The Wall Street Journal calls everyone’s attention to a “vague reference to a mystery speaker” in the official schedule for the Republican National Convention — namely, a “to be announced” appearing in the 10 pm slot on Thursday night. Cue the speculation, which begins with the WSJ’s poll of possible names that includes some rather obvious duds.
No, Ted Nugent is not going to be the mystery speaker. Or David Petreaus. The only name on the list that makes any sense is Sarah Palin. Jim Geraghty at the National Review agrees:
The more you think about the idea, the more it makes sense — whatever controversy and intense reactions Sarah Palin may bring to whatever she does, if there is one thing we know she does exceptionally well, it is give convention speeches! This wouldn’t mean turning her into an official Romney surrogate or putting her in a Romney cabinet or anything like that — just giving one of the Republican figures most beloved by the grassroots — or at least a large and vocal segment of the grassroots — a chance to fire up the base and discuss why it is so important that everyone pull out all the stops for Romney.
Andrew Sullivan thinks that might backfire on them because “the more independent voters associate Romney’s candidacy with Palin, the less likely they are to vote for him.” But I think that’s a risk the Romney campaign would be willing to take. If there is one dominant theme to Romney’s entire campaign so far, it’s the relentless attempts to appeal to the hard right base rather than to independent voters.