On the Thursday night schedule for the Republican National Convention, there is a big old space marked "To Be Announced" and the speculation is going today about who might be the super secret "mystery guest." According to Sara Libby of Talking Points Memo, "top advisers to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign" -- including Romney veep-vetter Beth Myers and senior aide Eric Fehrnstrom -- say that they "have no knowledge" of who it might be. (Which is highly unlikely, but whatever.)
Whoever the "mystery guest" is, he or she or they or it will appear between a musical performance from American Idol-winner Taylor Hicks and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. In terms of building a "narrative" with the evening, in which each new moment builds on the last in an arc of rising action, you could theoretically put just about anyone between those two. You could, for example, announce, "That was Taylor Hicks, ladies and gentlemen! Now please welcome [INSERT NAME OF ANY OTHER KNOWN SINGER]!" (Probably not Tom Morello, though.)
But the lion's share of speculation is centered on the possibility that Sarah Palin, who has thus far been excluded, might show up and repeat the rousing oration she provided convention attendees in 2008. If that happens, it will give the commentariat a chance to opine that the "decision seemed to stray from the task of selling Romney to independent voters, gargle gargle blargh."
Ask anyone at the convention what they think, though, and Palin is near the top of the list. Also being freely bandied about is the possibility that it could be a Cheney (Dick or Liz), a Bush (George H.W., not the other one), or a Reagan (Nancy).
Maybe the mystery guest will be Vice President Joe Biden! Like, they trick him, or something.
Dave Weigel noted today that the words "Tea Party," have not yet been said aloud on the convention stage. It seems sort of inexplicable that the convention organizers would not, in some way, pay tribute to the movement that helped propel them back to a majority in the House of Representatives. But it's not clear how they would honor the Tea Party with a "mystery guest," short of having Rick Santelli make an appearance. They could, perhaps, continue the theme of the first night, and bring ordinary, unacclaimed Tea Party activists on stage to address the crowd in the same way they had small business owners take the stage last night. (The theme of Thursday night's festivities is "We Believe In America.")
Fox News is reporting that a reliable source has said that the TBA speaker will be Clint Eastwood, who famously narrated the "Halftime In America" Super Bowl commercials that many on the right accused of having a pro-Obama bias. That same Fox News report also offers some speculation that it could be New York Jets benchwarmer Tim Tebow, who would stand a pretty good chance of completing a pass if he just hurled it into the crowd. It will probably not be Donald Trump, because if it was, he would have already given away the surprise by being really obvious about it on Twitter.
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