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What Gustav Does

How the hurricane affects the Republican National Convention.

8:30 PM, Aug 31, 2008 • By NOEMIE EMERY
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(1) Gets Bush out of St. Paul, where he would have given a speech that the media and the Democrats would have pounced on, and puts him in the eye of the storm, doing the nation's business, where he will be welcomed and greeted by friendly Republican governors.

(2) Puts the spotlight on those friendly Republican governors--Haley Barbour, Charlie Crist, and most of all, Bobby Jindal, (the male Sarah Palin)--who will do their jobs competently, in contrast with the mess made three years ago by the Democratic governor of Louisiana, whose performance even at the time was compared unfavorably to that of Barbour and Jeb Bush, then Florida's governor.

(3) Puts the spotlight especially upon Jindal, a huge favorite of and rising star in the Republican party, who has the chance now to prove himself under pressure on a truly huge stage.

(4) Cuts short the hours and hours of media chatter, which would doubtless have focused on a) how tarnished the 'Republican brand' is in this season; b) the immensely high bar set by Barack Obama, and c) the immensely strong current the party is swimming against.

(5) Cuts short the exposure given the 'Republican brand' by cutting short coverage of more conventional (and boring) Republican figures and boilerplate, and focusing largely on the three starring figures--Jindal, McCain, and Sarah Palin (the pale Bobby Jindal)--who are diverse, unorthodox, have cross-over potential, and are decidedly outside of the box.

(6) Eliminates the danger of a direct comparison between the oratorical talents of McCain and Obama, as a conventional acceptance speech will be no longer possible, and anything McCain says in this context will have its own innate power.

(7) Takes McCain from a setting in which he's uncomfortable (partisan leader of a partisan army) to one--national leader rallying a country in crisis--which suits him much better.

(8) Takes the convention from the traditional role of being an orgy of enemy-bashing to one of national service and charity.

(9) Gives fools like former DNC chairman Don Fowler a chance to wholly embarrass themselves by chortling over the inconveniences he imagined the storm would inflict on the Republican party. Watch what you wish for, my friend.

Noemie Emery is a contributing editor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.