The line up of speakers for the Republican National Convention has been announced and they seem to be a pretty dreary lot. Donald Trump had promised a big change from what he called the boring conventions of the past, and promised that there would be various celebrities and sporting figures among them to make it a great show.
Right now that seems to be a bust. There are no big name celebrities from the entertainment world, only some minor soap opera and reality TV actors. The only recognizable sporting figure is hyper-religious footballer Tim Tebow but he is definitely in the C list category since his career in the NFL was extremely short. Golfer Natalie Gulbis is speaking but she is ranked just 484th in the world, so that is scraping the bottom of the sporting barrel too. However, she has posed for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, so there’s that. Dana White, the head of the UFC (the mixed martial arts organization), is also speaking but one has to really stretch to call him a sporting figure.
One surprising omission is Ann Coulter, who has been an enthusiastic supporter of Donald Trump from the beginning. She was one of earliest to say that he had the best chance of being elected, being greeted with guffaws for her audacity on the Bill Maher show all the way back on June 19, 2015. She also said that Trump would find it harder to beat Bernie Sanders than Hillary Clinton. You have to give her credit for her political acumen.
But for me the biggest surprise is the omission of Sarah Palin from the list of speakers. She too has been an enthusiastic supporter of Trump and is a favorite of the Republican nutters and a sure fire hit with the party extremists. especially the religious ones. So why is she not speaking? Trump has been vague about this, only saying that she was asked but will not attend because her home is in Alaska and “it’s a long ways away”.
I don’t believe this for a minute. Palin herself has not commented but she regularly commutes between her homes in Alaska and Arizona, and given her history of willingness to show up anywhere where there are cameras and/or a big paycheck, it is hard to imagine that she would turn down an offer to speak at such a high-profile event that would put her in front of her adoring fans and the nation.
There is some speculation that the real reason for her absence is that she thought that she might be asked to be Trump’s running mate because of her early support of him. She is clearly delusional enough to think that she was a big success in that role in 2008, that it was all John McCain’s fault that they lost to the Kenyan Muslim Marxist usurper, and that she deserves another shot, but when she found out that she was not even on the short list, she was so miffed that she turned down a speaking offer out of pique.
But here’s another possible scenario. All the current rumors based on multiple leaks are that Indiana governor Mike Pence is going to be Trump’s choice for vice-president and the announcement was due to be made this morning, though last night he announced that in view of the deadly events in Nice, he was postponing the announcement, though he might have seized on that as an excuse and the real reason is that, given the chaotic nature of his campaign, he may have wanted more time to make up his mind or to firm up the logistics.
But I think the whole thing is a head fake. Pence would be a boring choice and Trump likes razzle-dazzle. (Incidentally, Coulter has gone to war against the possible choice of Pence and issued a series of blistering attacks on Twitter. Her Facebook page continues the rampage.) I think that Trump is going to surprise us all by saying that he has chosen Palin once again to run for VP. After building up the suspense as to who it is, she will emerge from behind a curtain in Trump Tower to loud applause, like in the Miss Universe pageants that Trump used to be associated with. He will act like the winner of one of The Bachelor contests and they will both, like a bride and groom, she in an evening gown and he in a tuxedo, ride together down the same golden escalator that he used when he announced his candidacy, providing a nice pair of bookends for his primary campaign.
Now that would be a real blast, a performance worthy of the showman that is Trump and the reality show that is the GOP today.
Remember folks, you heard it here first!
UPDATE: It’s Pence after all. Looks like I need a new crystal ball.