While I am glad that McCain picked a VP to energize the base and perhaps the female voting population, I can't help but worry that hurricane Gustav could be the nail in the coffin. I would gladly like some optimism to counter-weight my pessimism. However, the facts are that the DNC rally gave Obama a pretty decent jump in the polls over McCain. While he did rebound somewhat the next few days after his vp pick, I am worried that ordinary Americans will be too focused on the events of Gustav to be concerned about what is happening at the RNC. The RNC has the choice to let the show go on, albeit less exciting. If they make the event exciting and positive, the attacks will come from the other side like "how can you celebrate during a crisis like this!". At the same time if the RNC doesn't show some excitement then we probably won't see much of a jump in the polls for the Republican candidate.
Yes many Americans will see it as admirable that the Republican party members put the people before the convention, but the media won't see it that way. They will probably point it out as political opportunism. The sad thing is that if the Republicans didn't alter plans it would have been seen as evil or uncaring about the public. Will the media acknowledge the Republican Bobby Jindal helped a successful evacutation and that we were more prepared this time (even with Bush in the White House). I would assume that if Gustav struck New Orleans next year with Obama as president and the same outcome occurred, we would hear about how much more effective Obama and the Democrats were at handling national disasters.
My wish list is that the Republicans delay the event altogether by a week (it is my understanding that they have the convention hall rented until mid-September) rather than cancel speakers and alter plans. McCain should give a speech about how the State and Local governments played a big part in the successful evacuation this time around... and that people shouldn't rely on the federal government alone. The Republicans could turn this storm to their advantage if they hold off on their convention rather than alter it. We can't let the Democrats win simply because a God that most of their left-wing/secular-progressive constituents don't believe in taught the Republicans a lesson.