Here are the announced speakers so far for the Democratic National Convention There are 31 so far, and 7 are women. That's slightly less than a quarter of speaking slots, and three of them - Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama - are required, as opposed to selected by the campaign. So this is a convention designed to showcase the male side of the Democratic Party. But let's look deeper, at the national security evening, on Wednesday. Here's who is representing the face of the party on national security.
Former President Clinton
Gov. Bill Richardson, New Mexico
Sen. Evan Bayh, Indiana
Sen. Joe Biden, Delaware
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, West Virginia
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada
Sen. Ken Salazar, Colorado
House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, South Carolina
Rep. Patrick Murphy, Pennsylvania
Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth
So unless the VP is a woman, the 'Security America's Future' evening features four Senators who voted for the war in Iraq, one ex-President who supported the war in Iraq, one Congressman who voted against the war in Iraq, one Governor who opposed the war in Iraq, one Congressman who served in Iraq and voted for war funding, and one veteran who served in Iraq, ran a divisive primary and got crushed in a general election. There are no grassroots antiwar progressives on there and there is ONLY one woman.
What exactly did Evan Bayh do to deserve to represent himself as a leader on national security? And Joe Biden? And Ken Salazar? And Rockefeller? Really? All of these people got the big decision wrong, but they are tied together by a willingness to preen around as serious boys who like guns. Moreoever, the one woman on stage that night, Tammy Duckworth, though she represents a laudable and important commitment to veterans, also represents an explicit repudiation of grassroots antiwar progressives.
Those of you who have been reading the blogs for a few years know that Duckworth ran an aggressively divisive primary in IL-06 in 2006, narrowly defeated a grassroots progressive, and lost badly to a Republican despite massive financial support from institutional Democrats. She's an Iraq veteran, but there are lots of Iraq veterans. And there are lots of veterans, period, who are considered leaders in the Democratic Party and do have credibility on national security policies that will be useful to the next President (I could point to a former commander of NATO who won a war, but you know, there are so many of those senior level commanders aching to surrogate for Democrats so I won't bother to list them all).
Tammy Duckworth's race in 2006 was a primary in which Dick Durbin, Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, and the DCCC all worked overtime to funnel over five million dollars to Duckworth, and set her up with ABC primetime interviews, and she still lost her race. More than that, she only narrowly won her primary against an underfunded grassroots progressive. So why is she speaking? Why exactly did Obama choose this line-up, except as a signal that the Obama campaign is entirely bought into an elitist conservative establishment mindset, in which the only thing that matters is how much you are willing to suck up to power in the village?
Sure, Duckworth speaking is an utter slap in the face to progressives who worked hard from 2002-2006 to take back the majority from Republicans. But unless the Obama campaign changes their convention lineup on Security America's Future, the faces they have picked speak very loudly about which half of the population makes policy around war and peace.