Republicans are running helter-skelter as an unrelenting hurricane Gustav promises an indiscriminate destruction, forcing important Republican party governors to be present in their states instead of the Republican convention.
After careful planning to steal the show away from Barack Obama and the Democratic party, begining with Cindy McCain’s trip to the European state of Georgia which perfectly coincided with the day her counterpart, Mrs. Michelle Obama, was scheduled to speak, the Republican party opener is in shambles.
US President, George W. Bush, Vice President Chenney as well as governors of the five gulf states have announced that they will be staying away on the first day of the convention and instead travel to their various states to monitor and support operations under way to protect citizens and property against the hurricane.
Hurricane Gustav will deal a big blow to the Republicans, who hoped that a resplendent convention would be the most opportune time to give a boost to the little known vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin’s profile. Those hopes have been dashed as any sort of celebration during a time of disaster could be equalled to George Bush’s sluggish response during the Katrina disaster.
About two weeks ago, Stuart Shepard of Focus on the Family, one of America’s leading evangelical groups, appeared in a video shot at Denver’s Invesco Field, where 75,000 were expected to convene to hear Barack Obama’s speech on Aug 28, asking Christians to pray for “torrential” rains to disrupt the speech. This prayer was organised in favour of John McCain despite the fact he had labelled evangelicals as “agents of intolerance” in 2000. Stuart Shepard had also said some months earlier that he was not going to cast his vote for McCain.
The hurricane which arrives on the anniversary of the Katrina disaster might damage any headway Mr. McCain hopes to make as it could revive memories of a painful past. Although the Republican Presidential hopeful and his Vice Presidential candidate have visited some of the areas bracing up for the storm, to show more concern and veer away from President Bush’s irresponsible Katrina response, the timing of the “torrential” rains promises a serious threat to their campaign.
Meanwhile, critics say Stuart Shepard, the evangelical head, has a lesson to learn from this; to love his neighbour as himself.