UPDATE (Noon EDT 9/1/2008): In a conference call with reporters about an hour ago, senior Republican leaders said that both Cindy McCain and Laura Bush will address the convention today, both focusing on efforts to generate aid to the states being hit by Hurricane Gustav today. The schedules are still indefinite, but Mrs. Bush will probably be on the stage at about 4:50 pm CDT to introduce a video of Gulf State governors thanking everyone for helping gather relief donations. Louisiana Gov. Jindal will not participate as he is on-scene directing his state’s disaster relief work.
The Republican officials said that there were no plans for Sen. McCain to make his acceptance speech outside St. Paul. Gov. Palin, who is in St. Paul now, was reported to be working on her speech and catching up after the "whirlwind" past few days. (End Noon Update)
When Katrina hit on August 29, 2005 President Bush and Sen. John McCain were celebrating McCain’s birthday in Arizona. Today, as Hurricane Gustav slams into the New Orleans area — Gustav now downgraded to a Category 2 storm — President Bush and Vice President Cheney have both canceled their scheduled appearances and Sen. McCain has suspended almost all convention activities.
The best news is that neither New Orleans Ray (leave the school buses in the parking lot) Nagin nor former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco will control disaster relief. New Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is there, as are prepositioned disaster relief forces of the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security. They will provide adult supervision.
McCain’s decision to suspend most convention activities – all except those necessary under party rules to convene the convention and commence business of platform, rules and other committees — is entirely appropriate. The Party shouldn’t be partying while other Americans are suffering a potential natural disaster. We won’t know for many hours – perhaps more than a day or two – whether the New Orleans levees will withstand either this storm or Hurricane Hanna, now only a day or two behind Gustav.
About two million people have been evacuated from the New Orleans area, and Nagin has said that those who didn’t obey the mandatory evacuation order will not be rescued. They will be, if necessary. But not by Nagin or his people.
Republican Convention activities will likely resume their full schedule tomorrow. Stay tuned.