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Gustav: The Political Storm

Hurricane Gustav is approaching the southern US State of Louisiana. And my, are they making a fuss about it. New Orleans has been evacuated. The Mayor is calling it the “Storm of the Century” and the BBC have described it repeatedly as the “Mother of all Storms”. George Bush and Dick Cheney have both cancelled their speeches for today, trying to show that, unlike 3 years ago when Federal authorities made a complete mess out of things this time they are ready and prepared. Shame they still haven’t put right what needed to be done after Katrina hit…

Of course, today is the first day of the Republican Convention which has formed to nominate John McCain as George W Bush’s successor and to give him a political boost. That was a big ask after the success of last week’s Democratic Party convention when Barack Obama was lauded by 84,000 attendees, something McCain is struggling to match.

When you consider that the two main speeches of today would have come from George W Bush and Dick Cheney, it could be argued that ramping up the Hurricane was good politics.

Why? Apart from the ill-advised invasion of Iraq and the dire state of the US economy, the debacle of George Bush’s response to the Category Five Hurricane Katrina which caused over 1,800 deaths is yet another black mark on the reputation of the Republican Party they would love to remove.

So, hype up what is only a Category 2 storm into something more powerful than Katrina, have nothing untoward happen, and then claim they have “fixed all the problems from Katrina” while removing the speeches of Bush and Cheney, so as to distance McCain from them. At least, that’s their hope, I’m sure.

Last week, the Democrat’s really nailed McCain to the Bush mast. Not only was it disclosed that he voted with Bush 90% of the time, he also is now supporting policies he himself was previously against. So, the only change he is likely to offer – is away from those qualities his supporters supported him for.

So, was it right to hype Gustav so much? Well, I’ll leave that for you to decide. All I’ll say is that Hurricane Katrina was Category Five, Hurricane Gustav Category Two.

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