Hurricane Gustav is blowing the Republican National Convention off course with tomorrow's proceedings all-but-canceled and John McCain floating the idea that he might deliver his acceptance speech Thursday night from the area blasted by the storm.
The cable news channels are all abuzz about the GOP convention all but closing down on Monday, with the hint that John McCain may not give his acceptance speech in St. Paul. Immediately, the Ramones cynic in me expected to hear McCain's plans for giving his speech right smack in the middle of New Orleans. So much for cynicism.
The Republican Party is desperate. Their backs are against the wall. Just about the only thing they have going for them at this point is Karl Rove and His Magic Slime Machine. If they can just manufacture some crisis, or prop their candidate on top of a real one, they may just be able to sucker enough voters to squeak away with a win in November. Don't discount it for a second. Earlier, I was convinced that the sight of another major hurricane striking the Gulf at the start of the Republican convention, on the heels of Obama's magnificent speech and McCain's shamelessly desperate gamble in Sarah Palin, would spell political disaster. Now my earlier confidence is long gone.
I've seen the Republicans spin certain disaster into their own advantage. I was at the Paul Wellstone memorial, when it seemed all but certain that the Democrats would win the Senate election. We all know how quickly our fortunes turned. And we all know how long Bush rode the trauma of 9/11. The GOP danced on those graves for years. They'll think nothing less of spinning Hurricane Gustav to their advantage.
We already know that Bush and Cheney won't appear in St. Paul tomorrow night. I suspect that we'll see a repeat performance of the Russian/Georgian border dispute. Bush will all but disappear, and McCain will behave as though he were already President. The news media will faithfully cluck along like giddy schoolgirls, and the Democrats will be missing in action.
Let's hope that Obama doesn't sit this one out. If he allows McCain to hog the spotlight as a manufactured "hero" throughout the Gustav tragedy, the evil bastards will win this damn thing. This is exactly the moment in our little opera when the Dems roll over and play dead. The Republicans need to be called out, tarred and feathered, if they dare to turn this tragedy into a cheap photo-op.
Of course, none of these concerns would really matter if we lived in a reasonably intelligent country, but you go to election day with the voters you have, not the voters you want.