By picking Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney embraced the Spirit of 2010. The House Republican budget was his budget, minus the Medicare cuts (that actually are structured to strengthen the program).
But when I look at the schedule for the Republican National Convention, something’s missing. Where are the citizen-politician congressmen who stormed the gates in 2010? Here’s a truncated list of the speakers who’ll get prime time – 7:30 p.m. to close – on each night of the RNC. I’m only listing the current elected Republican politicians.
Monday: Speaker John Boehner; Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers; Governors Rick Scott and Nikki Haley; Sen. Rand Paul; U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz.
Tuesday: Sen. Kelly Ayotte; Governors John Kasich, Mary Fallin, Bob McDonnell, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and Chris Christie; and congressional candidate Mia Love, who’s gotten a ton of hype – she’d be the first black, female Republican member of Congress.
Wednesday: Sens. John McCain, John Thune, and Rob Portman; Governors Jeb Bush, Luis Fortuno (of Puerto Rico).
Thursday: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack.
John Stanton’s already reported that Majority Whip Eric Cantor isn’t speaking in prime time. But neither is Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the party’s whip. If you want to hear from the Real People who led the 2010 Tea Party wave – Rep. Allen West, Rep. Mike Kelly, Rep. Renee Ellmers – maybe you’ll get that during the mid-day, C-Span only sections.
It’s not strange at all for a party to prioritize senators and governors on the convention stage. This schedule is heavy on racial diversity, something the GOP couldn’t show off in 2008 – I mean, the Governor of Puerto Rico and his wife both get prime-time slots. But the new Republican House has passed Ryan’s budgets, forced a deal on the debt limit, ended earmarks, and generally achieved all that its new members promised. If Scott Walker’s Wisconsin is the most successful local laboratory of the new conservative, John Boehner and Eric Cantor’s House is the place where the demo tapes’ll get mastered. And you won’t see it in prime time.