LEACH GETS THE SHORT SHRIFT…. Last night, DDay asked a very reasonable question: “If a 30-year Democrat spoke at the RNC, excoriated his former party, and endorsed the Presidential candidate of the opposite party, would the media cover it?”
DDay was referring, of course, to former Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa, a respected, long-time Republican lawmaker who not only endorsed Barack Obama, but appeared at the Democratic convention last night to urge others to follow his lead.
This development barely generated any attention at all. When Zell Miller appeared at the Republican convention, it was a key development. When Joe Lieberman, who isn’t even a Democrat anymore, announced his own appearance at the GOP convention, this was a major story. Some former Democratic delegate in Wisconsin moved inexplicably from supporting Clinton to backing McCain, and her switch is treated as exceedingly important.
Leach, however, is getting the short shrift. He’s a credible, serious guy, who was part of the House Republican caucus for decades, and this year, Leach concluded that Obama is the leader the nation needs.
Maybe he’s too mild-mannered to generate more attention (he did not, for example, mention “spitballs” during his speech last night). Maybe if he’d challenged Chris Matthews to a duel, news outlets would have taken his remarks more seriously.
But that’s a genuine shame, because Leach had a message worth listening to: “As a Republican, I stand before you with deep respect for the history and traditions of my political party. But it is clear to all Americans that something is out of kilter in our great republic…. Seldom has the case for an inspiring new political ethic been more compelling. And seldom has an emerging leader so matched the needs of the moment…. I stand before you proud of my party’s contributions to American history but, as a citizen, proud as well of the good judgment of good people in this good party, in nominating a transcending candidate, an individual whom I am convinced will recapture the American dream and be a truly great president: the senator from Abraham Lincoln’s state — Barack Obama…. This is not a time for politics as usual…. Obama will recapture the American dream and be a truly great president.”