The Republicans would have you believe that it is the party of compassionate conservatism, its representatives in Minnesota putting aside the partying in order to help the victims of Hurricane Gustav. After all, it was their President who was too busy presenting John McCain with his birthday cake and then jetting off to play a really awful "G" chord on his personalized gee-tar while Katrina ravaged the Gulf coast and drowned New Orleans.

Given McCain’s selection of the scandal-beset Sarah Palin for Vice President, the last thing his campaign wanted was the image of a heartless, indifferent group of blindingly white people dancing the night away while the South struggled with yet another natural disaster. So the McCain campaign handed down a stern edict: "No celebrating!"

This is what they got instead. Photo ops of John McCain putting dishwasher detergent in a care package (um, a dishwasher? With what electricity, y’all?). Cindy McCain and Laura Bush tut-tutting with the Louisiana delegation. Pink boas, pink wigs, a strutting Tom DeLay lobbyist, and a band called "Hookers and Blow."

I ask you this: How is he supposed to command respect from foreign leaders if he can’t even control his own Convention?