Theory on the convention’s mystery speaker: Nancy Reagan?

posted at 2:41 pm on August 28, 2012 by Allahpundit

Ben Domenech tweets that an appearance by GOP former first ladies makes the most sense. I agree, with the caveat that Barbara and Laura Bush aren’t big enough draws to justify drumming up suspense for a “mystery speaker” in advance. If they’re going this route to soften Romney’s image by using popular, well-known Republican women to sing his praises, they’re going to want Nancy Reagan there for star power and to bestow RR’s benediction symbolically on him. Whether she’s up to it physically I have no idea, but she was well enough last month to help launch a new exhibit at the Reagan library. We’ll see.

If not her, who? Domenech’s right that Romney’s unlikely to gamble on a red-meat conservative on Thursday night, especially one like Limbaugh or Palin whom he can’t control. He’s looking for centrist votes, to the point where he’s begun touting his RomneyCare record(!) as evidence of how good he’s been for women’s health. And if you believe Frank Luntz and Steven Law of American Crossroads, the most effective way to pull centrist swing voters away from Obama is to show them other disappointed Obama voters talking publicly about changing their minds. That’s really what Romney needs on Thursday — a 2008 Obama fan who’ll come out and make the more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger case for switching. Artur Davis would have been perfect except that (a) he’s already scheduled to speak and (b) he’s not sufficiently famous to wow undecideds with his shift. There are, however, three guys who might be.

One: Ace wonders if it’s Douglas Wilder. Remember that strange episode two weeks ago when he was spotted at a Romney/Ryan fundraiser, then told the press he’d gone to the wrong hotel while looking for an event on education? He’d spent the previous two days on Fox News dumping on Biden for his “chains” comment. Having America’s first black governor endorse a Republican over America’s first black president would be high drama worthy of “mystery speaker” suspense, but Ace hears from Bryan Preston at PJ Media that it’s unlikely.

Two: Colin Powell. No crossover endorsement was bigger for Obama in 2008 so having him cut bait on The One at the convention would be as strong a signal as you could send to voters that it’s okay to admit your mistake and atone. Powell said as recently as June that he was still undecided between Romney and Obama; a month before that, he called Romney a “good man” whom he’s known for years before going on to praise some of O’s first-term “accomplishments.” Endorsing Romney on national TV would make him instantly relevant again. Two problems, though. First, there’s enough bad blood between him and the base over 2008 that I doubt he’d want to risk being booed at the convention. Maybe he figures that the crowd will let him slide since he’s there to help them win now? I don’t know. Seems risky. Second, unendorsing a guy at the other party’s convention is a move reserved for those who either feel deep disappointment over the candidate’s performance or stand to gain something significant politically from doing so. Powell fits neither of those categories. He’s not running for anything and he still admires Obama enough to have complimented him on Iraq and Afghanistan(!) just this past weekend. There’s no reason for him to show up and torpedo the guy on Thursday, unless there’s some sort of grudge or hard feelings that we don’t know about.

Three: Hmmmmm.

A sitting Democratic senator giving thumbs down to a sitting Democratic president warrants “mystery speaker” hype, and it’s true that Manchin’s pointedly refused to endorse Obama thus far. One question, though: What does he gain from doing this? As of May, he’s leading his Republican opponent by more than 50 points. He doesn’t need to make a presidential endorsement to win; on the contrary, doing this will only make life harder for him within the Democratic caucus. I suppose he could be considering a party switch next year — which, if so, would make Todd Akin’s Missouri fumble suddenly less damaging — and is trying to ingratiate himself with the GOP now in hopes of some plum committee assignments from McConnell next year. If it’s not Nancy Reagan, I think I’d bet on him.

Oh, incidentally, Romney’s advisors say they don’t know who the mystery speaker is. Mmm hmmm.

Update: I totally forgot this one, but Jamie Weinstein didn’t. Good call:

4.) Clint Eastwood

The 82-year old actor known for his toughness and grit has already endorsed Romney. While many Hollywood actors are prone to scorn for being out of touch elitists, Eastwood doesn’t carry that image. He isn’t the Hollywood-type most Americans would recoil for injecting himself into politics. An endorsement from Eastwood, who served as mayor of a California city and who George H.W. Bush reportedly considered for his vice presidential nominee, would seem to fit the bill as someone who would work as a high-profile mystery prime time speaker.

Not a case of someone switching his vote from 2008 (Eastwood endorsed McCain), but if the name of the game is getting swing voters’ attention, you can do worse than a guy who’s been a cultural icon for 50 years.

Update: Nope, it won’t be Manchin.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 3 4 5

Sarah Palin

jan3 on August 28, 2012 at 5:50 PM

C’mon ‘gill, someone just invoked the name “Sarah Palin” again.

You must respond.

listens2glenn on August 28, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Flora, not everyone thinks Palin is the greatest thing ever. You need to realize that. We can admire certain things about her while still recognizing her serious liabilities. Palin is just not someone we want to put out there in center stage.

Anyway, let’s quit with the bickering. We’re all on the same side. The name of the game is to defeat Obama by electing Romney/Ryan.

Who do you think the mystery guest will be?

#UNITY

bluegill on August 28, 2012 at 5:06 PM

SCREW YOU LOSER!!!

You think we’re just going to forget that you called Palin an incompetent buffoon who lost in 2008???

You’re a clueless spineless RINO who has no clue as to what you’re babbling about.

Palin almost carried the pathetic Mccain to victory in 2008. She’s fought corruption in the AK GOP and got more done in 2 years than most governors do in their entire terms.

Palin has also been one of the best advocates and fundraisers out there for conservative candidates.

Of course you would know nothing about being a conservative b/c you’ve never been one.

You can’t call for unity after opening your big mouth and showing what a complete clown you are!

LevinFan on August 28, 2012 at 5:54 PM

bluegill on August 28, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Holy crap, that’s what you say about someone you “admire”?? I shudder to think what you say about people you can’t stand.

chelie on August 28, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Nothing is a surprise anymore. Everything gets leaked. Someone will tell and spoil it. Hopefully the Romney campaign is smart enough to make a wise choice, one that we don’t have to face palm or play the melting bunny video over :) There are a number of good choices, but also some really bad ones. I hope it’s Nancy Reagan. That would be an epic tribute. It’s time to SHINE GOP!

scalleywag on August 28, 2012 at 6:01 PM

I bet it won’t be as exciting or interesting to warrant such speculation.

terryannonline on August 28, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Barbara and Laura Bush aren’t big enough draws to justify drumming up suspense for a “mystery speaker”

I dunno… I think Laura would fit the bill. She seems to be well-liked by most people. I bet political consultants would say she would “soften” the image of the GOP to the female prime-time Thursday night viewers. Especially by comparison to the upcoming slate of speakers at the other party’s convention.

acasilaco on August 28, 2012 at 6:20 PM

will hope it’s sarah until i see otherwise =)

I bet it won’t be as exciting or interesting to warrant such speculation.

terryannonline on August 28, 2012 at 6:05 PM

that’s my fear, lol. whoever it is, it better be worth this excitement! that’s why i said it should be someone who is very well-known, a recognizable name.

Sachiko on August 28, 2012 at 6:35 PM

How about Schwarzeneggar reprising his roll as Conan, waving the severed head of the Grassroots from the Rules thuggery?

michaelo on August 28, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Really hope it’s not an entertainment celebrity, but has anyone mentioned Chuck Norris? Or perhaps Dinesh D’Souza/Gerald Molen? I hear they’re all tearing up the box office right now.

RepubChica on August 28, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Dr. Who and his big blue box.

RickB on August 28, 2012 at 6:45 PM

So let me get this straight – only RINOS can have a problem with Palin?

weew on August 28, 2012 at 6:46 PM

In the Books of the Kings in the Bible we read about kings who followed after foreign gods having been influenced by by their non-Israeli wives.

God passed judgement on them.

President Reagan, a Christian, listened to Nancy’s advice she got through astrology. He spent his last years not knowing who he was, unable to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

We shouldn’t have Mrs. Reagan on the national stage unless she first repents of going after “strange fire.”

davidk on August 28, 2012 at 6:57 PM

So let me get this straight – only RINOS can have a problem with Palin?

weew on August 28, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Most conservatives recognize that Palin isn’t exactly one of our brightest conservative lights. Also, many have a problem with the fact that she feeds off conservative in-fighting; after all, bashing the GOP is her usual, tiresome shtick.

Most everyone is aware of this. Palin’s worshipers, however, can’t stand to hear the truth about their idol. The Palin worshipers can be worse than the followers of Obama’s cult of personality.

bluegill on August 28, 2012 at 6:59 PM

bluegill on August 28, 2012 at 4:47 PM

You’re a tiresome little one-note assclown. Are you aware of that?

Solaratov on August 28, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Doug Wilder and David Petraeus would be great. Bibi would kick butt.

Philly on August 28, 2012 at 7:05 PM

Most conservatives recognize that Palin isn’t exactly one of our brightest conservative lights.

bluegill on August 28, 2012 at 6:59 PM

Took you awhile, but you finally got there.

Paul-Cincy on August 28, 2012 at 7:07 PM

You’re a tiresome little one-note assclown. Are you aware of that?

Solaratov on August 28, 2012 at 7:00 PM

I understand that I can be obnoxious at times…

bluegill on August 3, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Flora Duh on August 28, 2012 at 7:07 PM

Typical Rino’s, let’s have the mystery speaker appeal to the squishy middle.

How about a conservative with principle i.e. Palin

If I remember right after Palin gave her VP nomination speech in 2008, McCain’s poll numbers got an 8 point bump.

The GOP maggot’s are so stupid!!!

Danielvito on August 28, 2012 at 7:07 PM

#UNITY

bluegill on August 28, 2012 at 5:06 PM

You are such a phony, hypocritical, small moby. Do you really think that no one sees you for what you are and what you try to do? Then you’re a fool as well.

#WAR

Solaratov on August 28, 2012 at 7:09 PM

Mrs. Reagan is frail and quiet.
I served on Gen Powell’s staff when he was chairman. Racist to the bone.
Clint? Didn’t he make the GM commercial for the Super Bowl?

My SWAG is Joe Lieberman.

crash72 on August 28, 2012 at 7:11 PM

By far the biggest mystery speaker would be Charlie Crist. Known for blowing which ever way the wind blows, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch for him to endorse Romney the day after endorsing Obama; he really wants a job that doesn’t involve ambulance chasing.

Robbin Hood on August 28, 2012 at 7:14 PM

#STEAK

Axe on August 28, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Lance Armstrong.

ardenenoch on August 28, 2012 at 7:26 PM

I still believe that it is Wilder. I have read some of Bryan Preston’s work and I do like it for the most part but I see nothing in his background or in the quality of his information in previous work that would make me think or believe that he has the inroads to say that Wilder is not the “special Speaker” Thursday night.

Mark

mailmars on August 28, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Hologram Reagan, FTW!

LeftCoastRefugee on August 28, 2012 at 7:33 PM

I posted a week ago that IMO it will be Sarah Palin. The story of her staying in Alaska with prior commitments is just too thin.

She has been THE kingmaker of the last two years, and it is foolish to risk ticking off her following. They vote. With her on board, Romney can move to the center without risking the loss of her Tea Party conservative voters who can be depended upon to show up on election day.

CTimbo on August 28, 2012 at 7:34 PM

What follows are people that won’t be there, but I can still use my imagination just to picture the reaction:

Hillary Clinton….back to being a Goldwater girl.

Charles Barkley….back to being, well Charles Barkley, but the former GOP version.

Elvis Presley….back from a really long vacation.

Reggie1971 on August 28, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Northern Mariana Islands?

Dongemaharu on August 28, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and a few other small islands that are part of the Marianas chain. They are a commonwealth partner of the US.
Guam, I think, enjoys the same status, votes separately.

None of them is in immediate danger of tipping over; the population is kept evenly distributed.

massrighty on August 28, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Most conservatives recognize that Palin isn’t exactly one of our brightest conservative lights. Also, many have a problem with the fact that she feeds off conservative in-fighting; after all, bashing the GOP is her usual, tiresome shtick.

Most everyone is aware of this. Palin’s worshipers, however, can’t stand to hear the truth about their idol. The Palin worshipers can be worse than the followers of Obama’s cult of personality.

bluegill on August 28, 2012 at 6:59 PM

More tiresome argument by mere assertion.

Most conservatives…
Many….
Most everyone…

Throw in a fact, once in a while, just to break things up.

Or, quit posting the same gibberish.

massrighty on August 28, 2012 at 7:54 PM

It’s a disgrace that the 2008 Vice-Presidential nominee for our party has not been offered a prime time speaking spot at the convention.It is a slap in the face to conservative activists.We will have to endure a tribute to the anti-American lunatic Ron Paul who expressed support for the traitorous Bradley Manning,but we will not get to hear the leader of the conservative wing of the party,Sarah Palin.Shameful!

redware on August 28, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Angelina Jolie said she wasn’t happy with Obama. If she comes out and says I’m pro-choice but I’m voting for Romney because the economy is more important, and I work for the UN and I’m voting for Romney because the world needs a strong US that would be BIG!

Ktulu1022 on August 28, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Condi Rice

onlineanalyst on August 28, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Condi Rice

onlineanalyst on August 28, 2012 at 9:05 PM

That would work.

On a funner note:
-maybe it’s a lobotomized Joe Biden
-could stand up the presidential teleprompter and have it quote Obama

BryanS on August 28, 2012 at 9:35 PM

-could stand up the presidential teleprompter and have it quote Obama

BryanS on August 28, 2012 at 9:35 PM

That’s funny right there.

davidk on August 28, 2012 at 9:38 PM

I’m hoping beyond all reason for… Mike Rowe.

phelps on August 28, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Newt!!!!

onlineanalyst on August 28, 2012 at 9:47 PM

It’ll be George Obama. Mark my words.

MiloX on August 28, 2012 at 11:55 PM

Too bad it would’t be Joe Manchin, that would have put the Democrat caucus-counters in the Senate into a tailspin – it would have been almost tantamount to floor dropping out from beneath the Democrats.

If it’s not Palin, Powell, or Lieberman, I have no clue.

Jurisprudence on August 29, 2012 at 12:17 AM

I think it might be Ronald Reagan’s conservative son Michael Reagan. He is very articulate, very conservative, and he really respected and agreed with his father’s principles. I think I recently saw an article in which Michael Reagan emphasized the importance of us voting for Romney to get rid of the horrible Obummer.

sherrimae on August 29, 2012 at 12:47 AM

I don’t know if it’s been mentioned here before, but Douglas Wilder was not the first black Governor in the US. He was the first since reconstruction, the first elected to the position of Governor and the first black Democratic Governor.

P.B.S. Pinchback, incidentally a Republican, served as the 24th Governor of Lousiana in the 1870s.

He was acting Lieutenant Governor, appointed to the post after the death of Lieutenant Governor Oscar Dunn, who was incidentally the first African-American to hold statewide office in the United States.

He became Governor when his predecessor Henry C. Warmoth had to resign due to impeachment proceedings after a contested election between two other candidates.

Mister Mets on August 29, 2012 at 1:40 AM

Is that when the last minute count-down to $16 trillion begins?

{^_^}

herself on August 29, 2012 at 5:20 AM

but we will not get to hear the leader of the conservative wing of the party,Sarah Palin.Shameful!

redware on August 28, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Sarah Palin isn’t the leader of anything. She’s just someone who goes after attention by trying to encourage division within our party. Let her stick to her Fox News channel analyst, where she never says anything very interesting or insightful.

bluegill on August 29, 2012 at 8:39 AM

George Obama?

How about a Presidential half-brother with a streak of anti-anti colonialism?

Marine WX on August 29, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Comment pages: 1 3 4 5