According to a report by POLITICO, one of the highlights of the upcoming Democratic National Convention will be the featuring of several Republicans delivering speeches in prime-time.
The move by the Democratic Party to feature GOP members is clearly a calculated measure to try and appeal to independent voters who crave bipartisanship. The one takeaway from the POLITICO report though is that, well, we have no idea who these Republicans will be. It is likely, however, that the Republicans that will speak are ones who have nothing to lose; so do not expect current officeholders to be taking the podium at Charlotte next month.
The only “clue” that we really have is that the theme of the convention this year will be painting Mitt Romney as an out-of-touch aristocrat who doesn’t know the struggles of the working class. So we have very little to work with in terms of projecting who and who won’t be there from Team Red.
But that won’t stop us from guessing. There are numerous individuals that could make an appearance so let’s run down the list of potential speakers.
Jon Huntsman, Jr.
Clearly this is the one everybody is thinking of. Huntsman, a former Ambassador to China under President Obama, has made the nation sure that he is disillusioned with the current edition of the Republican Party and even went so far as to announce he was not going to attend the Republican National Convention. Huntsman also found himself in the news this week as the DailyKos speculated that his father, Jon Huntsman Sr., was Harry Reid’s mystery source.
So you can’t blame that reports that indicated that Huntsman would speak at the Democratic Convention to be met with a yawn as opposed to an exult. Moments later though, Abby Huntsman (one of Jon Jr.’s daughters) denied the reports that Huntsman would be speaking at the Convention (as well as debunking other rumors in the process) though the rumor did gain considerable traction on the internet.
If I were a betting man, I’d think Huntsman would be the marquee name that the Democrats would like to see speak. However, I can’t see what would be in it for Huntsman if he did; unless he was thinking of making a 2016 run as an Independent or Americans Elect nominee. Don’t dismiss that notion either as Huntsman did do a town hall meeting for centrist advocacy group, No Labels, in May.
Here’s the more likely pick, in my eyes. Chuck Hagel, a former Senator from Nebraska, had been widely speculated as a potential Secretary of Defense in the Obama administration after he won the 2008 election over John McCain.
While Hagel was passed over, he has made no inroads in dealing with the current Republican Party and in fact, even blasted the party for having an “astounding lack of responsible leadership”. Hagel this year also stood up for former Democratic Senator (and 2012 Senate nominee) Bob Kerrey who faced attacks that he was a carpet-bagger. So he has a recent history of going toe-to-toe with the party that he represented in the Senate.
Chuck Hagel would have something to gain for speaking at the Democratic National Convention as he isn’t likely to get back into electoral politics anytime soon and he could also be eyeing a potential Obama administration Cabinet role.
When Maine Senator Olympia Snowe announced in late February that she would be retiring instead of seeking another term, it set off a ripple of shockwaves. Why would Snowe, who didn’t seem to be facing a credible Tea Party challenger, retire and surely give Democrats a chance to swing the seat to their column?
Well it wasn’t to run under the Americans Elect banner nor was it really to do anything “big” either. In her retirement, Snowe complained about the partisanship that overtook Congress and she has always been one of the most moderate Republicans in the Senate.
Meanwhile, Snowe would be a great get for the Democratic Party and getting a prominent female Republican could be valuable for Team Blue. However, the Democratic Party can’t make the same mistake the McCain campaign did and just pick a woman to think women will follow blindly. That is not how it works at all, though it would be a PR hit for the Romney campaign to see a Republican woman take the stage in Charlotte.
A Snowe spokesperson, however, has denied the report so it might not be the most likely of all scenarios. Nonetheless, keep your tabs on her for the future.
This is probably the “safe pick” to happen given Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama for the 2008 race. However, while the pick of Powell would be noteworthy; it doesn’t seem that picking someone who specializes in foreign policy aligns with the theme of Mitt Romney being an aristocrat.
Now Powell could be there as a guest, so don’t be too shocked if you see him make an appearance there.
The Road to the White House leads through Virginia and the selection of former Senator John Warner could very will tip the state to Team Obama for a second straight election as well as aiding Tim Kaine in his fight against former Sen. George Allen.
Warner, a Senate giant for much of his career, would certainly be a likely pick given how in 2009 the Washington Post called him a:
a bipartisan broker able to break ranks on principle without losing friends; a man who is at least as fierce an advocate for the state’s military bases, rivers and highways as for such national issues as security and defense,
However, Warner has denied that he will show up at the 2012 Democratic National Convention so maybe this another fantasy that will be put to rest.
Various other names have been mentioned too in this piece by the Atlantic Wire including those of Buddy Roemer and Arnold Schwarzenegger but after the former’s failed third party run and the latter’s separation from Maria Shriver; neither strike me as “leaders”.
Who do you think?