The 2012 Republican National Convention:

What can be learned from all of the absences?

It is hard to imagine a Democratic Convention these days without former president Bill Clinton playing a prominent role. Clinton seemed totally in his element when addressing his fellow democratic delegates two weeks ago in Charlotte, North Carolina. The former president’s nearly hour long speech made it clear that he can make a compelling case for President Obama’s reelection. Once seen as a potential distraction to the Obama administration, Clinton is now more popular than ever before, and has become quite the asset to President Obama’s reelection hopes.

The same though cannot be said for most of the former Republican luminaries. Rather unusually (historically speaking), and very conspicuously, The Republicans held their national convention without either of its two living former presidents attending.

Of the two men, former president George H.W Bush’s absence is most easily excused. The elder Bush had been in increasingly poor health in recent months, so it is understandable that he would not feel up to traveling these days. His son’s absence however is another matter.

As the last Republican to be president, it would seem only logical that George W. Bush would speak at the 2012 Republican National Convention. But to the relief of current Republican officeholders nationwide, it appears that George W. Bush has retired from making public appearances.

Even if George W. Bush had volunteered to speak at the convention he would have undoubtedly been told to stay home. George W. Bush is still so universally unpopular that the current Republican nominee for president, Mitt Romney, (following John McCain’s lead in 2008) is loath to even utter Bush’s name publically.

The previous two Republican vice presidential candidates Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin were also conspicuously absent at the Republican convention. When asked why he would not be attending the convention, Cheney replied that he had an important fishing trip planned (I’m not kidding about that!) While Sarah Palin responded that she would be too busy observing Russian troop movements from her kitchen window (ok now I am!).

Despite the fact that many Americans dislike Cheney and Palin, they still would have been positively received at a convention full of ardent Republicans. Both Cheney and Palin are capable of energizing the Republican base. So why were they too missing at the convention?

The lack of past party leadership at the convention was an attempt by the Republicans to make it appear as though they were moving away from their party’s failures of the previous decade. The Republicans hoped that by introducing viewers to a new generation of Republican faces, those same voters might just forget about the string of  embarrassments the  Palin’s, Cheney’s, and Bush’s of the world brought to the party.

But if someone thought that by making sure those polarizing politicians were nowhere to be found that the Republicans were making a clean break from their political past, that someone would be dead wrong.

My next blog post will prove rather conclusively, I think, that while the current Republican leadership is willing to replace those that once represented the party, it is still unwilling to replace the policies that continue to alienate many independent minded Americans.

Governor Markell’s Campaign Kickoff

    Please join us this Saturday, September 15th as we welcome Governor Jack Markell (and other special guests) to the University of Delaware.  The Governor is coming to campus to formally announce his re-election campaign. This is a truly unique opportunity to get to see some of Delaware’s most distinguished and influential politicians up close. Governor Markell’s Campaign Kickoff will take place at 7:00 pm on the steps of Memorial Hall, facing the South Green. On behalf of all us here at the College Dems, we hope to see you there!

UPDATE: We now have U.S. Senator Carper confirmed for attending the event. So if you want a chance to meet a sitting Senator come out on Saturday for Governor Markell’s Campaign Kickoff!

Will the Democrats keep control of the Senate?

As the November election rapidly approaches, the Democrats’ prospects for maintaining control of the United States Senate have noticeably brightened. The Democrats have Congressman Todd Akin to thank at least in part for this. His much-maligned remarks have singlehandidly made the Missouri Senate seat currently held by Democrat Claire McCaskill, go from a seat likely to be picked up by Republicans to one likely to remain in Democratic hands.

But the Missouri Senate race is not the only race that has Republicans worried about their chances of regaining control of the Senate. David Catanese of does an excellent job examining the other contested Senate races. Check out his article at