Republicans were performing a rain dance this time last week hoping and praying that a thunderstorm might wash out Barack Obama's parade. Had the skies opened up on Thursday night during the Democrat presidential nominee's acceptance speech, the record crowd for the historic event would not have been. The record television audience of 40 million -- larger than the one in America that watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics -- would have been much smaller and rather than hear reporters and pundits talk about how spectacular the week was, the TV audience would have heard commentary about how a risky gambit didn't pay off.
As it turns out, the gods smiled on the party gathering in Denver. All was well and ended well.
Not so in the Twin Cities where John McCain had already stolen Obama's media thunder by naming an unknown, unqualified candidate to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, should Americans be foolish enough to elect him president. A thousand miles away, a gathering storm was upstaging the political staging so carefully planned for the John McCain-Sarah Palin Republican duo.
In the twisted-thinking tradition of the far right TV preachers, I believe God was cursing the GOP for sins committed by its president, George W. Bush a mere three years ago. Despite the televised pleas for help, Bush thought it was more important to complete his vacation in Crawford rather than put his leather loafers on the ground in NOLA in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
His inattention, coupled with his administration's incompetence, was then -- and is now -- a national disgrace.
The Republicans are now paying for past failings. The wrath of Hurricane Gustav is forcing the grand old party in St. Paul, Minneapolis to be scaled down and cut back. McCain and Palin have made a beeline to Jackson, Mississippi where they can demonstrate their concern by being available for photo-ops.
This is being done, of course, all for the national good. Remembering his "Country First" message, McCain encouraged colleagues via video hookup to "take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats."
No surprise here. When you've got a musty old hat that's tattered and torn, putting on one that you've not worn in years is bound to make you feel better -- and look better, too.
Monroe Anderson is an award-winning journalist who penned op-ed columns for both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. Check out his blog at monroeanderson.typepad.com
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