The GOP leaders decided to alter the scope and practically postpone the 2008 Republican National Convention because of Hurricane Gustav approaching New Orleans. For those not paying attention, the convention is not taking place in New Orleans but about 1200 miles north, in St. Paul, Minnesota.
4607 delegates and substitute delegates are expected at the convention. Perhaps one or two hundred of them will not be able to make it there, as they work in various local and federal agencies in positions directly involved in responding to Gustav. They will not be able to come regardless of the schedule. So, why all the juggling?
Hurricane Katrina exposed the incompetence of many local and federal government agencies in handling a major crisis. Obviously, the Democrats have exploited this to promote their cause. Republican leaders seem to be enchanted by this spell, and cannot think and act calmly. Three years after Katrina, the administration has had enough time to make corrective measures. The right response to Gustav is that life should go on as usual for everyone except the people directly involved in emergency actions. President Bush should arrive in St. Paul and declare his confidence that in Louisiana competent people are doing their job. Instead, he is hovering in the affected areas, giving the people who are preparing for Gustav yet another thing to manage. John McCain also deemed it necessary to make an appearance, contributing his portion of extra hassle. All these spectacular actions are intended to show the American public that both the current President and the potential new one care about people in need. In fact, they reveal a lack of confidence in their own administration. Additionally, and unintentionally, it makes a connection between the actions of the current president and the Republican presidential candidate, adding wind to the Democrats’ argument that the presidency of McCain would be four more years of Bush.
These actions parallel the foresight that John McCain exhibited in selecting his running mate. It is my speculation, not based on any facts, that some Republican leaders might have second thoughts about giving access to the nuclear button to someone who makes strategic decisions based on his gut and a 15-minute conversation with someone he barely knows. I hope that the GOP leaders are more prudent than their presumptive presidential nominee, and that a search for an alternative candidate is the real reason behind the delayed beginning of the 2008 Republican National Convention. At least I hope it is.
A version of this text was published by Huffington Post