Gustav and the RNC

As Hurricane Gustav made landfall yesterday just west of New Orleans, the Republican National Convention had to roll back their schedule for the day. The original plan was to order the days thematically according to the John McCain campaign slogans. Monday’s theme, “Service,” was axed in favor of a longer, yet somewhat relating theme of “Serving a Cause Greater Than Self.” Instead of hosting the numerous speakers, including President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, over a seven-hour period, the Republicans trimmed the convention activities to just about two hours. First Lady Laura Bush and (future First Lady?) Cindy McCain spoke, asking to aid those in need along the Gulf Coast.

President Bush’s speech will, of course, be rescheduled for tonight in a primetime speaking slot, though his remarks will be cut to just eight minutes. He won’t even be in St. Paul, however; he will make his case for a McCain presidency from the White House. Joe Lieberman and Sen. Fred Thompson will also speak tonight. Rudy Giuliani was supposed to be the keynote speaker for tonight. Convention officials have said he will retain that role, but it will be pushed back a night or two.

What still remains is what convention officials are calling a “reintroduction” to McCain and a “high-profile introduction” for Sarah Palin. It is not known yet whether the other themes will remain in tact – “reform” for tonight, “prosperity” for tomorrow night, and “peace” for Thursday night. The RNC may just run on one common theme this year in helping aid those affected by Gustav.

A day removed from Gustav making landfall, though, and it looks like the majority of those along the Gulf Coast dodged a bullet. Luckily the storm wasn’t that strong when the eye reached land; it was once projected that it would make landfall as a Category 4 storm. Since it wasn’t as destructive as once thought it could be, it should pave the way for the RNC to get (somewhat) back on track tomorrow. Politically, though, the storm came at a bad time, interrupting what could have been a surge in the polls for the Republicans riding the Palin wave. Michael Moore realized the opportune timing of Gustav saying that it was “proof that there is a God in Heaven.”

We’ll see what the polls look like as the next few days unfold. The Palin announcement effectively canceled any boost Obama got from the DNC. Now it’s up to the Republicans to forge ahead as November nears.

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