With Hurricane Gustav reduced to a swirling rainmaker, the Republican National Convention is cramming the remainder of its political business into two busy days, concluding with Sen. John McCain accepting his party's nomination for president.
Furthermore, the spotlight can now finally shine on Minnesota's Twin Cities instead of New Orleans and the storm-ravaged Gulf states.
For instance, the Twin Cities took the opportunity to boast Tuesday that Minneapolis and St. Paul were home to several global companies, drawing particular attention to General Mills, 3M, Best Buy and last, but not least, Dairy Queen
Dairy Queen has a Republican Party tie, of sorts: Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is a former employee - as are celebrities Gwen Stefani and Bonnie Hunt and country music superstar Martina McBride.
Ask Kimberly Fletcher, founder and president of Homemakers for America, and she'll say the selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as Sen. John McCain's vice presidential running mate has already made a difference for the Republican ticket in November.
In an opinion piece she sent to Inside the Beltway on Tuesday, the head of the national, nonprofit corporation based in Dayton, Ohio, she makes it clear from the start that "I am not a McCain supporter. Let's air that bit of information right up front. As recently as Friday morning, I would have told you - as I repeatedly informed the McCain campaign - that I didn't think there was anything in the world they could possibly do to get me to vote for that man.
" ... We [homemakers] were scrambling for something - anything we could hold on to, but it just wasn't there. We were left with two options: go to the polls and hold our noses once again or just stay home. It didn't look good for McCain in November. Enter: Sarah Palin."
When she first heard rumors that Mr. McCain was looking to choose a woman, Mrs. Fletcher admits being "more than irritated. Did he really think the women of America are so superficial that simply picking a woman would win our vote? ... I have heard from a lot of women over the last couple of days that have said the very same thing.
"After my initial shock, I ran to the computer to find out who this woman is. To my great surprise, the more I read the more I liked her. This wasn't just a token woman, this was a woman I could relate to. Not only does she espouse my values, she lives them."
CAN'T CAN'T GIRLS
In days of circumspection,
We made no "love connection":
The girls said no
And off we'd go,
Relieved at our rejection.
- F.R. Duplantier
"Don't make eye contact," the Columbia Journalism Review's Megan Garber advises fellow reporters who trailed her from Denver's Democratic National Convention to the Republican powwow now under way in St. Paul, Minn.
As she puts it in a posting, the most powerful people at the conventions are not the various politicos assembled, rather the security guards who man the numerous checkpoints inside and outside the event venues and arenas.
"It was those guards who decided how far we - we low-on-the-totem-pole souls who were not delegates or 'honored guests' ... but simple storytellers - could go," she explains.
Therefore, the trick for reporters in St. Paul "is getting past the guards without them getting a good look at your press pass. Which comes down to behaving like an important person would.
"Which comes down to a combination of not making eye contact with the guards (important people are too busy to acknowledge non-important people); walking quickly (important people always need to be somewhere, you know, five minutes ago); and, of course, turning around your credential badge so the word 'press' isn't visible (since important people, with the exception of the aforementioned bigwigs, are generally not members of the press).
"Given the crowds and the controlled chaos of the convention floor, more often than not, doing that will get you where you want to go."