Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

George Bush had been set to speak to the Republican National Convention Monday night but now that Hurricane Gustav is set to hit land as a category 4 just west of New Orleans, Bush has announced that neither he nor Dick Cheney will be going to St. Paul at all this week. Bush said he will be heading down to Houston instead, as he doesn't want his appearance in St. Paul to "impede the emergency response" to the hurricane.

Sometimes the right thing and the politically expedient thing are the same.

Update [2008-8-31 13:28:42 by Todd Beeton]:McCain is wisely using Gustav to frame himself as the anti-Bush.

"I pledge that tomorrow night and if necessary throughout our convention, we will act as Americans and not as Republicans because America needs us now," McCain said Sunday.

McCain, his wife Cindy, and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, toured the emergency management center in Mississippi, a state that could be hit hard by the approaching hurricane.

"No matter what we are — Republican or Democratic — America needs us to do what all Americans have always done in times of disaster and challenge," McCain told reporters.

Update [2008-8-31 13:52:25 by Todd Beeton]:I agree with Will Thomas at TPM:

I find it disturbing that McCain and Palin have decided to go down to Mississippi this week. A trip like this is worse than opportunism. Let us not forget that McCain doesn't travel alone; he brings along staff and Secret Service agents, all of whom require the time and attention of local officials. [...]

Neither McCain nor Palin offer any unique advantage to New Orleans with their presence -- they are not Southern politicians, they don't have any particularly useful contacts in the area and they aren't emergency responders.

This would be particularly tasteless if it comes to pass:

McCain was scheduled to deliver his acceptance speech Thursday but now may do so from the devastation zone if the storm hits the U.S. coast with the ferocity feared by forecasters.

Contrast this with how Barack Obama is responding (h/t vcalzone):

Sen. Obama gathered the pool outside after services at St. Luke's Lutheran Church. He told us that his camapaign plans to mobilize its huge e-mail list of supporters to volunteer or send money once the impact of Gustav becomes apparent and authorities know better what kind of help is needed. He said his campaign is coordinating with local authorities.

"We can activate an e-mail list of a couple million people who want to give back," he said. "I think we can get tons of volunteers to travel down there if it becomes necessary."

Your pooler asked him if McCain's visit now is appropriate.

His response: "A big storm like this raises bipartisan concerns and I think for John to want to find out what's going on is fine."

"The thing that I always am concerned about in the middle of a storm is whether we're drawing resources away from folks on the ground because the Secret Service and various security requirements, sometimes it pulls police, fire and other departments away from concentrating on the job."

"I'm assuming that where he went that wasn't an issue. Were going to try to stay clear of the area until things have settled down and then we'll probably try to figure out how we can be as helpful as possible."

Tags: Dick Cheney, George Bush, Hurricane Gustav, RNCC (all tags)

Comments

33 Comments

Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

Todd, you should make something talking about what I put in my diary about Obama using Gustav as a call to volunteer. And discussing the importance of staying out of the way.

by vcalzone 2008-08-31 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

Call me crazy....but I think the recent turn of events due to Gustav and scaling down of the convention may end up benefiting John McCain.

Let's face it.....it is gonna be near to impossible to top Obama's Greek temple spectacular speech.   Obama gave a great speech and McCain is not the best orator to compare with.

It is also no secret that George Bush and the Republicans in general are not exactly popular with the public.   The LESS Bush and other Republicans speaks....perhaps the better it becomes for McCain.

I also think this is why McCain choose Sarah Palin.    Being a new face in politics....people are not gonna associate her with the corruption and failures of the GOP party.    It is gonna be very difficult to paint her in a negative light compared to other lighting rods such as Romney, etc...

by newmexicodem 2008-08-31 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

You're crazy. McCain needed a high-profile event. And there are going to be seriously pissed off Minnesota organizers, officials, caterers, hotel owners, etc. This looks so disorganized and "chicken with its head cut off". All they had to do was send people down there to help, they didn't need to call the whole thing off. But as usual, John McCain went with his gut and instead of mitigating the chaos, he immortalized it.

by vcalzone 2008-08-31 09:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

I  agree with the first poster.. If anyone can make opportunism successful, it's the Republicans...  They've managed to do very well being crass opportunists...

I keep hoping that at some point, it will backfire, but so far it hasn't...

by LordMike 2008-08-31 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

I agree.  While Obama will be taking the high road and doing the most-effective thing, McCainiac will be showing how he "feels people's pain" and is a "natural leader."  People love a show, and remember how Bush's popularity soared after he stood on the WTC rubble with his bullhorn.

If I was Obama, I'd be making sure I was there in NO the minute the all-clear was sounded.  I fear an approach that shows McCainiac there and Obama not is going to make us look uninvolved and standoffish, and will hurt us big time.

by JDWalley 2008-08-31 12:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

He'll be where he is needed... with the victims, not with the emergency workers.

by vcalzone 2008-08-31 12:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

Great, but at least win a damn news cycle once in a while. It might not matter to Obama but he was losing before the convention precisely because winning/losing news cycles didn't matter to him.

by MNPundit 2008-08-31 06:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

Once it becomes clear what he can do, he'll move into action. Part of that would be making a very public statement asking for donations and volunteers. Letting people know the logistics of (what I assume will be) the buses that will take people to and from the region.

In the meantime, I imagine he'll be dropping by to visit some of the refugees. That will do well for a news cycle, even if it doesn't necessarily win it that day, it will keep him from falling behind.

by vcalzone 2008-08-31 09:27PM | 0 recs
...not gonna associate her with the corrruption...
OK, I'm blatantly pimping my own diary over at DK, but Palin is already corrupt. Whether her conduct was illegal abuse of power or not, it is clearly unethical.

Senator Clinton's supporters should be the most upset about the current Palin spin and lack of real reporting.

CBS was the traditional media outlet which first began broadcasting Bosnia clips.

CBS already has the video footage from KTVA, their Alaskan affiliate of Palin trying to tap-dance her way out of what clearly seems to be total abuse of her power as governor, but CBS hasn't yet aired it nationally.

Husband Todd even admits on-camera that he interfered with the state police, but tries to spin it away by calling it just "information."

We should ALL be screaming
by Eman 2008-08-31 10:41AM | 0 recs
How touching......!

I want to just cry.... NOT!

How will the R's use the hurricaine for political advantage. Let us count the ways.

by missliberties 2008-08-31 09:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

"No matter what we are -- Republican or Democratic -- America needs us to do what all Americans have always done in times of disaster and challenge," McCain told reporters.

So McCain is gonna eat cake with Bush?

by Pragmatic Left 2008-08-31 09:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

No, but close. He means he's going to put on a hard hat and create some photo ops.

by vcalzone 2008-08-31 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

Perhaps at a damaged oil rig?

by Obama44 2008-08-31 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

Looks like the GOP elephant is wearing prison stripes.. no?

http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITI CS/08/31/rnc.gustav/art.rncgustav.getty. jpg

by JJonMyDD 2008-08-31 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

McCain's tour of the Emergency Center diverted some attention and resources of the Center at a time when, if they are doing their jobs properly, they would be very busy with pre-positioning supplies and work crews.

by GreginFL 2008-08-31 09:50AM | 0 recs
McCain addressing RNC from Gulf Coast

Politically, it would be a master stroke. It would give McCain the opportunity to be presidential, to show compassion and allow him to reclaim his identity as a "different kind of Republican", and as Todd said, the anti-Bush.

That said, it would set terrible precedent for our country and its governance. While John McCain and Barack Obama are candidates for president, needing to appear strong and in command, neither of them are the President. George W. Bush is. Regardless of our feelings about him and his leadership, he is the sole occupant of the Oval Office and will be until January 20th. Aside from the relevant state and federal authorities, the President is the only elected federal official who should be making any sort of offficial statement from a disaster area.

While I concede the political upside to a McCain address from the Gulf Coast, his doing so would firm my belief that he is the wrong person to be commander-in-chief. What little respect I have for him would totally evaporate. The same would hold true if Barack Obama (or any other Democratic candidate) did the same.

I pray for the people of the Gulf Coast and hope that the effects of this storm are far less severe than currently anticipated.

by Practical Progressive 2008-08-31 10:13AM | 0 recs
Re: McCain addressing RNC from Gulf Coast

It would be one more transparent mcgimmick.

How many hail marys does this clown get?

by Obama44 2008-08-31 10:24AM | 0 recs
Re: McCain addressing RNC from Gulf Coast

They're only "transparent" to you and me -- not the average American voter.

by JDWalley 2008-08-31 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain addressing RNC from Gulf Coast

No. Even the dumbest will see through such a hail mary stunt.

by Obama44 2008-08-31 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

well our theme that Bush and McCain are closely connected would have benefitted from Bush speaking and subsequently endorsing McCain at their convention; What better proof that McCain is just four more years of Bush, than an in person endorsement on national tv? It really would have driven the theme to the viewers at home.

either way I dont think we should underestimate the Republicans ability to put out a mediocre convention. their headliners are gone and a storm threatens to steal away America's attention [as it should] but never underestimate your competition;

by alyssa chaos 2008-08-31 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

Actually, this completely cements his relationship to Bush. He used Katrina to put on a photo op instead of actual support, too.

by vcalzone 2008-08-31 10:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

i think it would have been way more effective if viewers saw them all chummy at the convention, you know all hugs and kisses while Gustav hits and the economy tanks.

by alyssa chaos 2008-08-31 10:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

Was never going to happen. Bush was going to be leaving after the first day, from what I understand. John Mccain would not have been there at that point. McCain's campaign is smart enough to keep McCain from shooting himself in the foot.

by vcalzone 2008-08-31 10:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

I'm of the school that anything that gets the GOP off-message and scrambling, and denies them the opportunity to carefully stage manage and showcase their paltry candidates (especially the laughable newbie Palin) is a good thing for us.

That having been said, there is NOTHING good about this storm.  Just watching the images out of New Orleans evoked memories from three years ago, and thoughts of all the people who are still displaced, and all of the neighborhoods still devastated, and the appalling way this government failed us.  It is deeply unfair that, once again, politics is being played with human lives on the Gulf Coast.

by JFMDC 2008-08-31 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

Good point. BTW, I'm not supporting Sen. Obama,so why do I have to be the one who points out how Presidential his reponse to the storm is?

by spirowasright 2008-08-31 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

I don't know, nor do I know why this isn't getting any traction anywhere. It's all about how McCain is going down there and getting photographed. He'll be there, wade through the wreckage, shake his fists at the sky and get a ton of attention while getting very little done.

Obama will wait to find out what people need and do his damnedest to get it to them. And just like after Katrina, I'm sure he'll be down there (probably with Pres Clinton again, too) to try and cheer up the refugees.

by vcalzone 2008-08-31 11:54AM | 0 recs
Why is Cheney missing?

The president ought to be concerned with the safety of the country, so Bush not speaking at the RNC is the right thing to do (although hopefully somebody more competent will be on hand as well).

But why is Cheney missing? Does he miss his undisclosed location? Or do they just figure that he's not even going to be particularly well liked at the RNC?

by Englishlefty 2008-08-31 12:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is Cheney missing?

I think they feel Cheney's traditional Puppy/Pancake Breakfast might not be as well-received as it has in years past.

by vcalzone 2008-08-31 12:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is Cheney missing?

They were afraid he might organize another bird hunt.

by skohayes 2008-08-31 04:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

If Obama did this grandstanding they would call him PRESUMPTUOUS and trying to show up the President.

I could only hope that McCain has the nerve to give the speech from a disaster zone.  It would be so classless.

by venavena 2008-08-31 02:02PM | 0 recs
Huh?

How would Bush and Cheney going to the Twin Cities hamper the emergency efforts?  There's no hurricane in MN.  

And my other question.  How does scaling down the convention help with emergency efforts?  Are all the speakers they are dropping going to put on hip waders and head for the disaster area?

by GFORD 2008-08-31 02:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Huh?

EXACTLY. They could be raising money from Minnesota, in fact, it would be better to have done so because it might have gotten more attention. As it is now, media won't know what they want them to do, whether they want them to cover the hurricane or cover the convention.

by vcalzone 2008-08-31 09:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Bush And Cheney Will Miss The Convention

The real opportunism is using this as an excuse to keep W out of the picture.

This ends the controversy for shunning Cheney with the added, unexpected bonus of brushing aside Bush.

McCain is still going to have to make some sort of acceptance speech though.  They can't get out of that one.

by nintendofanboy 2008-08-31 08:22PM | 0 recs

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