Thursday, August 28, 2008

At the Other End of the Mississippi, Gustav Will Probably Upstage the GOP Convention

The Republicans commence their cold war on Democrats (otherwise known as their convention) with speeches by Joe Lieberman, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush on Monday, September 1, on the same day that NOAA projects Tropical Storm (potentially Category 3 Hurricane) Gustav to make landfall on the Gulf Coast proximate to New Orleans. Those speeches will also occur 3 days after the 3rd anniversary of the genesis of the Bush Administration's response failures to Hurricane Katrina hitting the Big Easy.

That's not going to be good public relations for either John McCain or George Bush, since they could likely be reunited in a second detached and callous celebration while Gulf Coast residents suffer through another disaster:

Neither McCain nor his twin Bush were focused on New Orleans during Katrina, and both failed New Orleans in its recovery. If Gustav hits as projected, it will only reinforce their failures during the GOP necktie party.

UPDATE: TPM agrees and forecasts a "split-screen convention" for the Republicans. In my opinion, it could be as damaging to the GOP's brand as '68 Chicago unrest was to the Democrats. 2008 could be the Republicans' 1968.

UPDATE: New Orleans' mass transit to come to a standstill on Friday. Those convening Republicans were never really wild about transportation for the masses, anyway.

UPDATE: Oil companies in the oil-rich Gulf fields start interrupting production and pulling their employees from platforms today in advance of Gustaf. Such an interruption would also be used an excuse for price gouging by gas stations along evacuation routes, which is looting by another name. Republicans generally don't have a problem with that kind of looting because no real estate is violated in stealing people's money for gas. It's what they call the "law" of supply and demand.

UPDATE: Sue Sturgis reports that, despite an Army Corps of Engineer whistle blower's repeated attempts to warn about the unproven weaknesses of the massive hydraulic pumps (supplied by a company with close ties to the Bush family) that drain New Orleans, problems persist. Sturgis also ponders irony:
The White House titled its official evaluation of what went wrong after the 2005 disaster Katrina: Lessons Learned. Here's hoping Gustav doesn't give that phrase the same bitterly ironic twist the insurgency gave the president's assertion of "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq.

UPDATE: The mainstream media is starting to weigh in on the dire consequences for both oil prices and the Republicans of a hurricane in the Gulf. According to MarketWatch:
Crude-oil prices roared briefly back above $120 a barrel Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange as energy traders, betting on supply disruptions, dashed consumers' hopes that gasoline prices would seamlessly extend their descent from recent record highs.

That's simply not going to happen. For all the ruckus about how energy prices have been hijacked by speculators, the underlying fundamentals of supply and demand still apply during hurricane season. And with Gustav bearing the markings of a big, potentially deadly storm, energy traders are not about to let themselves get caught short heading into the three-day Labor Day weekend.

With traders holding the long position, this metaphorically backs the Republicans into a short position, clinging to the hope that they can dodge another disaster and another spike in fuel costs.

If Gustav pounds New Orleans, the deluge will be felt in St. Paul-Minneapolis, reminding voters of the 2005 Katrina disaster that Democrats have hoisted ever since as an example of the current Republican administration's incompetence.

UPDATE: Fox News is reporting that the McCain campaign is having second thoughts about competing for air time with Gustav, so they may move to postpone the GOP necktie party until that point in time at which American attention is less focused on the Gulf Coast.

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