Hurricane Gustav has forced the cancellation of all but the most basic activities on the first day of the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul tomorrow. “This is a time when we have to do away with our party politics, and we have to act as Americans,” said presumptive nominee John McCain.
According to Politico, “four days of festivities were to open Monday, but now a party business session is all that is scheduled.” There will be no “political rhetoric,” according to McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis.
Depending on what happens with Gustav (and, I might add, Hanna, though I don’t know if they’re tracking that one yet), officials hope to return to a more traditional convention schedule later in the week:
Convention planners said McCain hopes to show up later in the week to accept his party’s nomination, but there was no guarantee of it, and he is not required to be in the hall for the nomination to be official.
Officials said they will execute “certain basic minimum requirements” of party rules, including receiving the report of the credentials committee, adopting rules and the party platform and electing officials of the convention. …
Davis said the convention will be decided day to day, with delegates notified by e-mail and text message. Davis said the convention hopes to conduct a roll call, but doesn’t know when that will be. …
McCain said he “can hardly wait” to get to St. Paul. “I hope and pray we’ll be able to resume some of our normal operations as quickly as possible,” he said. “But some of that is, frankly, in the hands of God.”
The delegates will also raise funds for disaster relief efforts, and the companies planning convention parties are being asked to “be respectful of the situation that exists in the Gulf” and link those events with the fund-raising efforts. In addition, there may even be some sort of joint charity effort with the Obama campaign, though that remains to be seen.
Many in McCain’s campaign hope — privately, of course — that Gustav will provide them with an opportunity to repair the damage done to the GOP’s image by Hurricane Katrina three years ago. In addition, the fact that McCain’s convention will no longer include speeches by President Bush and Vice President Cheney is not exactly seen is a political detriment, according to Politico.