The so-called Republican elites seem to be growing concerned that the GOP clown car of would be presidential candidates has no perceived front runner and by the fact that some of its occupants belong in an asylum and run the risk of pushing potentially viable candidates deep into crazy land as a competition has grown to see which candidates can most prostitute themselves with the GOP base which is seen a s radioactive by a majority of voters. Hence a meeting in Park City, Utah, where donors and other self-important players could review the candidate base. In addition, they sough a way to blunt what they fear will be a formidable campaign by Hillary Clinton. The Washington Post looks at the gathering. Here are excerpts:
Republicans have 10 declared candidates and counting, but they have no front-runner — not even the descendant of the closest thing the GOP has to a royal family. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has struggled ahead of his official campaign launch on Monday, and he skipped the Romney confab because he was in Europe.
The fluidity gave the hopefuls who came — from top-tier favorites (Rubio and Walker) to dark horses (Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie) to long shots (Graham and former Silicon Valley executive Carly Fiorina) — an opening to court the business-friendly, establishment financiers who powered Romney to the nomination in 2012. Many of the donors are either helping multiple candidates or holding out until a likely winner emerges.
Looming over the three-day retreat at the Stein Eriksen Lodge was Hillary Rodham Clinton, the dominant Democratic candidate, who will kick-start her presidential campaign with a rally Saturday in New York. In hotel hallways, on ski-slope hikes and in fire-pit huddles, leading Republicans pondered how to win — and acknowledged that Clinton cannot be underestimated.
“The candidates need to prove they can take her on,” said Tagg Romney, Mitt’s eldest son. “This thing is totally open. It’s so wide open. . . . It’s about seeing who emerges strongest.”
As they sat in rows with notepads and glasses of ice water, the GOP’s wealthy elite monitored how the speakers contrasted with Clinton. Kasich said Republicans must do more than “destroy” Clinton but also show heart and convince voters of the “kindness of conservatism.”
Graham was perhaps the most pointed, saying Clinton was eminently beatable — “She’s carrying more bags than any politician should” — but insisting that Republicans would have to soften their tone on immigration to break out of their “demographic death spiral.”
“Hispanics, I think, are a great potential for the Republican Party, but nobody is going to vote for a party that’s going to break their family apart and deport their mother,” Graham said. “I love Mitt. That was the big mistake.” Later, Romney thanked Graham for sharing his “wisdom.” His wife, Ann, told reporters: “He’s right. We’ve got to put a mirror up and see what’s going on.”
Organizers strived to maintain an aura of exclusivity. Media access was tightly controlled, with journalists requiring escorts to roam the premises and photography prohibited. When fundraiser Wayne Berman waved over reporters who were stuck behind a rope line, he quipped, “We’re not in Cuba!” Still, the high-finance feel of the conclave was vintage Romney.
Even if some see the need for the GOP to change - and I will give the Palmetto Queen credit for that - the party is faced with a base that worships ignorance, racism and insane religious extremism, and bigotry towards anyone who isn't a white conservative Christian. And that is not something that will easily change given the way the Christofascists were allowed to hijack the base like a fast moving cancer.