Bob Barr

The Democrats already have given us their answer to this question. The highlight of their soiree in Charlotte will be the loudest possible blast from the past -- former president Bill Clinton. Notwithstanding his legacy as only the second president in American history to be impeached, Bill Clinton remains probably the most sought-after and energetic speaker on the Democratic side of the political divide. Of course, compared to somnambulistic speakers like Vice President Joe Biden, there's not much one has to do to be considered an exciting speaker.

Still, the Democrats' choice of a former, disgraced president as their piece de resistance serves as testament to the lack of depth in their Party's farm team (and of their lack of faith in their current vice president to motivate voters). Whether other announced speakers, such as San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro (being billed as the “next Barack Obama"), will be able to refocus Democratic Party voters on the future rather than the tarnished past of Bill Clinton, will be a real challenge for the Party in Charlotte later this month.

On the other side of the political aisle, If the Republican Party plays its cards right, it has a golden opportunity to highlight the depth of the GOP farm team.

The GOP possesses, by any objective measure, a much stronger cadre of eloquent, energetic and diverse candidates for national election than does the other side. Two of these leaders hail from the must-carry Sunshine State -- Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Allen West. Another serves as governor of the former Democratic Party stronghold of Louisiana -- Bobby Jindal. Then there is fiscal-policy rock star Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. To this stellar bill must now be added the Tea-Party backed GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ted Cruz. The list goes on and on.

If in fact Republican Party leaders provide a real opportunity later this month in Tampa to this group of potential national-level candidates, to highlight their oratorical skills and their substantive ideas, the GOP will lay a strong foundation for future presidential success, regardless of what happens this coming November. This is especially true given the fact that their rivals will be engaged in an obvious effort to mask the failures of the present with a blast from the past.

Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.