Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 31, 2008

GUSTAV FORCES CHANGE OF PLANS.... Not surprisingly, with Hurricane Gustav barreling down on the Gulf Coast, both President Bush and Vice President Cheney have cancelled their scheduled appearances at the Republican National Convention.

Also, John McCain told reporters earlier that the convention schedule will be altered, and the RNC is scheduled to host a press briefing at 4 p.m. eastern at the Xcel Energy Center with a revised schedule for the event.

The Obama campaign, meanwhile, has said both Obama and Biden would steer clear the area, so as to avoid increasing the burden on local officials, and will instead mobilize campaign supporters to help areas damaged by the storm.

Senator Barack Obama said Sunday that his campaign would mobilize its giant email list of supporters – to volunteer or send contributions – as soon as the impact of Hurricane Gustav becomes known in the Gulf Coast.

"We can activate an email list of a couple million people who want to give back," Mr. Obama told reporters after leaving services at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Lima. "I think we can get tons of volunteers to travel down there if it becomes necessary."

Mr. Obama has made no plans to travel to the Gulf Coast, saying he does not want to get in the way of emergency efforts there, but he has spoken by telephone to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

Mr. Obama conducted telephone interviews with four TV stations and a news-talk radio station in New Orleans, aides said, amplifying the warning for any remaining residents to follow the evacuation order and leave the city.

No official word, as of yet, on whether McCain will deliver his acceptance speech "from the devastation zone," as earlier reports indicated.

Steve Benen 2:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (36)

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Considering the hit in public opinion Bush took over Katrina, I'd think the GOP would tread very carefully to avoid overcompensating and bringing more attention to the lack-of-preparedness issue.

Posted by: charles on August 31, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

So, like, what exactly would we expect Vice President Cheney to do to help storm ravaged areas? Shoot people in the face? This is just a convenient excuse to duck out of something nobody wants to go to anyway, including George.

Posted by: Curmudgeon on August 31, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

That whole "pray for biblical deluge" in Denver is proof of Karma. Not sure that is a theory trumpeted by the right wing. Let's hope there is minimal loss of life and New Orleans is spared. And please spare us a Palin-McCain made-for-TV live remote like Bush the Clueless "accomplished" in his after-the-negligence tour of 2005.

Posted by: Sparko on August 31, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Obama has made no plans to travel to the Gulf Coast, saying he does not want to get in the way of emergency efforts there...

Perfectly played.

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on August 31, 2008 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Hurricane Gustav has a silver lining for Republicans. Now there's a semi-credible reason for both Bush and Cheney to be completely absent from the convention.

Posted by: OkieFromMuskogee on August 31, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

"I pledge that tomorrow night, and if necessary throughout our convention, we will act as Americans and not as Republicans because America needs us now," McCain said.

Notice he didn't say "just as Republicans". He accurately expressed American and Republican as mutually exclusive.

Herr McCain

Posted by: Dale on August 31, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP is flocking to NO like vulchers on roadkill.

Posted by: MsMuddled on August 31, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

are team mcc*nt going to make their acceptance speeches over bullhorns from the back of a pick up while passing the thousands of residents as they wisely evacuate?
what a crew of mental midgets.

Posted by: vwmeggs on August 31, 2008 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

ANYwhere that McCain delivers his acceptance speech will be a devastation zone.

That said, as a St. Paul resident, I can't be happier that Bush and Cheney aren't showing up. The city has become a nightmare of barricades, chain link and armed security.

Posted by: gbear on August 31, 2008 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

The Democratic leadership cheers the arrival of this storm as a bad omen for the Republicans. I think that they are laughing too early. This storm puts government officials on display. Jindal, the new Republican Governor looks very competent. Isn’t there another new Republican Governor on the ticket? Ray Nagen still looks like Ray Nagen. New Orleans still looks like New Orleans.

These are all negatives for the Democratic Party. Laugh away.

Posted by: Brick Oven Bill on August 31, 2008 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

of course mccain will give his speech from the devastation zone: either in Twin Cities or in NO.

Posted by: gregor on August 31, 2008 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

We know God sends hurricanes 'cause he hates gays. So why is His timing so off that he is interfering with Glorious Leader's talk??

Posted by: John McCain: Worse than Bush on August 31, 2008 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Brick Oven Neanderthal

I guarantee you this: George Bush will not be standing close with ANY Katrina victims.

Preparedness this time does NOT erase Katrina's memory. Paint it anyway you like.

And please go to wunderground.com and view the other hurricane in the Caribbean which may even have more punch than Gustav.

Yeah we're laughing. Laughing all the way to the White House, Bitch.

Posted by: MsMuddled on August 31, 2008 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

God provided beautful sunshine and blue skies for Senator Obama's acceptance speech on Thursday, August 28th .

Acts of God via devastating hurricanes has interrupted the GOP Convention.

Americans hope this is a good omen for Senators Obama and Biden to win on Election day .. popular and electoral vote.

My prayers to those who are affected by this horrible hurrican devastation. I will be donating to those affected by the hurricane through Obama / Biden website.

Posted by: on August 31, 2008 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

This hurricane will give the Republicans a perfect excuse for keeping Bush and Cheney away from the convention, which you know they've wanted to do. Once again, a disaster for the rest of us is political gold for the Republicans.

Posted by: ohollern on August 31, 2008 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, this is just too much.

First, they exploit the personal and family tragedy of genetic defects for political purpose.

Now they're going to exploit the public tragedy of hurricane devastation for political purposes.

Do these people, at long last, have no shame?

Answer: Yes, they have no shame.

It would be interesting, though, to have him make his speech from the "devastation zone."

It might remind more discerning viewers of Bush's speech from NOLA, when everyone flew in, built a set, and flew right back out.

And what would McCain say? "My fellow Americans, when I am President, there will be no more hurricanes"?

Or "My friends, look how much better the Republicans are doing with this hurricane"?

Or "Fellow Republicans, you think my nomination and my selection for Vice President are disasters? HERE's what a real disaster looks like"?

John "Kept Man" McCain does keep it interesting.

Posted by: No Way No How No McCain on August 31, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

The Feds were unable to respond properly to Katrina in part because Bush had gutted FEMA.

Is FEMA now the competent agency that it was under Clinton? What has Bush done, precisely, to reestablish FEMA's capabilities?

Posted by: JM on August 31, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

McCain's on his way to the gulf to claim credit for the storm surge.

That's Just What I Said

Posted by: Dale on August 31, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

This is probably a lose-lose for both candidates. McCain will be rightly painted as cynical for using any sort of devastation on the Gulf Coast for political gain if he gives his acceptance speech there (with, I'm sure, cheering crowds around him); Obama will be painted as not caring for choosing to stay away.

The real losers will be the people affected by this disaster -- as usual.

Posted by: Jimmy on August 31, 2008 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

"Mr. Obama has made no plans to travel to the Gulf Coast, saying he does not want to get in the way of emergency efforts there..."

repeat this line over and over again.


Posted by: just bill on August 31, 2008 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Sad, sad that Dear Leader and Darth Cheney won't be at the Rethugs convention, reminding everyone of the glorious of Rethuglican governance. And, we'll miss that hug around the love handles that McBush does so well.

Posted by: Frak on August 31, 2008 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Look, "Gustav is revenge for prayers for rain in Denver," makes as much sense as praying for rain in Denver. It's a big nasty weather system that's going to fuck up a lot of lives. I apologize for being waspish but I just know some fuckwit fundy is going to blame the ensuing havoc on gays/abortion/something else that has nothing to do with the formation of hurricanes.

No official word, as of yet, on whether McCain will deliver his acceptance speech "from the devastation zone," as earlier reports indicated.

I tried to type that no one could possibly be that stupid but my fingers refused.

"Senator McCain, people can't check on their homes until the Secret Service moves you out of the area."

"What the fuck do they know about homes? I didn't have a home for five years when I was a POW!"

Posted by: The Answer WAS Orange on August 31, 2008 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Bush has a lot of nerve, pretending like he cares about people in N.O. and elsewhere. Why, three years after Katrina, are things still a mess, homes in tatters? Why are people still living in toxic trailers?

Let's not forget to remind everyone that bush and mccain were celebrating mccain's birthday when Katrina hit, too.

From Politico article:
Asked whether he believed it was appropriate for Senator John McCain to travel to the Gulf Coast, Mr. Obama said: “A big storm like this raises bipartisan concerns and I think for John to want to find out what’s going on is fine.”
“The thing that I always am concerned about in the middle of a storm,” Mr. Obama said, “is whether we’re drawing resources away from folks on the ground because the Secret Service and various security requirements sometimes it pulls police, fire and other departments away from concentrating on the job.”
He added, “I’m assuming that where he went that wasn’t an issue.”

Posted by: Hannah on August 31, 2008 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

One more thing:
Yeah, let's let McCain give his speech from the devastated area, surrounded by oil spills.

Posted by: Hannah on August 31, 2008 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Orange: Karma is a bitch, but we believers in reality know that weather is weather. The whole pray for rain garbage played on the superstitions and prejudices of simple people. And now we have a real disaster unloosed in the Gulf. This shows that cataclysmic forces are beyond the control of churches and politics. Once a storm threatens people, it is how people are empowered to act and care that matters. A philosophy that "government is the problem" helps only the well-connected and wealthy. A philosophy that governments are instituted among men to help promote the greater good by offering a relevant magnitude of assistance to all citizens, regardless of race, creed or religion? Well that's what Democrats stand for.

Posted by: Sparko on August 31, 2008 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

I'm curious to know how much "devastation" they'll need before it's worth McCain's while to give his acceptance speech.

Are they going by a body count - would a thousand dead be too much or not enough? Or, are they going by dollar amount lost - surely a trillion dollars would be enough "devastation" for a good backdrop, but what about a measly two-hundred million dollars?

What if there's "enough" devastation, but there's some kind of huge oil spill - will he reschedule or just do it from somewhere else?

Posted by: gmf on August 31, 2008 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

I think the scaleback of the Republican convention is just a political ploy to force Obama and Biden to scale back this week too -- instead of capitalizing on the momentum they got from a successful convention last week.

If Obama and Biden press ahead with full-bore campaigning, the Republicans will decry them as "insensitive to the suffering of Americans on the Gulf Coast." It'll be a BS charge to be sure (since whether the Republicans or Democrats campaign this week will have no practical effect on the fate of the Gulf Coast), but in today's media environment it will be perceived as shrewd and canny.

Meanwhile, McCain campaigned constantly over the last 18 months while 1100 American soldiers died in Iraq. Doesn't he care about the suffering of American soldiers???

Posted by: McCord on August 31, 2008 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Why are people still living in toxic trailers? -- Hannah, @17:01

I think most of those people had been evicted by now (or are about to be). For their health, of course.

Posted by: exlibra on August 31, 2008 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

In the event President Bush and/or Vice President Cheney change their minds about appearing at the Republican Convention in St. Paul, McCain operatives are prepared to distribute amulets designed to repel the two men: crucifixs for Cheney, pretzels for Bush.

Posted by: alibubba on August 31, 2008 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe McCain should use Cindy's private plane to shuttle some Gustav evacuees to shelter in one of his twelve houses! That will show how much the Republicans care.

Posted by: SMN on August 31, 2008 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

What is escaping coverage of all this Gustav/RNC convention is the effect on the people in the Twin Cities who were going to profit from the event: not the owners of the venues, but the workers who may have stayed home for the 3-day holiday to work on the convention. No one ever seems to take notice of the on-the-ground effects of events such as this. Thousands of people were going to be employed for this event, some Republicans, some Democrats, some Independents and some not involved in politics. How many of them are now going to be out of work or have fewer hours than expected? What is the impact on these people? I'd love to see the interviews with them and how they feel about, first having to work on Labor Day, and now, not having work/income for this time? Lots of people will be impacted, not just in the Hurricane Zone, but in Minn-StP. Once again, it is pointed out that we are not separated by class, color, gender, sexual orientation or nationality. "The rain falls on the just and unjust" without discrimination. What separates us is how we respond/react to the falling of the rain.

I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
st john

Posted by: st john on August 31, 2008 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

During a flight from Denver to North Carolina last Friday, Don Fowler — who was DNC chair in 1995 and 1996 — was recorded telling a fellow passenger that it appears Gustav will make landfall on Monday.

“That just demonstrates that God is on our side,” Fowler added, according to a video posted on YouTube under the headline: “Fowler Fouls: Hurricane is God’s Favor To Democrats.”

What class you morons have.. almost tops turning a memorial service for Stephanie Tubbs Jones, into a political rally... hope you all are so proud....

Posted by: bubba the troll you all love to hate on August 31, 2008 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Good chance to remind people that N.O. was not destroyed by a "natural" disaster. Katrina only caused wind damage. New Orleans was destroyed by an "engineering" disaster...the levees broke due to defective pumps (supplied by Jeb Bush's company..they knew they were defective and sold them anyway). Being below sea level didn't have a thing to do with it either as entire cities 4200ft above seal level have been devastated by flooding also when the levees broke.

Bush's people knew the pumps wouldn't hold and did nothing as they failed. The natural protective marsh areas that normally guard against flooding have been eroded away by oil companies drilling and "remodeling" the areas.

The old canal walls have not been fixed and the infrastructure is falling apart.

Short version...the flooding of N.O. was completely avoidable. Republicans just don't get it and don't care...they only look for ways to profiteer from any disaster. Just pathetic. Hurricanes are a reminder of their engineering failure in N.O..

Posted by: joey on August 31, 2008 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

What a shallow bunch of crap... yobamma and his email list.... yeah all you liberals will just jump right up off your computer and help... sure.. oh wait there goes michele yobamma in her gucci shoes to help pass out rain coats.... I can see it now....

Posted by: bubba on August 31, 2008 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Well...Bubba the troll...at least we didn't put out a video asking for everyone to pray for torrential rains to fall during Obama's acceptance speech just to ruin it... like the Dobson group did...didn't happen but I suspect Gustav is God's answer to that video... only not the answer those tools prayed for.
You are the one that should be proud...because voting Republican is easier than thinking.

Posted by: on August 31, 2008 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Is it just my AP paranoia or does the way they constructed this headline try to enhance McCain?

McCain orders convention curtailed for Gustav (AP)

That's Just What I Said

Posted by: Dale on August 31, 2008 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK
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