Obama to Include Republicans in Convention

You’d think Independent voters are starting to get important or something.

This morning, The Politico reports:

‘Advisers to President Barack Obama are scripting a Democratic National Convention featuring several Republicans in a prime-time appeal to independents — and planning a blistering portrayal of Mitt Romney as a heartless aristocrat who “would devastate the American middle class,” Democratic sources tell POLITICO.’

A word of caution: Featuring several willing speakers from a rival political party does not an independent approach make. Remember as you watch both the Republican and Democratic Party conventions, that you are being marketed to by people who are very good at it. Pulling together some speakers for a marketing event weeks before an election to make a show of bipartisanship is just talk, and talk is cheap.

Has Mr. Obama actually worked with Republicans in good faith during his first term? I’m not using this blog post to say one way or the other, but to encourage you to ask the question and investigate the answers. In just one sentence, The Politico report goes from saying that President Obama is going to make a prime-time appeal to independents– to saying that he’s going to hit his political opponent with “blistering” attacks on his character as a heartless aristocrat.

Mitt Romney might be heartless. And Barack Obama’s opponents might say the same of him. Both sides can go back and forth sparring over which one cares about America more, but there’s something lost amid that ultimately fruitless debate over the candidates’ personalities; amid using letters next to people’s names to pander to Independents at this convention (which seems independent, but fails to take the focus off parties); and amid the “real people” speaking slots that the rest of The Politico article details, which sound like great, focus group-tested marketing tools to play off the politics of identity and personality.

What’s lost is a substantive discussion about public policy.