Are the parties over?


Republican presidential nominee John McCain has apparently cancelled all but the most essential official convention activities due Hurricane Gustav’s menacing approach toward the Gulf Coast. That means Monday will have none of the normal convention hullabaloo — the customary succession of speeches (President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney had already cancelled their appearances) will be foregone.

That leaves me with two questions: 1) Will the unofficial parties — those events sponsored by private interests that occur outside the arena — still go on as planned? And 2) will curtailing a lot of the rhetoric, including the endless parade of party worthies, jibber jabber from political pundits, and other assorted nonsense actually help Republicans put on a more appealing show for voters? Does less hot air equal a more effective presentation?