. I’ve sent you pretty Damned lengthy and detailed instructions, for example concerning the treatment of the least among you, that you’ve blown off completely. In trying to get your attention, I’ve sent you the worst candidate since forever with a drug-stealing alcohol-heiress wife, and even a self-immolating Bush. What more signs can I send you??? How much clearer can I be?

Posted by: God on August 29, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

As I understand it, Ms. Palin has 5 children, the youngest of which is 5 months old and has Downs Syndrome. How does the family values meme play on this one? When will she have time to tend to her youngest, who clearly will require much time and attention? This is not something that can be palmed off on a Nanny. What is the father's/husband's role in the care of the children? Biden continued to live at "home" and communted to and from D.C. while a congressperson. Will Ms. Palin move to D.C. with her family?

She is young, by political standards, inexperienced by McCain/Republican standards, and comes from a state with 3 electoral votes. She is "pro-life", so probably that means pro-war. I read somewhere that she is also soft on gay rights. How does this get spun?

I am amazed!

I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
st john

Posted by: st john on August 29, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Praying for a torrential rain out of Obama's acceptance speech may have the opposite consequences. If it had rained heavily in Denver you can be sure those wingers would be calling it "God's intervention" so I wonder if they will connect the dots if the GOP convention is halted due to weather.

Is McCain bringing this on himself by bragging that off shore drilling rigs can not be affected by mother nature?? Does a point have to be made by nature in order to leave no doubt the danger of these platforms destroying our coastlines? I hope not. Hopefully the mere threat of a devastating hurricane will not only remind people of the spills that have already occurred but also allow them to remember the incompetence of the republican response and the dangers of privatization. Hopefully we won't get fooled a third time with Bush III McCain.

The only way McCain can win is if they steal it and that is where we need to stay focused..stopping the theft of this election. Spoonamoore (sp?)should be made the chief adviser to the FEC even though he is a republican.

Posted by: joey (bjobotts) on August 29, 2008 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

They didn't give a damn when it was poor people getting hit by a hurricane..but now that a republican convention is involved, hell they're all over it.
Katrina hits and Bush shares a photo op with McCain and his birthday cake. What was the response when McCain/Bush told the residents had no drinking water?..."Let them eat cake...heheheh"

Posted by: on August 29, 2008 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK



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