Tonight Bush will speak to the Republican Convention via satellite, conveniently preventing any warm embraces like the one to the left. Even Laura Bush thinks it's a good idea for McCain to distance himself from her husband.
The campaign, in an effort to redeem itself after the botched handling of Katrina, will pretend this decision is about putting aside politics and putting Americans first. Let's review McCain's concern for hurricane victims:
In 2005, McCain voted against a commission to Examine Government Response to Katrina. Obama and Clinton both voted in favor, but the motion failed 44-54. He voted against another a year later. In 2005 he voted against investigating waste, fraud and abuse in awarding non-bid contracts for the reconstruction after the hurricanes Katrina and Rita. That same year he voted against allowing up to 52 weeks of unemployment benefits to an individual as a result of a major disaster under the Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program and against granting Katrina victims access to Medicaid. He was only the 40th senator to visit New Orleans after the disaster, and only after a newspaper suggested it might be a "political liability" for him not to attend.
In 2005, McCain also warned of excessive Government spending In response to Hurricane Katrina: "We also have to be concerned about future generations of Americans. We're going to end up with the highest deficit, probably, in the history of this country." War spending and tax cuts for the rich, are not a problem, apparently.
And on the morning of the disaster? McCain ate birthday cake with Bush.