John Lyon with our content partner, the Arkansas News Bureau, explores the high-profile slot Second District Cong. Tim Griffin (R) will have at the upcoming GOP convention in Tampa.
Griffin will be a featured speaker on Monday afternoon as the convention gets underway.
Lyon talks to several political science professors, who offer their thoughts on the spotlight Griffin will occupy on the national stage.
“With either party, when they tab these people it shows that they are people who are within the party thought of as up-and-comers, people who are on the bench and people that they want to put forward and give a national platform to as sort of the future of their party,” said Anthony Nownes, a political science professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Giving Griffin a spot at the national convention may be the party’s way of testing him, said Marvin Overby, a political science professor at the University of Missouri in Columbia.
“It may be that party leaders are trying to put him up in prime time to see how well he does with the pressure and the spotlight,” he said.
Overby noted that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both gained heightened visibility with appearances at national party conventions. But the national spotlight can also be damaging to a politician who is not ready for it, he said, recalling that when Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindall gave a televised rebuttal to Obama’s first address to Congress as president, his speech fell flat.
Clinton managed to rebound from an a long, uninspired speech at the 1988 Democratic convention which drew the biggest ovation when he said, “… in conclusion.” He turned the incident in his favor by joking about it on late-night talk shows.
“You just don’t know who’s going to catch fire, who’s going to blossom under the spotlight and who’s going to wilt under the spotlight,” Overby said.
You can read comments from Griffin and more analysis at this link.