There is this debate going on about why President Bush is so concerned about New Orleans this time when a hurricane is going to hit. I read one comment that said it was the Democrats who screwed up last time, another who blamed the residents, and third that said only Republicans know how to handle a crisis.
Those commentators are forgetting that despite the faults in the pre-hurricane preparedness, when the state failed, the federal government needed to step up but it didn’t. I don’t expect President Bush to get in a helicopter and pick people up off of roofs himself, but when he cancels a speech at the RNC out of concern for a city, which before he had told “Brownie” he was doing a great job of letting people die in chaos, it seems a little disingenuous and political.
One person who claimed he was a Republican said Bush and Cheney would only hurt McCain’s election chances if they were part of the convention, so he was glad they were not going to be there. I think he is right. The media might be making Hurricane Gustav bigger than it should be because as 21st century Americans, the best thing we seem to do is react after an event. Katrina wasn’t the first, you can include everything form 9/11 and terrorism, to how we deal with drugs, our education system, or our response to the 35W bridge collapse. We spend too many resources trying to rebuild something once it is broken, rather than reform, repair, or reorganize.
I do believe this is political. The RNC is “scaling things back” out of respect for those affected by the hurricane, however, with President Bush’s approval rating still in the twenties, and Cheney’s even lower, it really only helps McCain to shorten the convention. Add that to the fact that the DNC was a smash hit for those on the left and for independents. It would be really hard for RNC to compete against that electric event with headline speakers like Bush, Cheney, Joe Lieberman, Rudy Guiliani, Norm Coleman and Fred Thompson, wait let me rest, I’m getting bored just writing their names.
Despite my criticism, I think McCain is doing the right thing from a political standpoint. The Obama acceptance speech is fresh in the minds of independent voters, and responses were very high among that group. McCain’s speaking style and message will not resonate as much, so instead, he can demonstrate his leadership abilities compared to President Bush by taking charge of an event that the media is driving so hard.
By the way, I have to think George Bush’s approval rating has to be going up, I loved the fact that he hung out at the Olympics and relaxed and enjoyed himself, of course I guess that is what he does best.