No, The Rockerfeller Republicans Aren’t On The Comeback Trail

Andrew Sullivan & Kate O’Beirne are wondering whether the GOP is having an identity crisis because of all the RINOs who are going to be speaking at the Republican National Convention. Here’s O’Beirne on the subject…

“The lineup of primetime speakers at the Republican Convention predictably reflects its New York location by giving prominent spots to the hosts, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor George Pataki. But those enjoying the coveted spotlight also pay tribute to New York’s former Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Joining the hosts will be other mavericks and dissidents who represent a minority in Ronald Reagan’s GOP. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona’s Senator John McCain, and California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will all be at the primetime podium. The only announced speaker who actually agrees with President Bush on major issues is Democratic Senator Zell Miller of Georigia.

The decision to showcase rogue elephants as representatives of the modern Republican party is not the mark of a self-confident party establishment. If the lineup is intended to make an overwhelmingly conservative party attractive to swing voters, it does so by pretending to be something it’s not. The Republican party seems to habitually internalize the criticisms of its opponents. When the only Reagan Republican to enjoy a prominent supporting role at the party’s convention is a Democrat, the GOP has a serious identity problem.”

I can’t say that I agree with Sully & Kate on this issue even through I’m lukewarm on Rudy & Arnold and genuinely dislike McCain. But, the reality is that right now, Rudy, Arnold, & McCain are some of the hottest names in the GOP, newsmakers who’ll draw column inches and interest independents, so they should have prominent speaking spots at the convention.

That being said, there’s no need to worry about an “identity crisis”. Giuliani caught the public’s eye because of his fine performance in the aftermath of 9/11, Schwarzenegger is a movie star turned governor, & the media and the Kerry campaign slobbered so hard over the possibility of a Kerry/McCain ticket, that letting him speak will be like a thumb to Kerry’s eye. In short, not one of these men is getting his speaking spot because of his views.

So don’t worry about country club Republicans making a comeback, this year’s group of “big name speakers” is just a fluke…

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