But it shouldn't surprise anyone if next week's Republican National Convention is affected by the weather troubles that are going to hit the Gulf region in a few days.
Already President Bush is taking a proactive approach -- something he and his administration didn't do three years ago -- as Hurricane Gustav barrels in. His efforts could include delaying or canceling his appearance at the convention.
But the larger issue is what will the convention's organizing committee do? It would appear to be impossible to be shown partying while an already economically battered region is going to be struck again.
I offered the following -- albeit radical -- solution to some friends yesterday: Condense the convention to two days. Take care of all preliminary business, including the roll call of states, on Monday. Tuesday would then be reserved for the acceptance speeches by Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. John McCain. As I wrapped up my scenario, I suggested that McCain end his speech by encouraging, challenging, and pleading with Republicans and all Americans to make their way to the Gulf region. There, they would help in whatever way they could.
I'm paying attention to the potential of the convention being affected by Gustav. I'll update with news and information as I get it.
UPDATE: Saturday PM: Local organizers remain optimistic that the convention will go on as scheduled and without any delays, but McCain admits that he's worried about the image of his party celebrating while American citizens suffer. And that would be the case if Gustav slams into the Gulf Coast with anything near the ferocity that is feared. Another news report indicates that the GOP might seek to turn the convention into a giant service-oriented event with McCain at its head until he makes a trip to the Gulf.
SECOND UPDATE: Saturday PM: Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for the city of New Orleans. As GOP officials meet on Sunday, this news (and the images that will follow it) could heavily influence what Republican officials choose to do with the convention.