See Slate's complete Republican National Convention coverage.
If you've read this far and still feel ambivalent about thinking about the politics of an event in which many people are already being displaced and suffering, then allow me to make a practical suggestion for putting politics here to good use here. Both candidates have boasted about their talents for bipartisanship. Both have also paid for ad time all over the country for advertisements (in some cases, attack ads) that are scheduled to air over the next few days.
So here's my idea: McCain and Obama should create a joint ad calling for donations and prayers to those affected by Gustav, and run those in place of the ads already scheduled. After all, attack ads—and attack ads in response to attack ads—make it onto the air in matter of hours. So there's no doubt the McCain and Obama campaigns could do this if they wanted to. If you think they should, call them: Obama's at (866) 675-2008, McCain's at (703) 418-2008. No one is practicing politics right now, so they should be able to respond to your call.