As Democrats hold their national convention, said Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin in Politico, Republican officials are holding emergency talks on what to do if Tropical Storm Gustav hits New Orleans as a Category 3 hurricane on their convention’s opening night, as looks possible. The third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which badly damaged both New Orleans and President Bush’s image, is Friday, and a “Katrina II” could spoil Bush’s opening-night speech and the GOP’s “message of effective government management.”
It could also steal much of the GOP’s news coverage, said Frank James in the Chicago Tribune’s The Swamp blog. The national media is planning to head to St. Paul for the Republican convention this weekend, but “if Gustav turns into a major storm,” many journalists “will be headed to the Gulf Coast” instead. No wonder it’s “jangling political nerves.”
Judging by the reaction of “people on the Left,” said Noel Sheppard in National Review Online’s Planet Gore blog, you’ve got to wonder if they “aren’t privately hoping this storm turns into a Katrina-like disaster just in time for Republicans to start their convention.” But “climate alarmists” might also be rooting for a bad Gustav, to back up their “scientifically faulty claims” that global warming is causing stronger hurricanes.
Of course “we hope Gustav fades harmlessly away,” said The New York Times editorial board in The Board blog. Still, it’s hard not to see some “karmic payback” in this, and “we like the idea that as the Bush administration comes to an end, nature is forcing the President and the Republican National Committee to think back to the horrifically bungled response to Katrina.”