For months now, we've been hearing about how a surprisingly large number of Republican politicians would be avoiding the GOP Convention altogether.
Enthusiasm gap plagues GOP convention
Several Republican senators running for re-election say they'll be too busy campaigning to head to the Twin Cities in Minnesota for their party's national convention next month. Or, if you believe some Democrats, they're steering clear of George Bush and John McCain. "The Republican brand ranks down there with mortgage companies and oil speculators," said Democratic strategist Erick Mullen, an adviser to General Wesley Clark's 2004 presidential campaign. "The word itself is a monster on the loose and GOP senators facing tough elections, and that's all of them, are running into the woods like teenagers in a slasher movie."
Even Minnesota's own Norm Coleman seemed less than inclined to attend, but kinda had to since its in his HOME STATE.
Coleman said convention attendance is a simple election-year decision for many Senators who are facing tough re-election battles. "So I think those who come here will have an extraordinary time. But the colleagues who don't come are staying at
home only because they have tough races. If the convention wasn't in St. Paul, I wouldn't be at the convention," Coleman said."
Everything indicated that this as going to be an exceptionally lackluster and low-enthusiasm convention for the Republicans. Following on the tail of the enormously successful and packed-to-the-gills Democratic Convention, it would have been especially embarassing, and only accentuated the enthusiasm-gap between Obama and McCain.
So while I dont for a moment think the Republicans are happy about Gustav, there is no denying that it removed an awkward and politically damaging story. The story is the still the same: Empty convention halls, politicians cancelling appearances, GOP'ers avoiding the Convention...but now it becomes a positive story instead of a negative one, it accentuates their patriotism rather than their own party's lack of direction or passion. So in the end, with the arrival of Gustav, the GOP may have dodged a bullet. Instead of speaking before a less-than-packed house, John McCain might get to speak before a phalanx of cameras while wearing a windbreaker and looking ready for action, more his natural habitat anyways. For a man not well-suited to public speaking (especially in comparison to Obama), this will be a role he can more easily fill.
Even the fact that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are cancelling is a blessing. The truth is, McCain probably would have preferred for them to stay the heck away anyways, and now he may get that.