While weak rumors circulate about Romney’s vice presidential candidates, a few names were confirmed as supporting speakers at the GOP Convention happening in Florida August 27 – 30. The big ones: John McCain, Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Arkansas Governor and preacher Mike Huckabee. Rounding out the selections were current GOP governors Rick Scott of Florida, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, and John Kasich of Ohio. Let’s take a look at this line up a little deeper:
First, the maverick John McCain. Unorthodox, decorated, and probably the most famous living Republican, John McCain led the GOP’s unsuccessful White House bid in 2008 where he was more or less crippled by the debacle that was Alaska’s Sarah Palin. McCain himself is an accomplished politician whose experiences in war and politics make him battle-hardened but more humane than some of his younger, non-military, and super hawk Republicans. His work fighting against the use of torture, and for curbing campaign finance donations made him — in the past — a less conservative Republican than many in his party. Partially due to Republican pressure and to retain a leading roll in its ranks, McCain has recently grown more conservative with his rivalry against Obama. Sense is losing out to radicalism.
Condoleezza Rice, whose career at Stanford made her well known for her knowledge of the Soviet Union, was an unusual pick by Bush to follow Colin Powell as America’s Secretary of State. Powell’s recent book destroys any remaining credibility of the Bush administration, and Rice wrote her own book to discuss her experiences in there too. Most people would probably be happy if they never talked about Bush again, but the books are interesting reads. Personal history aside, her speech will certainly center on foreign policy, but how America should be doing less, not more, which might come off as hypocritical considering how Republicans are unwilling to make any cuts to the defense department.
Mike Huckabee was another presidential contender in 2008, and garnered some momentum with big showings among America’s evangelicals, the group whom Huckabee preached to as a Southern Baptist church leader. Some Americans responded to his passionate Christian beliefs. But his overall idea that religion and politics cannot be separated makes him unreliable and limits his appeal across the land that coined the term “separation of church and state.” Now a FOX News showman, he will probably spend his time on the podium talking about the various threats to American morality, while completely ignoring the fact that if these threats exist, he is a big part of it.
Rick Scott, the current governor of Florida and shiny beacon of successful capitalism, is probably the worst of the Wrong Wing delegation to descend on the convention like vampire bats in the night. He only became a governor in 2010, and is most known for turning down government money to build a high speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando. He also worked to redistrict and limit minority voting capabilities through tricky legislation. He continues to erode our civil liberties by fighting to have welfare recipients drug screened. While this point might actually be important, or a practical social benefit, the fact that it is coming from a man who is opposed to every single liberal and progressive ideal means that giving him the power to get what he wants is probably not a good idea. Expect his speech to focus on how much money he made off caring for the sick, and how Obamacare is a threat to the people who make millions dollars while millions of people can’t buy pills or see a doctor.
Susana Martinez is the first female Hispanic governor, and Republicans are quick to point that out. Yet having one female Hispanic politician doesn’t make up for hostile immigration policies targeted at Latin Americans, the devolution of civil rights to deport those people, and perennial, war on women-oriented policies such as eliminating the right to choose and curbing social benefits for single mothers. It is embarrassing how the Republicans cite her solely for an example of their diversity.
Nikki Haley, the Michele Bachmann of the south, heads up the most difficult to manage state in the USA, South Carolina. She is receiving accolades from her fellow tea sippers who feel that she embodies their spirit, even thought she has gotten nothing done as governor — something which is starting to become emblematic of young gun Republicans. She is here only because Sarah Palin has become too toxic (though the Republicans might throw a curve ball and get her up on the podium too).
Finally, John Kasich of Ohio is at the convention only because Ohio is a huge swing state and it might get a few more people from Ohio to tune in to the spectacle on TV. As far as policy goes, he has not much to his name aside from aggressive budget balancing and bringing only white people into his cabinet. He is credited with helping to turn around Ohio’s economy, however promoting that too much is dangerous since a lot of that due credit is shared with President Obama.
Unfortunately, the promising messages of progress: advancing civil rights, shifting and downsizing America’s defense department — and even the Christian messages of love thy neighbor and help the sick and poor — that McCain, Rice, and Huckabee will deliver will be yawned and disregarded when they move away from the fiery, confrontational garbage spewing from the legions of rising Republican politicians looking to capitalize on their enlarged platform and make lasting impressions. This is only the beginning, as other speakers get lined up, expect the calibre of person to drop substantially, and with it, the chances of a positive message.