Gustav came ashore in Louisiana as a diminished Category 2 hurricane, but it's a fat Category 5 gift to the GOP. Let us count the ways.
Instead of spending Labor Day weekend shaking hands in some Ohio hardware store, the storm has given Sen. John McCain a golden take-charge opportunity. He and running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made plans to fly to the Gulf Coast where presumably they will hug evacuees and serve food at shelters. "Message: We care," as President Bush's father once said, in a much different context.
McCain also scrapped Monday's convention schedule, freeing delegates to return to their states where they, too, can comfort the afflicted. Katrina? That was then. This is now.
Cable TV, naturally, is covering the metero-political story nonstop. Gustav may not be the "Mother of All Storms," as the hyperbolic Drudge Report headlined yesterday, but in this election season it's the Mother of Free Media events. Barack Obama e-mailed his supporters, asking them to donate to the Red Cross, but on TV, it's the Republicans who have morphed into our national caregivers.
Gustav's biggest gift, however, is playing out far from the Gulf Coast. By virtually monopolizing news coverage, it's taken attention off the personal life of the governor of Alaska, whose family history is turning out to have more twists and turns than The Forsyte Saga.
For 24 hours, as Gustav swirled north across the Gulf of Mexico, the blogosphere swirled with maternity rumors. Was the governor really the mother of the Palin's fifth child, a five-month-old boy, or was it their 17-year-old daughter, Bristol?
The initial speculation on Daily Kos got a lift from