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Photo by Michele Sandberg.

Retreating to higher ground is not something modern Republicans do naturally. But with Tropical Storm Isaac about to become a hurricane, they’ve been forced to start bailing out of some of their scheduled convention activities. And their first edits were easy.

For weeks, Donald Trump (Birther-NY) has been promising the world’s most predictable “surprise” at the Republican National Convention. Trump’s sketch, likely featuring the fake firing of a President Obama impersonator, was one of the first events cut from the agenda. This was convenient for Mitt Romney, who saw his lame birther joke spark a backlash that has finally resulted in media attention to his race-baiting. Another lucky break for Romney is that Rick Scott, the chronically unpopular Governor of Florida, had to withdraw from a speaking slot to deal with the storm.

The GOP’s presumptive nominee may have to make more cuts as Isaac threatens a direct hit with New Orleans, conjuring up the Ghost of Republican Failures Past. With Mitt’s record of becoming more unlikable as people get to know him, the storm gives him a nice opportunity to make more cuts from the convention agenda that could end up improving his image.

After you get rid of the rest of the birthers on the agenda, Mitt, here are five more speakers to cut now to save yourself some trouble.

Mike Huckabee

The former governor of Arkansas almost defeated John McCain for the GOP nomination for president in 2008. Few doubt that he could have been a far more serious competitor than not-ready-for-primetime gang of misfits Mitt defeated. In the last few weeks, Huckabee launched Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day to celebrate the chicken chain owner’s bigoted views. Lately he has defended Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin from the “GOP establishment.” Huckabee will just remind Americans of how Akin and Chick-Fil-A’s divisive views represent the Republican mainstream. Even worse, he’ll remind America how likable Huckabee still manages to be compared to the 2012 nominee. Either way, it won’t help Mitt.

Sher Valenzuela

The theme of this year’s GOP convention is “We Built It!” which is almost exactly the point President Obama was making in the “You didn’t built that” speech Republicans have been attacking all summer. But the GOP still seems intent on pretending entrepreneurs succeed without the infrastructure and opportunity we build together through the government. Yet when it comes time to honor the businesspeople who exemplify this spirit of bootstrapping, again and again they come up with examples of people who have benefited greatly from government help. Sher Valenzuela of First State Manufacturing is a perfect example of a businesswoman whose success was fed by government loans and contracts — which is awkward because she was chosen to speak at the Republican Convention to exemplify how the government doesn’t help Americans build businesses. Cancel her speech, Mitt, and you won’t have to pretend her past doesn’t exist. You’re busy enough denying your own.

Jeb Bush

If Jeb Bush likes Mitt Romney, he has a hard time showing it. He immediately took himself out of the running to be Mitt’s running mate. And in a party that’s fixated on order and hierarchy, Bush keeps undermining Mitt by suggesting that the GOP is off track. “Our demographics are changing and we have to change not necessarily our core beliefs, but how we — the tone of our message and the message and the intensity of it, for sure,” he said on Meet the Press last weekend. Early this summer he testified in front of Congress saying that he hopes Mitt would be willing to take a small tax increase for big spending cuts – something his father did. The Daily Show is calling its coverage of the Republican Convention “The Road to Jeb Bush 2016.” Not only does Jeb shame Mitt by presenting a saner alternative for the GOP, he also has that unfortunate last name. He’s gotta go, Mitt.

Chris Christie

Picture by Luigi Novi via Flickr.

Chris Christie has suggested that he may be willing to run for president in 2016, which presupposes that Mitt Romney will lose in 2012. This seems to be his gut feeling: Christie reportedly turned down a shot as Romney’s running mate because he fears Mitt is going to lose. And this guy is the keynote speaker, Mitt? Send him back to Jersey.

Mitt Romney

Photo by Mark Taylor via Flickr.

Mitt, you know you are your own worst advocate. Let your wife, Paul Ryan, and Marco Rubio do their best, telling everyone that you’re away helping storm victims find nice-fitting slacks.

Drop your own acceptance speech, and save your energy for praying that Todd Akin doesn’t try to crash the party.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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