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GOP Convention Day 1 Preview: Bare Bones

Due to events surrounding the imminent landfall of hurricane Gustav, Monday’s Republican National Convention activities will be toned down [1] substantially. John McCain has requested that only the minimum required activities under the Party’s rules be conducted, eliminating prime-time broadcasting… official business probably only running from 3:00 PM to 5:30 PM.

President Bush and Vice-President Cheney will not be showing up for the convention as they stay focused on the pressing impact of the weather in the Gulf.  President Bush had been scheduled to speak on Monday night.

The New York Times story tells us:

Amid extraordinary circumstances that remain extremely uncertain, many questions remain unanswered, including whether Mr. McCain and Mrs. Palin will actually appear at the convention here to accept their party’s nominations and what the schedule might look like for the rest of what had been expected to be a four-day political coronation for Mr. McCain and his vice presidential nominee.

Events are going to be worked out day-to-day.  McCain is asking corporations that were involved in helping finance this week’s events to help raise money for relief efforts that will almost certainly be needed in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and other parts of the Gulf Coast.

I suspect that although the storm itself could not have been orchestrated, it may have come as a relief to McCain and other Party leaders to be able to graciously drop the sitting President from the program, since it seems that further association with Bush only antagonizes everyone.  Which is unfortunate, but there it is.

It will be interesting to see whether McCain and Obama try to “out-Presidential” each other during this crisis.  Especially since we do have a real President as well.

It will also be interesting to see how much partisan campaigning goes on this week.  Johnathon Martin today referenced some comments from Rick Davis [2], McCain’s Campaign Manager, responded to a reference to Obama campaign comments today with:

“So he attacks us while there’s a hurricane going on and John McCain suspends his convention basically. What bigger contrast can you have about putting your country first?”

Keep an eye on both campaigns, and compare how they behave this week.  It may be telling.

Meanwhile, Gustav has killed scores of people in the Carribean.  The outer band of the storm has started pelting rain in southern Lousiana, and landfall of the main body of the storm is expected Monday morning.

We should all keep an eye on what’s happening there and be ready to do what we can to help.