Merkley Celebrates Labor Day, Asks Supporters to Help Gulf Coast

Today is Labor Day, a day dedicated to hardworking Americans deserving of a day off. Oregon Senate candidate Jeff Merkley is spending the holiday celebrating with his labor brothers and sisters at picnics in Portland and Eugene. Before I give you an update on the day's festivities, I want to take a minute to mention a few things....

Full disclosure, I am the netroots director for OR-Sen candidate Jeff Merkley

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Manufacturing Monday: Gustave's effect on energy & manufacturers

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By now, Hurricane Gustav is ravaging the great city of New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf Coast.  Our hopes and prayers goes out to the good folks of the area.  Well you probably have guessed, that Johnny Venom would've found the economic angle on all this.  Rest assured, fellow Kossacks, I won't let you down!  But once again, I do hope for the best for the folks aflicted by Gustave.

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McCain First part deux

Following up on Josh's post below, the absurdity of the McCain camp's exploitation of Gustav to portray the candidate as someone who puts country above politics, even as he plays politics with Gustav, continues, as Rick Davis accuses Barack Obama of being the crassly political one.

John McCain's campaign manager today accused Barack Obama of practicing politics as Hurricane Gustav bears down on the Gulf Coast.

Rick Davis, in a brief interview following a pep talk he gave to convention volunteers in St. Paul, Minn., said there was a difference between the actions of McCain and Obama.

"Look at what happened today -- did Barack Obama attack John McCain or Sarah Palin?" Davis asked.  

Told Obama had criticized McCain and Palin on the campaign trail over pay equity, Davis continued: "So he attacks us while there's a hurricane going on and John McCain suspends his convention basically. What bigger contrast can you have about putting your country first?"

Riiiiight.

The Arizona senator said the remainder of the convention schedule would depend on the destruction caused by the storm. He raised the possibility of accepting the nomination on Thursday in a Gulf Coast speech beamed back to the delegates 1,000 miles to the north.

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You Want a Telethon, GOP? Then Do It with Obama

McCain chairman Rick Davis, together with a televised address from John McCain, just finished his press conference with reporters about the future of the Republican National Convention this year in the face of hurricane Gustav.  The upshot is that all plans are up in the air, with the exception of the formal party business on Monday of getting a quorum to officially nominate John McSame and Sarah Quaylin.

Of course, the GOP cannot afford politically to appear to be engaged in convention festivities as the Gulf Coast drowns--once again--due to their criminal negligence.  But if they cancel the convention, they won't get the bounce John McCain needs to stay competitive as Obama heads into September with a 6 point lead in Gallup's already McCain-friendly poll.

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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."

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