As the political world waits with bated breath for word of Herman Cain’s decision (scheduled for 11 a.m. tentatively rescheduled to 1:30), a couple of interesting tidbits about the GOP debate schedule:
– The GOP race has, at times, seemed more like a reality show than a political process, a fact that probably worries the wiser heads in the party because it diminishes the candidates as well as the party in the eyes of the public. Given all that, bringing in reality star Donald Trump to moderate a debate sounds like a disastrous decision. Will it bring more eyeballs to the TV to watch? Probably. But they’ll be drawn by the circus potential, and Trump being Trump, that potential will probably be realized.
Who’s next? Snooki? I hear she votes Republican.
– Recognizing that the race has come down to two competitors, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, Human Events and Red State went to the two campaigns to propose a two-man debate between them later this month. Gingrich quickly accepted; Romney turned them down. RealClearPolitics reports:
“As Joe Guerriero, publisher of Human Events and Red State, put it to RCP: “Newt was all over it, and the Romney camp basically said no. It wasn’t a harsh no, but it was a no.”
A Gingrich spokesman confirmed to RCP that the candidate was interested and accepted the invitation, but a Romney spokeswoman didn’t return a request for comment.”
In strategic terms, I understand why Romney’s people turned down the invitation. But the optics aren’t good. It plays into Gingrich’s reputation as a superior debater ready to take on Barack Obama, and makes Romney look like he’s avoiding a confrontation, which plays into a less positive piece of his own reputation.
– Finally, Politico has a nice piece up about the internal, eternal war being waged between Good Newt and Bad Newt, focusing particularly on Bad Newt’s flair for pomposity (he beats even Trump in that regard, although I’ll concede it’s not by much). Some key moments include:
“The degree to which I challenge the establishment and the degree to which I’m willing to follow ideas and solutions to their natural consequence without regard to Republican or Democratic political correctness makes me probably the most experienced outsider in modern times,” he told Radio Iowa.
Even descriptions of his wife Callista fall prey to aggrandizement: “She actually describes herself as being a cross between Nancy Reagan and Laura Bush with just a slight bit of Jackie Kennedy tossed in and I think there is, somewhere swirling in there, the model Callista would like to live up to.”…
“I’m waiting for him to say, ‘Literally, I’m the smartest guy to ever run for president,’ ” said the (unaligned GOP) insider, adding that comparisons of Callista as Nancy Reagan fuel the notion that he thinks of himself as a new incarnation of The Gipper. “He’s now kind of like the crazy scientist that’s having his science proven correct….and you just don’t know what the hell’s gonna happen next.”…
Gingrich “only has two modes — attack and brag,” explained one veteran GOP strategist.
– Jay Bookman