Political lesson of the day: Be careful what you ask people to pray for; you may find yourself embroiled in a public relations flap.
The political arm of the socially conservative Focus on the Family religious group today yanked from its website a video that called on folks to ask God to open the heavens and let precipitation pour on Barack Obama just before his nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 28.
Stuart Shepard, director of digital media at Focus Action (and a meteorologist to boot), wrote and appeared in the video (see below) that he posted in late July.
In it, he rhetorically asked if it would be wrong to ask people to join him in praying for rain two minutes before Obama takes the stage for his big moment at Invesco Field in Denver. And not just a drizzle -- in friendly, conversational fashion, Shepard said he had in mind "abundant rain, torrential rain, urban-and-small-stream flood-advisory rain."
Apparently, although God hears all Republican prayers, the answer sometimes is "no." The forecast for Denver CO today is sunny and clear.
But sometimes they do work:
President Bush is scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention on Monday, but with Tropical Storm Gustav expected to hit Gulf coast, the White House is beginning to hint that President Bush might not speak that day. Fox News’ Bret Baier reports today that there "are conversations underway" at the White House about whether Bush "will in fact speak on Monday."
This could the heaven-sent solution one of the Republican Party's biggest problems next week: What to do with Bush? The thought of him at the convention platform in prime time, a lame duck in full feather, ratings in the tank, with that "nailed it!" smirk for which there is never discernable justification, must be giving the McCain team the willies. Desperate to keep him from appearing on-screen--or even in the same area code--with McCain, lest his toxic approval ratings rub off, and politically unable simply not to invite him, they've currently got Bush scheduled to address the convention on Monday night. In campaign terms, that's the equivalent of burying him opposite the series finale of "Friends." Even "The Daily Show" won't be covering the GOP convention until Tuesday night.
Tropical Storm Gustav (dare they hope it gets promoted to hurricane status by next week?) could be just the deus ex machina the Republicans have been praying for--a plausible-sounding excuse to get Bush out of the Twin Cities during the convention without actually shutting off the porch light and refusing to answer when he rings the doorbell.
If only New Orleans had been lucky enough, three years ago this week, to have had the GOP convention going on and Republicans desperate for a way to keep their distance from Bush when Hurricane Katrina hit. Perhaps, had there been some politically useful reason then to make a show of taking charge, Bush wouldn't have waited five days to respond to the devastation in New Orleans.
Meanwhile, since the GOP was never able to get the rights to use Springsteen's "Born in the USA" or Jackson Browne's "Doctor, My Eyes" and "Running on Empty" in its campaigns, p3 humbly suggests this as the GOP's new campaign song: