It’s going to be as bad, or worse as Katrina, except for the fact that New Orleans has a lot fewer citizens than during Katrina. However the death toll has the potential to rocket if if Gustav hits directly, since the city has written off anyone who can’t evacuate:

Unlike Katrina, when thousands took refuge inside the Superdome, there will be no "last resort" shelter, and those who stay behind accept "all responsibility for themselves and their loved ones," said the city’s emergency preparedness director, Jerry Sneed.

In addition, a category 5 sweeping through the Gulf is likely to take out a swathe of oil rigs, causing oil and gasoline prices to spike. Forget the talk about how bad it looks to have another hurricane reminding everyone of Katrina, when gasoline prices spike back up, McCain’s numbers will take a dive on that alone.

Incumbents take the blame for bad economic times. As long as Democrats keep McCain tied to Bush, he’s toast. You might argue that a hurricane is an act of God, but putting the US in a position where an event that is bound to happen from time to time can cause such devastation is something government can legitimately be blamed for. And FEMA still being broken and unable to do a proper job is very much the administration’s fault.

And maybe when Obama is President, the levees can be properly rebuilt, swampland can be reclaimed to give New Orleans a proper buffer and the US can get off oil, so that a hurricane can’t cause an economic shock by taking out oil rigs.