(St. Paul, Minn.)—It could’ve been the GOP’s worst nightmare—a major storm heading to an area that almost 3 years ago to the day was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Forecasters are guaranteeing damage from Hurricane Gustav, predicted to hit land on the day the Republican National Convention is to begin. The conflict, both political and natural, has brought out religious philosophies from some Democratic strategists. Indie filmmaker Michael Moore told a niche TV network that Gustav coming during the GOP convention is “proof there is a God in heaven.” And former chair of the DNC Don Fowler said the storm is a “sign from God” against Republicans.
Gustav is definitely a mighty storm, forecast to come ashore on the northern Gulf Coast on Monday.
The 4 p.m. Sunday advisory from the National Weather Service said Gustav’s maximum sustained winds are near 115 m.p.h. with higher gusts. The storm is a Cat III but some intensification is possible Sunday night. Count on Gustav remaining a major hurricane until landfall. Regular updates, maps and tracking cone graphics are available at the NWS website.
Meanwhile in St. Paul, the Republican National Convention held a 3 p.m. press conference Sunday. Rick Davis, campaign manager for McCain 2008, announced that the RNC is making serious revisions to the convention program and related activities. Davis said, "We are deeply concerned about the safety and welfare of the residents of the Gulf State region. Our top priority is to assist those who will be affected by Hurricane Gustav. This is not a time for politics or celebration; it is a time for us to come together as Americans and assist the residents of the Gulf States."
Davis noted there are things that can’t be postponed. "In order for the Republican Party to officially exist and for Senator McCain to qualify for the ballot, we are - by law - required to conduct specific official business. At this point, our program on Monday has been scaled back and will only include what party rules governing the nomination of our candidates for president and vice president require. We will perform the official business as required. In addition, we have set aside time to make delegates and Americans watching our proceedings at home aware of what they can do to assist in relief efforts designed to help those who will be affected by Hurricane Gustav."
Davis concluded: "At some point between Monday and Thursday evening, we will convene once again to complete the activities needed to qualify Senator McCain and Governor Palin for the ballot in all 50 states. Beyond that, all we can say is that we will monitor what is happening and make decisions about other convention business as details become available."
This is quite possibly the first time in history a political party has raised funds for people in need during a national convention.
Meanwhile comments from Dems like Moore and Fowler are being bandied about by pundits and bloggers. I guess some might look at Gustav as punishment from heaven for the GOP.
But I figure there’s no way to second-guess God. Who knows? I figure He's way too smart to get into politics, though.
The US Report will provide regular updates on the RNC convention and on Gustav.