Convention 2008: Obama Republicans and Reagan Democrats

The Obama and Clinton campaigns released a joint statement Thursday confirming the speculation that Sen. Clinton would still be formally nominated at the Democratic National Convention despite earlier suggestions that she duck out quietly.

In the statement both sides said that they want to make sure “that the voices of all 35 million people who participated in this historic primary election are respected and heard in Denver. To honor and celebrate these voices and votes, both Sen. Obama’s and Sen. Clinton’s names will be placed in nomination.”

Clinton who still has 1,896 delegates despite her concession (only 305 fewer than Obama) is apparently not a threat to Obama advisers who decided that this was the best way to include Hillary in the convention and assuage her supporters. Have they figured out how to assuage Bill yet?

“Please” says Hillary during her speech. “Oh stop it” she blushes and smiles. “We must unite.”

Suuuuuure. Someone will have to sell that one to Bill.

Obama Republicans and Reagan Democrats

This week the “Obamacan” phenomenon appeared to raise itself to a new height when Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol reported on Fox News that sources told him former Secretary of State Colin Powell will endorse Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention. Although Powell strongly denies this contention would it really matter if it were true? Would Moderate Republicans see this as a sign that they too should jump on the Obama wagon? Some pundits think so.

“An endorsement by Powell could go a long way to attracting moderates and wayward Republicans to the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate,” writes FOX News.

“If Powell endorses Obama, it will not only be a PR and momentum bonanza for the Democratic nominee, but the retired general will be touted as the man who put his credibility on the line for Obama,” writes Jim Gerherty on NRO. “The questions surrounding Obama – experience, accomplishments, familiarity with the military and national security issues, connection to middle — American values — are all Powell’s strengths. If the retired general and former Secretary of State says Obama will do okay as commander-in-chief, a lot of Americans will exhale with relief.”

But just because Obama and Powell share the same views on the War in Iraq (now) Powell should be careful that Obama can execute those policies. If not an endorsement for Obama could be a double whammy in history books for Powell.

In terms of votes, chances are many Americans would perceive a Powell endorsement the same way the public has viewed the entire election — through race colored glasses. Ever since rumors started flying about “Powell for Obama”, Powell was grouped with other African American Republicans who were suspected to be “crossing over” for the wrong reasons. Powell’s name has been placed with Armstrong Williams, J.C. Watts, and former “Cosby Show” actor Joseph C. Phillips.

Interestingly John McCain also crossed party lines (not unusually) this week bringing Connecticut Independent (former Democrat) Senator and pal Joe Lieberman with him on the trail. Lieberman even appeared with McCain on national news broadcasts answering questions about the Russia/Georgia conflict while campaigning in Michigan increasing speculation that Lieberman will be McCain’s veep choice.

Lieberman as veep would be more surprising than Lincoln Chafee’s endorsement for Obama this week. Though held in high regard by many Republicans, Lieberman is still far too liberal on social issues for McCain to choose while still hoping to unite the Republican base behind him.

Vets’ Day in Denver

The rumor mill grinds on about how the Dems will honor veterans at their convention. One of the 2004 Democratic Convention’s most humorous days featured a parade of pols whose careers had been based on opposition to anything that had to do with the military — even including Barbara Boxer and Barney (“you go, girl”) Franks — proclaiming their love for everything in uniform.

One day — probably Wednesday, when former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to speak — the Obama convention will again proclaim the Democrats as the “support the troops” party. How precisely will they do that on the day the most famous draft dodger in US history will be featured?

Look for a parade of generals and combat veterans to be on-stage. Will former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell be among them?

Oops. That’s where we started. More next week.