To use a Titanic reference (that’s trendy right now), Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul seem to be fighting over control of the rudder, making sure they steer the thing into an iceberg no matter what Captain Mitt Romney may want.
Or perhaps they are more like the JetBlue captain who goes berserk and seems determined to bring the party’s plane down.
You could add Rick Santorum to that list. Even though he suspended his campaign this week, he didn’t endorse Romney. He didn’t even mention him during his little speech.
Barack Obama must be loving this.
A CNN poll at the end of March found 61 percent of Republicans wanted Ron Paul to leave the race and 60 percent wanted New Gingrich gone. Only 39 percent felt that way about Santorum, but now that he’s gone it would be interesting to see how feelings have changed. (Read the poll here.)
So why don’t Gingrich and Paul leave? What happened to the idea that the party needs to close ranks and get behind the nominee in order to win in November?
This blog by Susan Milligan of U.S. News (also written before Santorum dropped out), says, “The answer is partly a function of basic delusion. When one has amassed the emotional energy and ego required to run for president, it’s understandable that the candidates might imagine they could still get the nod.”
She also says Super PACs could be playing a roll because the candidates may not feel as pressed for money as they would have before. But that doesn’t wash. A Gingrich check to get on the ballot in Utah’s primary bounced, which he explained as having to do with an account that had been closed. It sounded a lot like the sort of excuse renters give when they can’t afford to stay.
Gingrich sent out an email Wednesday to supporters. It said, “As the last remaining conservative in this race, we urgently need your financial support today. We have set an ambitious goal of 12,000 donations by midnight tonight. Will you donate $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford to help us reach this goal?”
I think the “basic delusion” explanation sounds the most plausible.