Oil rigs have been evacuated, Louisiana has pre-emptively declared a state of emergency, and residents all along the Gulf Coast are preparing for the worst. Gustav is likely to hit the U.S. some time on Monday night.
With memories of Hurricane Katrina both fresh and forever emblazoned into our national consciousness, a massive four-day confab featuring GOP elites is the last thing this country - or the Republican Party - needs. The optics truly could not be worse.
Today is the third anniversary of Katrina's landfall, and it's also John McCain's 72nd birthday. So does he really want to remind people of this?
That's Bush and McCain celebrating the latter's birthday in Arizona exactly three years ago today - just as New Orleans was being inundated. The cavalier cluelessness represented by that photo would be writ ten thousand times as large over four days of celebrations, music, and parties in the Twin Cities should Gustav unleash its fury. It's imagery the GOP should strive to avoid at all costs.
What's more, the right thing would be to allow all the delegates and news media to go home, so that those in the region likely to be affected by Gustav can be with their families and attend to all their affairs. Many of the attendees are also state and local officials who are responsible for overseeing preparedness, evacuation and cleanup efforts. For the good of their communities, they need to be at home, period.
And let's face it: McCain's nomination is a foregone conclusion. There isn't even any real need to hold a convention at all. The Democratic National Convention was a historic and dramatic affair, with the first-ever major-party nomination of a black candidate for president. The Republicans, however, are going to nominate the same sort of person they always nominate. The delegates can easily host a teleconference to satisfy any party formalities if need be.
Finally, given how cash-strapped McCain's campaign is, cancelling the convention would be a big money-saver for the RNC (even if they do get stuck paying a few deposits).
For all these reasons and more, it really behooves the Republican Party to cancel its convention. If the GOP wants to avoid another Katrina, then it needs to do the right thing and focus on Gustav. Countless Americans will be grateful if they do.
This news is reported by Daily Kos by DavidNYC