In my view, John McCain should accept the nomination from wherever the storm has hit hardest, alone, without a temple or cheering fans. And someone else this week should find a way to make three salient points on his behalf.
First, for McCain, campaigning for the presidency isn't about "the roar of the crowd." He knows that the role of a president isn't about seeking and basking in the applause of adoring supporters. It isn't to offer pretty words without any achievements to back them up. It's to serve all Americans, even when it's difficult, even when it's thankless, and even when it's unpopular with one's own party and the special interests.
Second, anyone can be President when it's time to make grandiose promises and proclaim lofty ideals. But it's when the going gets tough -- when things don't go according to plan, or unexpected disaster strikes -- that you can take the full measure of a President. Americans know how John McCain reacts under pressure -- whether the political pressures he's confronted during his career as a senator and congressman, or other tougher pressures he faced during his military career.
Finally, if a Gustav or some other unthinkable act occurs a year from today, in whose response will you have more confidence: John McCain, with proven character and extensive experience, or Barack Obama, with 143 days in the US Senate?