As far as I know, nobody in the right wing of the Republican Party has come up with this theory about what happened last night at the GOP presidential debate in Washington:
Newt Gingrich has made a secret deal with Mitt Romney to help Mittens capture the Republican presidential nomination. The payback will be an appointment to some Cabinet position in the Romney administration.
I should admit upfront that my theory is pretty far-fetched. But, hey, it’s not easy pretending to be a wingnut conspiratorialist. Just follow along here, and I think you’ll admire my creativity. If I’m lucky, the right-wing blogosphere will pick up on this and run with it.
Here’s the deal:
The single biggest factor in the collapse of Rick Perry’s candidacy – more than his awkward performances in debates — has been his policy in Texas of providing free school tuition to the young offspring of illegal immigrants. Any concession whatever to the illegals is not going to cut it with the GOP base.
Romney understands this fact of life, which is why he takes a much harder line than Perry on the immigration issue. But, of course, the Mittster is still widely distrusted among hard-core conservatives because of the moderate and liberal positions he’s taken on various issues in the past.
This distrust of Romney has spawned the rise and fall of one alternative choice after another — Michele Bachmann, Perry and Herman Cain. Each of them has soared to the top of the pack and then fallen back for one reason or another.
And now Gingrich has emerged as the latest not-Romney darling. But most political observers with any brains recognize that the former House Speaker would have a terrible time trying to unseat President Obama next fall. He simply carries too much baggage. Gingrich himself is probably smart enough to realize that. He’s probably in the race just to sell books and to somehow influence the political conversation.
All of this brings us to last night’s debate, where Gingrich BOLDLY CONTENDED that illegal immigrants who have been here for many years should not be deported. This isn’t exactly a new position for the Newtster, but it represents a daring doubling-down on a previous stance that he might have tried to soft-pedal in the interest of avoiding trouble with immigration hardliners.
No sooner had Gingrich thrown down the gauntlet on this issue than Romney denounced it, thereby casting himself as tougher guy on illegal immigration.
So, the stage is now set for the fourth — and perhaps last — not-Romney alternative to take a fall from the top of the GOP pack. The stage is set for much of the anti-Romney crowd to resign themselves to the inevitability of Mitt winning the nomination. And if that happens, much of the credit will have to go to Gingrich for falling on his sword, so to speak.
Crazy theory? Sure it is. But it just might gain traction among the wingnuts who don’t realize that it was authored by a left-winger such as I.