Good move, a bit overdue
Posted by sanityinjection on August 13, 2008
Kimberly Hefling of the Associated Press reports that Democratic officials are giving a featured prime time speaker slot at the Democratic Convention in Denver to Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey. This is significant because Casey, like his father, the former governor of Pennsylvania, is pro-life, in contrast to the Democrats’ party platform.
The elder Casey was famously denied a speaking role at the 1992 Democratic Convention because of his views on abortion. While this decision did not come back to haunt the Democrats in November, it was widely criticized as narrow-minded, in contrast to the Republicans who routinely allowed pro-choice Republicans to speak. The true reason behind the decision was that the Democrat brass were afraid that the party’s left-wing zealots, already irritated by candidate Bill Clinton’s move toward the political center, might actually boo Casey on national television, making them look like the wing nuts they were.
Of course, those wing nuts are much happier these days now that their Messiah, Senator Obama is the presumptive nominee. So they can afford to be more magnanimous toward a pro-life convention speaker, as he will do nothing to dampen enthusiasm for their candidate. In fact, Casey is being rewarded for his support of Obama during the primaries, and he has some influence in his home state of Pennsylvania, which is not solidly in the Obama camp just yet.
While the nod to Casey does not make up for the wrong done to his father 16 years earlier, it does send a long overdue message that there is room for more than one opinion on an issue within the Democratic Party. Now all the Democrats have to do is let Hillary Clinton place her name in nomination and show that there is room for more than one candidate as well. It should be obvious by now that the best way to defuse the anger of Clinton’s supporters is to let them have their roll call vote, but have Clinton persuade most of her less die-hard delegates to vote for Obama on the first ballot. That way, the true believers get the catharsis of casting their vote for Hillary, Obama still wraps up the nomination easily on the first ballot, and the party stands united against McCain in the fall. Of course, the Democrats’ demonstrated ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory strongly argues they will fail to follow this common sense approach. But the Casey move suggests that even the Democratic dog occasionally is capable of learning a new trick.