Bad Scheduling

I think this article about Mark Warner’s speech pretty clearly demonstrates the problem with giving prominent speaking positions at your national convention to politicians from states that tend to hue away from your party:

Some Democrats were already complaining, saying that Warner’s job is to put a dent in Republican John McCain’s image.

“This isn’t the Richmond Chamber of Commerce,” said Democratic consultant Paul Begala.

For Mark Warner, who is seeking the Senate seat of retiring Republican John Warner, a red-meat speech that would bring the party’s most passionate warriors to their feet in Denver would undermine a carefully cultivated image at home that has given him a strong lead in statewide polls and a lopsided fundraising advantage.

And that’s kind of the problem, if Mark Warner did what he really needed to do for the convention, it would hurt him at home. So he can’t run down the litany of problems with Bush. Now obviously, positive speeches like this have worked before. Barack Obama’s 2004 speech comes immediately to mind. But those kinds of speeches are usually pulled off by the force of the speaker’s oratory, and Mark Warner isn’t necessarily known for having Obamaesque inflection.

Then again, I suppose there’s something to the idea that the public broadly favors Democrats in generic terms, and so all Democrats really need to do is make the public comfortable with Obama to win.