Politicizing Gustav

When I did not think Rick Davis could not get more pathetic, he exceeds expectations:

John McCain’s campaign manager today accused Barack Obama of practicing politics as Hurricane Gustav bears down on the Gulf Coast. Rick Davis, in a brief interview following a pep talk he gave to convention volunteers in St. Paul, Minn., said there was a difference between the actions of McCain and Obama. “Look at what happened today — did Barack Obama attack John McCain or Sarah Palin?” Davis asked. Told Obama had criticized McCain and Palin on the campaign trail over pay equity, Davis continued: “So he attacks us while there’s a hurricane going on and John McCain suspends his convention basically. What bigger contrast can you have about putting your country first?” While dismayed about the impact Gustav is sure to have on their convention, Republicans see the storm as another opportunity to paint McCain as somebody who, even to the detriment of his own campaign, is willing to sacrifice his political interests for a larger good. “It’s pretty for him to set politics behind his country,” Davis stated. “He does it all the time. Believe me, it’s not the easiest way in the world to run a campaign. But this is business as usual in McCainworld.” And, Davis argued, that’s not how their Democratic rival operates. “I thought Barack Obama said the other night that everybody puts their country first,” he said with a touch of sarcasm. “Really?”

Hang on a second – Davis is part of Team McCain. So Team McCain is abusing this potentially damaging hurricane to play dirty politics. But shouldn’t we give credit to McCain and Palin for caring about the Gulf residents? Let me turn the microphone over to Will Thomas:

That being said, I find it disturbing that McCain and Palin have decided to go down to Mississippi this week. A trip like this is worse than opportunism. Let us not forget that McCain doesn’t travel alone; he brings along staff and Secret Service agents, all of whom require the time and attention of local officials. The situation is reminiscent of Rumsfeld’s infamous 9/11 response to rush outside the Pentagon and give orders: the images on TV inspire confidence, at least until one remembers that our leaders are neglecting the responsibilities that are truly meant to keep us safe. Neither McCain nor Palin offer any unique advantage to New Orleans with their presence — they are not Southern politicians, they don’t have any particularly useful contacts in the area and they aren’t emergency responders. (Meanwhile, Obama will not travel to the region but has said he will use his fundraiser lists to coordinate volunteers once damage is assessed.) However, McCain could be particularly helpful from his Senate position, if he so chose.

And consider this photo-op:

McCain was scheduled to deliver his acceptance speech Thursday, but now may do so from the devastation zone if the storm hits the U.S. coast with the ferocity feared by forecasters.

The transparency burns!