Top Seven Speakers at the Republican National Convention
Many King’s students study and enjoy political philosophy without giving much thought to actual politics. That’s understandable. With a rigorous King’s schedule it’s hard to follow the ever-changing nuances of American politics. That said, it’s always healthy to have at least some knowledge of what’s going on nationally.
The Republican National Convention, hosted in Tampa, Florida is one of the few events between now and November that holds true significance. At the RNC, the Romney/Ryan campaign will have one of its few chances to define itself and garner the support of the GOP. In 2008, John McCain took his only lead in the polls coming out of the RNC.
Since the RNC is as significant as it is, I’ve compiled a list of the top seven speakers to tune in to. Whether you plan to watch the whole event or just skim a few articles on it, here’s a list of names you want to know:
7. Marco Rubio
Rubio, elected Florida senator in 2010, was considered a possible vice presidential pick for Mitt Romney. With a huge appeal to conservative crowds, Rubio was considered a strong Tea Party candidate, taking his Senate seat in a three-way race. Rubio is Cuban-American, which made some think he could potentially win the coveted Hispanic vote. Rubio is well known for his speaking and will be quite comfortable doing so in his home state. He’ll be worth watching.
6. Bobby Jindal
As governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal is on the edge of becoming a national figure. Although he’s lesser known, Jindal was seen as another potential Romney running mate. This won’t be the first time Jindal has given a speech on the national scene. In 2009, Jindal delivered the Republican response to President Obama's first address to a joint session of Congress. Some called Jindal's response a flop. Now with his opportunity in Tampa, Jindal has the chance to make up for his last speech and show us all who he is.
5. Scott Walker
Governor Scott Walker is a conservative war hero (figuratively, that is). Walker’s policies not only have great influence in his home state of Wisconsin, but they also carry much national importance. A champion of public sector union reform, Walker came under extreme criticism when he took action to address public sector pensions and collective bargaining rights. In protest, many public employees camped inside the Wisconsin capitol building while Walker’s legislation was being debated. Walker scored a victory when he retained his seat through a recall election and became a national symbol of fiscal conservatism and reform in America.
4. Paul Ryan
Not much has to be said about Rep. Paul Ryan. As Romney’s pick for vice presidential candidate (or CFO of America), Ryan has invigorated a previously rather dull campaign. Even before being chosen as VP, Ryan was still a notable national politician. As a result of his work as chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan has become the most influential Republican in the House. Ryan speaks with clarity and unusual specificity. He has also begun to familiarize America with the term “wonk.”
3. Rand Paul
Son of the famous Libertarian Ron Paul, Rand Paul is one of the rising stars of the Republican Party. His election to represent Kentucky in the Senate in 2010 was viewed as one of the Tea Party's biggest victories. Rand is a rare example of someone who appeals both to mainstream Republicans and to “Ron Paul” Libertarians. This popularity makes some believe that Rand is ripe for a presidential run of his own in the near future. This speech could be a step toward the goal of the presidency. Rand’s speech will also likely be filled with talk of Austrian economics.
2. Ted Cruz
Fresh out of Texas, Ted Cruz hasn’t even been elected to the Senate yet. But after his July 31 upset victory over party-favored David Dewhurst in the Republican primary, Cruz will almost definitely win the very red state’s Senate seat. Cruz is already renowned for his public speaking abilities. In college and in law school Cruz won numerous debate awards, ranking as a semifinalist at the 1995 World Universities Debating Championship (an achievement that makes any member of the King’s Debate Society jealous). Cruz is already gaining national recognition which will only be furthered when he delivers his oration.
1. Chris Christie
It’s no surprise that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was chosen as the keynote speaker; Christie is easily the best orator in the Republican Party. Elected in 2009, Christie has been on the forefront of state teachers' union reform and has worked hard to balance the budget. In numerous town hall meetings the governor has had to respond to angry teachers all across New Jersey, and in doing so Christie has become known for his blunt, persuasive speaking style. Christie’s speaking is even something of a You Tube sensation. Many begged Christie to consider joining the Republican Presidential Primary last year. Christie declined to enter the race, but public support for a future run is obvious. His keynote address is not to be missed.
The Wall Street Journal provides a full and revised schedule of the RNC. The convention pushed back sessions originally scheduled for Monday due to Hurricane Isaac. C-SPAN and major news networks provide live streams.