Republicans reportedly considering delaying convention

The GOP convention may not start on time as a result of tropical storm Gustav, which might provide a reminder of another storm the party would like voters to forget.

Published August 29, 2008 5:50AM (EDT)

In a post in this space on Thursday, Vincent Rossmeier noted that there has been discussion inside the White House about possibly canceling President Bush's speech at the Republican convention next week, depending on the turns taken by tropical storm Gustav.

Now, the Washington Post is out with an article that takes things one step further -- because of Gustav, the Post says, "Republican officials ... are considering delaying the start of the GOP convention." The Post also has the same report about deliberations inside the White House about whether to cancel Bush's appearance.

As the Post says, there's a very good reason why Republicans would want to avoid holding their convention as a storm batters the U.S.: Hurricane Katrina. Even if it weren't for Katrina and the negative perceptions still attached to the party from the damage the hurricane inflicted, holding what is essentially a political party while Americans suffer just doesn't look good.

And there's one other reason a decision to delay the convention might serve John McCain's strategic purposes. Actually, there are two: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Both are scheduled to speak on that first day, and a hurricane-related delay might be just the excuse the McCain camp needs to ensure that the pair doesn't appear without angering the large segment within the Republican Party that still holds the administration in high regard.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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