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How dare Hurricane Gustav threaten the Gulf Coast on a Sunday? Doesn't Mother Nature know that McCain likes to take weekends off? I'm hoping that it is truly the feedback he complains about in the early part of the video and not just petulance for being forced to make executive decisions on a Sunday that accounts for a somewhat disoriented McCain announcing that in sensitivity to the damage that Hurricane Gustav may wreak on the Gulf Coast, he's opted to cancel all but the "necessary" components of today's RNC schedule:
Ariz. Sen. John McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, visited the Gulf briefly and instructed convention organizers to suspend all but essential business on the opening day of the convention and turn many of the gathering's planned festivities into fundraisers for potential victims of the storm.[..]
Adding to the sense of uncertainty, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney announced that they would skip the convention to monitor preparations for the storm, which is expected to make landfall late this morning.
Officials said that as part of the convention's opening night, Laura Bush and McCain's wife, Cindy, would speak from the podium and describe ways to help victims of Hurricane Gustav. The First Lady visited the convention hall Sunday evening to check out the podium. Cindy McCain and Palin arrived in the Twin Cities by private plane Sunday night.
It's heartwarming to see such concern for the hurricane victims, isn't it? Especially since John McCain did so little for Hurricane Katrina victims and actively fought against a commission to find out what went wrong. My buddy Bob Geiger--the Senate blogger--is back to his blogging duties and files this:
What does seem odd is that McCain thinks Gulf Coast residents will forget how he, George W. Bush and the then-Republican Congress turned their backs on them so many times in the months after Katrina thundered ashore in 2005.
Sure, McCain was big on rote sympathy right after the disaster, saying on September 1, 2005 "American citizens have proven time and again how generous and selfless a people we are, and now we have an opportunity to come to the aid of those in need." A week later he stridently said "Our work to help the victims of this national tragedy has just begun, and Congress must do all that is necessary to fund essential relief and recovery efforts and help those in need."
It must be nice to have staffers writing that stuff for you.
Too bad he spent the months to follow leading the Republican charge against every Senate bill that would have actually helped Katrina victims or mandated investigations on how the Bush administration could have blown disaster response so thoroughly.
Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Joe Biden jumped immediately to the aid of hurricane victims in the week after the 2005 disaster, authoring S.Amdt. 1661 "...to provide emergency funding for victims of Hurricane Katrina."[..]
But with John McCain's help, the Republican-led Senate shot down the funding on a 41-56 vote with McCain voting against, while Biden and Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama voted for the funding.
When Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) proposed the creation of a Congressional Commission to "examine the Federal, State, and local response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.. and make immediate corrective measures to improve such responses in the future," John McCain was once again exactly where George W. Bush wanted him to be: On the "nay" side of a straight party-line vote (44-54) that killed that legislation.
So when McCain tells the people of the Gulf Coast now that we'll pray for them, is that the only assistance they can expect from him?
Transcripts below the fold
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