There are nine governors and former governors set to entertain the Grand Old Party when the Republican National Convention gets rolling in Tampa, Fla. a mere 17 days from now. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — despite her vigorous message, cool shoes, Supergirl T-shirt, and knack for transfixing any and all media — is not on the roster. Yet. The press has noticed, and is eager to frame the situation as a mystery, an allegory, a rift among Republicans, or as evidence that Mitt Romney is leery of being upstaged by Mrs. Palin, or Donald Trump for that matter.
Among the headlines from assorted news organizations this week: “GOP asking for trouble if Palin doesn’t speak” (The Washington Post), “Sarah Palin: odd woman out?” (Salon), “Palin’s role at the convention still a mystery” (New York Daily News), “Romney, GOP: Call 911 and ask for Sarah Palin” (the Bayou Buzz).
Perhaps the Romney campaign should consider launching another phone app that will alert the public when the decision is made. Many are watching. Among those who champion an appearance by the well-shod Mama Grizzly: Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Newt Gingrich and even Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. Other observers ponder implications behind the absence of Rep. Ron Paul, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Tim Pawlenty and Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, to name a few.
Meanwhile, here’s who’s actually on the official speaker’s list, all described as the party’s “brightest stars” by Mr. Priebus:
Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olen, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Rick Santorum, Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Senate nominee Ted Cruz of Texas.
No polar bears this time, but one never knows: Al Gore will be leading Current TV’s coverage of both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, joined by a motley cast determined to land the cable network on public radar. Joining Mr. Gore, who incidentally founded the network six years ago: Jennifer Granholm, Eliot Spitzer , “The Young Turks” host Cenk Uygur. California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and contributors David Shuster, Michael Shure, Joy Behar and John Fugelsang.
Mr. Gore deems it an “impressive line-up” and predicts the coverage will be “innovative and informative.”
A MOST AGREEABLE NEWT
“I am determined to do everything I can to defeat Barack Obama, who I regard as a direct threat to my two grandchildren’s future. I think a second term by Obama will be an absolute disaster This has got to be Mitt Romney’s campaign. He is the nominee. It has got to fit a rhythm and pattern he believes in. But within that framework, I’ll do anything I can to be helpful to them.”
- (Newt Gingrich, during a Republican National Committee conference call Wednesday.)
“Congress can launch investigations, hold hearings, or otherwise make real news, but journalists have repeatedly ignored or dismissed the Obama scandals,” say analysts Tim Graham and Geoffrey Dickens of the Media Research Center, who painstakingly pored over broadcast coverage of “Fast and Furious” and other controversies that have emerged from President Obama’s administration. There’s a “media miracle” afoot, the pair say, and some “stunning” omissions on behalf of ABC, CBS and NBC.
“Scandal coverage has long been an ideological thing. That begins with the assertion that there are zero Obama scandals for journalists to cover. In the Bush years, the TV networks and national newspapers thought most of what President Bush did was a scandal,” Mr. Graham and Mr. Dickens point out. See their research here: www.mrc.org.
Perceptions can differ: The New York Times labeled Mr. Obama the informal “news media critic in chief” on Tuesday, citing his appetite to read and critique coverage. “He has come to believe the news media have had a role in frustrating his ambitions to change the terms of the country’s political discussion. He particularly believes that Democrats do not receive enough credit for their willingness to accept cuts in Medicare and Social Security,” the newspaper said.
Democrats and Republicans may soon hammer out their differences. Ty Pennington, host of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” symbolically plans to build half of a house at the Republican convention and the other half at the Democratic convention, all destined to house a military vet. Mr. Pennington has the help of volunteers and state politicos at each event. He’s also got the backing of Craftsman tools, Bank of America, Heroes at Home, Rebuilding Together and Nextgen Home.
“With the help of the delegates at each convention — swinging hammers, laying floorboards and painting walls — we can build and donate a new home to a military veteran,” Mr. Pennington explains.
“In the time it took you to read this, the federal government spent $346,000.”
- (Bumper sticker spotted in Roswell, N.M.)
POLL DU JOUR
• 82 percent of U.S. voters over 50 say political gridlock has damaged their economic prospects.
• 72 percent of U.S. voters over age 50 think they will be forced to delay their retirement.
• 65 percent have little confidence they can live “comfortably” in retirement.
• 60 percent worry they will “come up short in their later years.”
• 50 percent say it’s possible they will never retire.
• 45 percent prefer President Obama, 45 percent prefer Mitt Romney, 10 percent are undecided.
Source: An AARP/GS Strategy/Hart Research survey of 1,331 registered U.S. voters over age 50 conducted July 10 to 16 and released Wednesday.
• Prognostications and predictions to firstname.lastname@example.org.