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Gustav - bad news or good news for Republicans?
Posted by: McQ on Monday, September 01, 2008

Conventional wisdom says that hurricane Gustav is a disaster for the Republicans and their hoped for convention bounce. Essentially the meme says that they can't effectively use their 4 days for the uninterupted message sales job conventions normally provide.

And that, of course, is expected to dampen any bounce the Republicans might have enjoyed.

Nate Silver of "The Plank" presents the counter-argument:
Now then — how could Gustav help the Republicans? Let me run briefly through four or five ways:

1. Allows McCain to Appear Magnanimous. By potentially delaying or canceling his "date" at the GOP convention, McCain appears as though he is giving something up to tend to the Gulf Coast. Sympathetic and neutral-to-sympathetic media outlets may view this as underscoring McCain's "America First" theme.

2. Lowers Expectations Bar. The selection of Sarah Palin as the VP nominee has forced the GOP to shift abruptly from a "Ready to Lead" theme to an "America First" theme. While it is difficult to say whether one of these themes was intrinsically stronger than the other, odds are that a lot of speeches had to be re-engineered, probably rendering them less effective upon delivery. Gustav, however, may give the GOP a built-in "excuse" for more off-the-cuff, hastily-organized speeches.

3. Removes the Bush problem. The further Mr. 30% is from St. Paul, the better off the Republicans will be.

4. Do-Over. Americans have short memories, and a relatively more successful response to Gustav could allow the GOP to argue that it has redeemed itself for the mistake of Katrina.

5. Crisis Mentality May Benefit McCain. By appearing in New Orleans, and perhaps even delivering his acceptance speech from there, McCain will have the opportunity to appear "presidential". Rather than asserting to that he is ready to lead — an assertion that was undermined the the selection of Palin — he may hope to give the appearance of actually demonstrating such leadership.
3,4, and 5 seem to me to be the most important points in his list.

Frankly, keeping Bush out of the convention limelight is a positive. How to do that without Gustav is all but impossible. Gustav provides a perfect excuse and, interestingly, Bush himself grabbed it quickly.

The "do-over" aspect is very important. Even if New Orleans floods, the orderly and well planned evacuation is a huge positive story to tell. If NO comes out relatively unscathed, weathering a hurricane which is, according to all reports a little more dangerous than Katrina (because of its landfall category and where it is hitting), then this becomes a very, very positive story - one of redemption for the Bush administration.

And as Silver points out, since the spotlight is focused on the Republicans anyway, it is a perfect opportunity to display leadership by McCain. That coupled with a much better outcome for New Orleans (if that's the case) could actually help Republicans this week.

Lowering expectations doesn't resound with me. Changing the focus of the speeches perhaps. But if everything comes out relatively well with Gustav, it can become a celebration of success by Wednesday. I see that as a possible positive and certainly something which will reflect well on point 5.

As for point 1 - apparently that is beginning to happen. The Republican Ohio delegation has spontaneously raised $20,000 for disaster victims vs. giving it to the party. They obviously have to tread carefully on this (or it becomes fodder for the old "politicizing" a disaster argument), but it is an opportunity to demonstrate magnanimity.

So to Michael Moore and former National Chairman of the Democratic National Committee Don Fowler who think Gustav is an answer to a prayer, maybe not so much, huh?
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I think overall its a negative. Especially with the Palin pick.

It would have been perfect timing to introduce Palin and highlight her credentials and accomplishments and explain the pick. Otherwise her past is at the mercy of the MSM. Not everyone follows things closely or watched Palin during the announcement. People abhor a vacuum and will let others fill it.

Its not that they won’t find the time to let Palin speak. But all the news organizations will be splitting their time between the convention and Gustov coverage.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Palin wouldn’t have been speaking anyway until Wednesday, by which the worst of Gustav will have long past.
 
Written By: SaveFarris
URL: http://
Bush got the blame from many people for the way Katrina got handled... and I think unfairly. The blame should have gone to the state and local governments, particularly the clueless then- governor of Louisiana and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

Bobby Jindal is running things down there, now, and Ray Nagin has apparently learned a hard lesson about how the buck stops at his desk... he can’t simply push it up the line, as he did in the case of Katrina. Miraculously, buses were located this time that were not, last time out, and they’ve managed for the most part to get the people the hell out of the way of the storm. It’s called perpetration and taking charge... something Nagin did not do last time.

I would suggest to you, as a result is what we’re witness to now; This is a huge boost for Republican style independence and self-reliance. The local and state governments have taken charge of the situation, and miraculously, things are running much more smoothly. This is not a failure on the part of the federal government, (Nor was it in Katrina’s case) it’s what happens when the state and local governments do their jobs, versus Katrina, when they decidedly did not.

The short term political result is a little cloudy, give the immediate impact on the Convention in St Paul. That said, however, in the longer term, I see this as a victory... clearly, given the way things are going with Gustav vs Katrina, minds have been changed about whose responsibility the thing really is... and the results are remarkably different. I see this as resulting in at least marginally less knee-jerk dependence on the federal government.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Popular Mechanics special report on "Debunking the Myths of Hurricane Katrina":
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/2315076.html
 
Written By: ABC
URL: http://
Link does not seem to work above:
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/2315076.html

cut and paste
 
Written By: ABC
URL: http://
It LOOKS (thank god) that the big disaster we all anticipated is not going to materialize.

Tomorrow forth will probably be close to business as usual as the convention.

Gustav doesn’t make much of an indent one way or the other politics-wise.

As usual, CW is so much media wish and hoping
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Bush got the blame from many people for the way Katrina got handled... and I think unfairly. The blame should have gone to the state and local governments, particularly the clueless then- governor of Louisiana and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
Bit, Bush did screw up. He trusted Blanco and Nagin.

In a serious vein, Gustov shows that when cooperation across jurisdictional lines is paramount, the proper things can be done at the proper time. Bush did screw up in that he did not force Blanco and Nagin to be more proactive. Remember, Haley Barbar did cooperate with the feds and the locals, and even though the brunt of Katrina hit Mississippi, there were very few tales of incompentance.

Kudos to Nagin for learning the lesson.

In terms of helping political parties, I think the comparison between Jindal and Blanco will resonate more than anything else.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Bit, Bush did screw up. He trusted Blanco and Nagin.
Heh. Point taken.
I think the comparison between Jindal and Blanco will resonate more than anything else.


Quite, particularly, as I say, in the longer term.

ABC: You don’t really expect us to take Popular Mechanics seriously, do you, really?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
heh
 
Written By: ABC
URL: http://
Short term slight negative, long term no effect whatsoever.

The negative of the lack of free publicity will be offset by the generally competent response this time by the Republican Governors and the Republican Administration, while the Democrats are busy off wallowing in the muck about whose child is whose in the Palin family.
 
Written By: filbert
URL: http://www.medary.com
well now that palin has admitted that her 17 year old daughter is unwed and a prego. it will have a net negative effect when she is "supposed to be a social conservative" but her own daughter cant follow abstinence endorsed by the social conservative movement. looks like mcain is trying to lose the election. ohh well maybe in 4 years the repubs will have a real conservative to offer.
 
Written By: slntax
URL: http://
What is so incredible is that not one Democrat came out to blast Moore and/or Fowler, even if they secretly agreed with them. Not one? To go before reporters (so they could at least try to keep a balance in Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama politically, if anything) and say, "I think what Michael Moore/Don Fowler said is reprehensible and they should be condemned for it. There are no politics when it comes to the welfare of our citizens."

Who said something along those lines? John McCain, without blasting Fowler or Moore, when he said that it was time to "take off our Republican hats and pur on our American hats." Notice that that remark didn’t get mch airplay.

Then again, the media ignored Fowler and Moore.

But it shows that Democrats have a tin ear when it comes to the welfare of the citizens in those states they just can’t seem to win. It would be the equivalent of wishing for landslides in Vermont just because they vote for Democrats. (Or California, or Oregon, or Illinois, for that matter.)

Imagine the media frenzy if an earthquake in California threatened the vote there, taking that state’s electoral votes out of the mix, and a Republican former chairman of the RNC said, "This is great for us, because it changes the election. It means God is on our side."

Keith Dimbulbermann would call this idiot "the WORST Person in the World" (leaving out Ahmadinejad and bin Laden, but that’s another matter), and he would be right. But where is the outrage for this comment?

None, nada, zip, zilch. And the leftwing media is thrilled to have it that way, so they can continue to be in the tank for Obama and the Democrats.
 
Written By: James Marsden
URL: http://
well now that palin has admitted that her 17 year old daughter is unwed and a prego. it will have a net negative effect when she is "supposed to be a social conservative" but her own daughter cant follow abstinence endorsed by the social conservative movement. looks like mcain is trying to lose the election. ohh well maybe in 4 years the repubs will have a real conservative to offer.
Eh.

This won’t have any effect either way. The kid is still choosing life, instead of the democrat option.

You liberals really don’t understand this stuff.

Go back to your liberal bubble.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
ok shall we look at a interview of palin in 2006?
http://eagleforumalaska.blogspot.com/2006/07/2006-gubernatorial-candidate.html

third question down.

Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?


SP: Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.

and according to
http://www.webmd.com/news/20080711/teen-pregnancy-rates-edige-higher

underage teen pregnancy is on the rise thru out the country. real libertarians would say why is it the governments place to endorse one from of education over another? IT IS THE INDIVIDUAL CHOICE TO EDUCATE ONESELF NOT THE GOVERNMENT TO SPEND MONEY ON. but this is a republican talking point site not a real libertarian site.
 
Written By: slntax
URL: http://
OH NOES! A 17-YR OLD HAVING SEX IS PROOF THAT THE MOTHER IS REALLY A HIPPIE LIBERAL!

By your logic, Cheney is a daily Kos poster because his daughter was a lesbian.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I gotta say....the speed with which Bush Derangement Syndrome transferred to Palin is stunning.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Waiting until today to clear the air about Trigg ... I can’t help but think the libs played right into McCain’s hands.

Not only is the conspiracy theory not true ... the reality is further proof that Palin is an authentic human being who practices what she preaches.
 
Written By: Ronnie Gipper
URL: http://
People abhor a vacuum and will let others fill it.

Pretty funny, giving all the missing detail in Obama’s life (Law school writings? Even his senior thesis as an undergrad? one-page medical report? IL state senate records missing? CAC records? etc) and the MSM went after it *how* hard?

And the hyperventilating about Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy is nothing less than astounding. How her daughter’s pregnancy proves anything at all other than teenagers sometimes get pregnant is beyond me. Eh. I didn’t really expect the Libtards who occasionally troll here to have anything resembling a true argument. For that you must have facts, evidence, and logic, all of which are to our trolls as a cross is to a vampire.
 
Written By: jorgxmckie
URL: http://
she is "supposed to be a social conservative" but her own daughter cant follow abstinence endorsed by the social conservative movement
I guess in your world teenagers always do exactly what their parents tell them. Get a grip.
 
Written By: David C.
URL: http://
And the hyperventilating about Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy is nothing less than astounding.


Really. Doesn’t it strike anyone as interesting that these complaints are coming from a crowd that considers abortion proper pre-natal care? They’re getting married, and raising the kid. They’d planned to get married anyway the way I hear the story. Maybe what we oughta do is set up a White House wedding for these two, what say?



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Entirely unrelated, but then again not really to the libertarian mind.
I think the comparison between Jindal and Blanco will resonate more than anything else.
Ideas matter, identity does not.

 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Bithead—if the pregnancy is, as reported, now approximately five months on, it will need to be a Bush White House wedding, as the due date would be before 1/20/09.

Gustav turned out to be weaker and less of a threat to New Orleans than Katrina; it went west of the city (the other side from Katrina’s route) and now is pummelling upstate Louisiana. However, Gulfport apparently got hit hard again.

And Hannah might hit Florida Wednesday or Thursday, or areas northward later in the week—which may turn out to overshadow McCain’s speech, wherever he decides to give it. (Although Hannah will apparently remain a Category 1. However, Wilma was also officially a Category 1 when it totally screwed up the SE Florida metro area.) (The forecasters are speaking of a three day "cone of uncertainty" which includes South Florida. This after Faye the week before last, and Gustav’s outer bands for most of the weekend. Hurricanes can actually be a bore sometimes.)

As to the topic of the post—in my opinion, Gustav is a plus for the GOP because it downgrades the importance of Palin (or more importantly, the importance of all the yammering about whether she is or is not a good VP pick) in the news cycle.
 
Written By: kishnevi
URL: http://kishnevi.wordpress.com/
Bithead—if the pregnancy is, as reported, now approximately five months on, it will need to be a Bush White House wedding, as the due date would be before 1/20/09.
Why?
Are we under some kind of deadline? Imposed by whom?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
"ok shall we look at a interview of palin in 2006?....."

Evidently you are in favor of explicit sex education. Are you also in favor of education in the proper use of the English language (e.g. punctuation, capitalization, quotation marks)?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Bithead—the usual protocol in this sort of situation is for the couple to get married before the child is born. If the information that Miss Palin is five months along is correct, then the child will apparently be born while George W. Bush is still president.
 
Written By: kishnevi
URL: http://kishnevi.wordpress.com/

 
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