I’m not sure what the Republican National Committee is up to these
But I’m betting that if they don’t get their game face on fairly
soon, they will be on the outside looking in on Election Day, 2012.
So far, the Republican presidential primary looks like it was
scripted by Mel Brooks. Take this week for example.
Newt Gingrich, suddenly breathing the rarefied air of a contender,
does what any serious presidential candidate would do: He travels to
New York to kiss the ring of Donald Trump and seek his blessings.
Are you kidding me? Donald Trump, a political kingmaker? The snarling
billionaire with the bad comb over who stars in really awful reality
shows? Yeah, that’s the guy.
It would be funny except for the scary fact that he may somehow
influence the choice of the next leader of the free world, should
that person be a Republican.
Newt’s not the first candidate to make the pilgrimage to Trump Tower.
Michele Bachmann made an appearance, so did Mitt Romney (although he
refused to be photographed). Herman Cain dropped by as did Rick
Perry. Remember them?
But the wily Donald is withholding his endorsement for the time
being. In fact, he says if he doesn’t see a winner in this bunch he
will run for the presidency himself as an independent.
This is so much hot air, of course. It’s important to remember that
when Trump starts making noises about being president, he usually has
a TV program debuting or a new book out. In this case, his tome,
“Time to Get Tough,” is hitting the stores. Self-promotion is his thing.
Ultimately, this is all about money. Trump has it, the others want
it. Besides, Trump is going to orchestrate a candidate debate at the
end of the month. It would be wise to stay on the good side of a guy
who enjoys yelling, “You’re fired!”
Newt, in the meantime, is having a bad endorsement week. Trump came
down with lockjaw. Cain who has literally and figuratively kissed his
chances goodbye, was going to throw his support to Gingrich but
pulled back at the last moment. Gingrich has had to settle for the
support of Dan Quayle, the former vice president best known as the
man who couldn’t speak straight.
All of this raises some disturbing questions:
Why would Newt want the backing of Cain, an alleged serial womanizer?
Gingrich doesn’t need voters to remember that, in an act of unbridled
hypocrisy, he once carried on an admitted extra-marital affair with a
young staffer while decrying Bill Clinton’s moral shortcomings.
Why would Newt allow Bob Livingston, who resigned as Speaker of the
House when his marital infidelities were exposed, to throw a
fund-raiser for him in Washington, D.C. this week?
What kind of message is the Gingrich-Cain-Livingston team sending to
the country? How about “lock up your wives and daughters.”
Why would Newt want the backing of Trump? As a candidate in the
spring, the Donald experienced one of the quickest falls in recent
political history when he dropped from leading the Republican field
with 26% to 8% in the space of four weeks.
If that’s not enough, a new poll from NBC and Marist College shows
more voters in Iowa and New Hampshire would be turned off by a Trump
endorsement than positively influenced by one.
A story in the Washington Post explains a lot. “Gingrich is
struggling to get out from under a mountain of debt from luxury jets
and other pricey expenses racked up in the early weeks of his
campaign. Creditors say Gingrich has begun paying back nearly $1.2
million in bills he owed at the end of September, and his spokesman
says most will be taken care of by the end of the year...”
In the meantime, Romney has raised $32.6 million while Gingrich has
accumulated $4 milllion. Donald can you spare a dime?
And what about this debate that Trump is staging in Iowa? So far,
four candidates, Romney, Ron Paul, Perry and Jon Huntsman, have sent
their regrets, probably figuring that this particular forum will end
up being A Salute to Donald Trump’s Ego.
So far the participants consist of Newt and Rick Santorum.
Even Republican strategist Karl Rove is appalled. “We've got a guy
who is not only saying 'I'm going to make a decision about who I'm
gonna endorse shortly after this debate and I'm already leaning
someway -- and I may run myself,' and we expect him to be the
impartial moderator of the debate?" he said on Fox News.
All of this has a good chance of being the biggest bust since Geraldo
Rivera opened Al Capone’s vault.
The RNC had better bring order to this chaos if they want their
candidate to have a fighting chance.