In general it is considered to be in extremely poor taste to talk about the politics of other peoples’ suffering, especially while they are suffering. And so I will do so. This week both the Democrats and Republicans have the opportunity to make hay of the trek of, and losses by many thousands of people fleeing New Orleans, again. The Republicans are in interesting position. On the one hand they can’t be seen as making hay, and so they have postponed the beginning of their national convention. Moreover, if things go wrong, like they did with Katrina, it will leave a clear impression that they cannot govern. And so things won’t go that wrong. This is also the perfect opportunity to keep President Bush and Vice President away. They’re already wildly unpopular, but it is a very difficult thing to not have the elected heads of the party speak. Gustav provided the perfect excuse.
The Democrats have fewer options. The best they can do is stay quiet, because anything else will seem like making hay. They can also hope for the storm to dissipate quickly without much damage, as can we all. Aside from the human relief that would bring, the Republicans would have lost the spotlight to a non-event. Sadly that seems unlikely.
And so in this case human suffering will serve Republicans – to a point.