Now that Hurricane Gustav has, thankfully, turned out not to be nearly as devastating as previously feared, the Republican National Convention is scrambling to get back on track. Beginning today, the Republicans will return to the staunch partisanship for which political conventions are known and try to get back on message.

The reorganized convention will include a by-satellite primetime speech by President Bush as well as a previously planned speech by Joe Lieberman and a hastily arranged primetime speech by former Republican Senator Fred Thompson. Rudy Giuliani, who was originally scheduled to give the keynote address tonight, will likely speak Wednesday or Thursday.

Given the complications caused by vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and the unavoidable distraction of Hurricane Gustav, the Republicans are hardly having the kind of convention for which they’d hoped. They need to run a really tight ship the next couple of days to ensure they communicate a direct and coherent message. I, for one, am very interested in hearing what Palin has to say as well as finding out which John McCain shows up: the maverick or the panderer.

These are three very critical days for Republicans. We’ll see if they pull it off.

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