The casualties have been light so far, although the field of candidates for the republican presidential nomination has thinned some. We are, however, on the eve of battles which will slash their numbers like a giant scythe. That's right, in a little over three weeks actual people will begin to decide the outcome of these wildly dark proceedings rather than various polls which appear to be driven primarily by the media's coverage of some candidates and the lack of it for others.
Tonight on a South Carolina stage there will be seven hopefuls front and center during the sixth and final GOP debate before the people of Iowa and New Hampshire start the ball careening across the national map. Don Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, and John Kasich will make their pitch to a national audience on Fox Business in a few hours. For many of them it will be the last time the public considers them anything more than just an answer to a trivia question when the subject of the 2016 campaign comes up. Let's face it, even at this early date, how many of us recall that Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, and George Pataki were, at one time, part of this toxic mix?
Relegated to the sparse undercard are Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum. Rand Paul was invited, but he declined because it's his personal delusion that his campaign still has some relevancy. Instead he appeared on Comedy Central's, "The Daily Show." The good news for Senator Paul is he got access to an entirely different demographic than the one he has been appearing in front of previously. The bad news, besides his campaign being completely in the tank, is there won't be a whole lot of, "Daily Show," viewers voting in either Iowa, or New Hampshire a few weeks from now.
Meanwhile, Mr. Trump, who is ahead in this melee and Ted Cruz, who keeps sticking his head above water now and then, have run into a couple of bumps in the road.
First is a recent report by the New York Times which says Cruz and his wife Heidi took out loans from Goldman Sachs and Citibank four years ago in order to give his senate campaign a final and decisive push. The loans, amounting to around one million dollars, were perfectly legal so long as their political purpose was reported to the Federal Election Committee. The trouble is they weren't reported to anyone, the FEC included.
Then as now, Cruz was running as a tea party populist, one who was against the federal bail out of corporate malfeasance on Wall St. At the same time his wife was a managing director at--you guessed it--Goldman Sachs. Given his rhetoric and yet their ability to secure a low interest loan from her company--one of those gluttonous Wall St. firms--to help finance his run, things were going to seem a tad hypocritical even to those dim bulbs buying into his bullshit. Indeed, sometimes it is best to keep things under the table, so to speak, for the greater good.
Facing a potentially damning report, the Cruz people are predictably claiming it was all a merry mix up and say they will be filing the correct paperwork soon. In addition Citibank has been paid off and the balance of the Goldman Sachs loan has been whittled down to less than, $100,000.
On another front, a pro Bush lawyer is claiming the Trump people have been violating campaign laws for months and it looks like he has a valid case.
It would seem that various super pacs who have run negative ads against El Donald have been receiving letters which threaten massive law suits unless the organizations cease and desist. The letters aren't coming from the Trump campaign's lawyers though. They are being sent by one, Alan Garten. He is chief legal counsel for the Trump business empire. It is a corporate entity, which according to law, must be completely separate from the Trump campaign for president.
Garten's somewhat cracked theory is, political attack ads harm Donald Trump's businesses and his, "brand." In other words, you can't say anything bad about Trump the candidate and his crazed policy proposals, because it damages his business interests.
Charles Spies, who represents the pro Bush super pac, Right to Rise claims Garten's letters and position outside the campaign clearly violates election laws which prohibit corporations from providing money, or in kind services directly to federal candidates.
The Don's reality, as always, is whatever benefits him the most. A statement was issued which reads, "Going forward the company will continue to zealously protect Mr. Trump's brand and business interests wherever and whenever necessary. This is in no way any form of campaign activity and does not run afoul of federal election laws."
Oh sure, that's perfectly believable.
Legal, or not, as Right to Rise points out, all this raises an important question. If Trump is elected president will his corporation threaten to sue various heads of state, such as Vladimir Putin, when they are critical of him because it's bad for his business? And, taking it one step further, how exactly will such bizarre litigation enhance the perception of the United States in the world community and make America, "great again?"
My God, how do we manage to find these clods who bring us to insanity such as this?
sic vita est