Last weekend at Jonah Goldbergs Christmas party, I started a parlour game of handicapping who will be the keynote speaker at the Democratic Cinvention next summer. I had Hillary the favorite, with Gore, Ted Kennedy (because the convention is in Boston), and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (because Dems are worried about their possibly slipping share of the Hispanic vote) in fourth place. (Bill Clinton will surely speak, but probably on the second night, though, to help assure a second nights excitement and viewership.) Michigan Gov. Granholm is also a possibility, because she is telegenic, and will help with the womens vote.
The keynote speaker slot in next years convention is very important for 2008, if you assume that Dean is the nominee and that he will lose. Remember that it was Mario Cuomos keynote speech to the Dems in 1984 that made him a national figure and top contender for the future.
With Gores endorsement of Dean, Gore must now be made the favorite. Hillary no doubt wants it, but Dean wont owe her anything. So heres the handicap at this point:
Gore: 1 - 3 favorite
Hillary: Even money (1 - 1)
Richardson: 5 - 1
Ted Kennedy: 8 - 1
Granholm: 9 - 1
Methinks NoLeftTurns should sponsor a contest and award to the winner.
You mention Cuomos 84 speech; dont forget that Clinton keynoted in 88. It was a long boring speech, but it nevertheless signalled his future status.