When we were making plans for the RNC NARN broadcast, we had to decide what day or days we each wanted to cover. After some discussion, Saint Paul and I opted for Monday night. The opening night which would feature Vice President Dick Cheney and President George Bush. Besides getting a chance to see how the crowd of Republican faithful would welcome the duo, it would be a unique opportunity to see the country's number one and two leaders speak back to back. An eventful evening indeed.
Now, thanks to the whims of weather, those plans are dashed. Obviously our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Gulf Coast and we hope that Hurricane Gustav turns out to pack less punch than predicted. Having said that, this dramatic curtailing of activities at the RNC seems to be a gross overreaction.
Governor Jindal and other state leaders from the Gulf States need to be on hand to oversea the preparations for and recovery from the storm. But realistically, other than purely symbolic ends, what purpose is served by having Bush and Cheney not come to the RNC? Yes, it would be unseemly if events at the Xcel Energy Center were all about celebrating and partying while part of the country was under duress. But why not have sober-minded speeches focused on substantive policy matters?
Is everything going to be shut down every time a natural disaster looms from now on? What disasters qualify and what don't? Floods in Iowa? Wild fires in California? Snow storms in New England? You could argue that it's unseemly to be celebrating anything whenever any part of the country is suffering death and destruction at the hands of nature. Where does it end?
I also wonder what the protesters will be doing tomorrow. Shouldn't they curtail their plans too? Or don't they care about the suffering of their fellow Americans (caring now defined as stopping whatever you are doing to watch TV, nod sympathetically, and murmur "That's a shame")?
Anyway, the show must go on. And so we will take to the airwaves from a presumably mostly empty Xcel Energy Center from 8pm-10pm tomorrow night on AM1280 The Patriot. Subject matter to be determined. Don't be surprised if Saint Paul goes into great detail about what it's like to sit in Katie Couric's seat. Don't worry, she won't find out. She's not coming to the RNC either.
We'll also be taking pics, shooting some video, and of course sharing our thoughts at this blog on all that we see in downtown St. Paul tomorrow (no "Twittering" though--"Twittering" is like cloning; just because you have the technology to do it doesn't mean you should). With Gustav dampening the RNC opening, that might not look all that different from a typical Monday night.