Hurricane Gustav on track to hit the Gulf Coast appears to be the reason for possibly postponing the convention in Minneapolis. I suspect more likely they’re afraid of Hurricane Obama.
Matt Burns, a spokesman for the convention, said that as of last night, it is scheduled to open on time. “We are planning for our convention to open on Monday,” he said. “Like all Americans, we are monitoring the situation closely in the Gulf.”
Staging a convention during a major natural disaster would be a public relations challenge for either political party. But GOP officials say the burden could be especially heavy for their party, whose reputation was tarred by the Bush administration’s bungling of Katrina and its aftermath in 2005.
A hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico could also cast unwelcome attention on the offshore oil rigs that McCain has championed as a solution to rising gasoline prices — they are now being evacuated in the face of the coming storm.
One senior GOP official said he does not anticipate a convention delay at this point, but he said the event would have to be reorganized if a large storm hit a major city on the coast.
“You would have to dramatically change the nature of what you do. Much less partisan. Much less political,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because internal discussions are ongoing. He added that all the speakers would have to retool their addresses to reflect the storm and its impact. “Otherwise, it’s the elephant in the room.”