Politics

The RNC Speakers’ Lineup: Well Done

The updated list of convention speakers released Tuesday by the Republican National Convention is sure to please most conservatives.  Earlier programs listed all too few, but the RNC has largely remedied the problem.  Added to the list were six of the ongoing Republican Revolt’s founding members: Rep. Mike Pence, Rep. John Boehner, Rep. Adam Putnam, Rep. Mary Fallin, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, and Rep. Tom Cole. The RNC said, however, that no one was invited to speak as a direct result of any action taken on the House floor but that people were chosen “who strongly exemplify our party’s message.”

Nachama Soloveichik, spokesperson for the economics-focused Club for Growth, said her organization was pleased at the number of hard-core economic conservatives now speaking at the convention.  The previous list released by the RNC caused the Club for Growth — which advocates limited government spending — to express concerns in an August 21st article that appeared on washingtonpost.com.

“We just wanted to see some of the economic conservatives who are right now leading the fight for limited government in Congress on the list,” Soloveichik said Tuesday. “We’re very pleased to see that they added a bunch of hardcore economic conservatives,”  mentioning specifically Sen. Richard Burr and Tom Coburn, as well as and Reps. Michele Bachmann, Mike Pence, and Marsha Blackburn.

One person whom Soloveichik hopes will be joining that fight soon is Chris Hackett, currently running against incumbent Christopher Carney for Pennsylvania’s 10th district congressional seat. Hackett is scheduled to speak Monday.

“We think he’s going to be a superstar,” she said. “He’s fantastic.”

Conservative leader Rep. Mike Pence, scheduled to speak Wednesday, said he was humbled by the opportunity and also encouraged by the lineup.  In 2004, Pence had to petition the White House to give Henry Hyde a prime time speaking engagement at the Republican convention.  Over half the Republicans then serving in the House signed Pence’s letter of request.      

“It seems to me to be measurable progress from the experience we had in 2004,” Pence said of the new list.

One of the possible implications of the RNC’s current lineup of speakers is that the McCain campaign is making the long-awaited effort to unify the Republican Party by reaching out to conservatives. That effort should have the Obama camp worried.  

If Sen. McCain wants to make the list complete, he could add just a few more, including Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and a few of the Senate’s most relentless conservatives such as Sens. Jim DeMint (R-SC). 

Do they all need to be on the program?  No.  But the more there are, the more clear Sen. McCain’s outreach to conservatives will be.    


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