Arriving in Minneapolis Sunday afternoon for the Republican National Convention, Blackberries and TV monitors in the airport helped spread the word that many expected: Monday’s primetime program was off due to the imminent arrival of Hurricane Gustav. The RNC put out a statement which contained a statement from John McCain campaign manager Rick Davis:
“We are deeply concerned about the safety and welfare of the residents of the Gulf State region. Our top priority is to assist those who will be affected by Hurricane Gustav. This is not a time for politics or celebration; it is a time for us to come together as Americans and assist the residents of the Gulf States.”
The required legal business of the Convention, it was announced, would proceed Monday afternoon, but there would be no hoopla or primetime speeches. John McCain informed voters and attendees alike that this was no time to celebrate. The rest of the week schedule is “to be determined.”
Rather than frenzied panic at the loss of precious Convention time or dismay that the big party was to be interrupted, the general reaction here in Minneapolis ranged from resignation to quiet satisfaction. Commentators noted the many benefits including the cancellation of the speeches by the politically toxic President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
Perhaps the mood would have been darker if not for the astounding news that the Democratic Convention provided Barack Obama with absolutely no bounce. The latest CNN/Opinion Research Center poll showed the race to be a dead heat. Well, if there is no ground to “make up” maybe a delay or two of the Convention and a day or two more of Palin-mania might not be such a bad thing, many mulled out loud.