I don’t know why nobody ever thought of this before, but I would like to propose creating a monthly GOP Suicide Prize. To qualify for the prize – a large, handsome, gold-plated trophy with a rendering of Mark Anthony etched on the front — an official of the Republican party must demonstrate, through words and action (or in some cases inaction) that he has no concern about the future of the party, and that in fact he may be inclined to encourage its demise. I will take upon myself the burden of choosing each month’s prize winner, but that could change if my idea attracts enough likeminded individuals to form a committee and share in the decisions.
You may well point out, correctly, that the GOP leaders of Congress, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, by their consistent disregard for the wishes of the Republican rank and file, and by slavishly adopting bend-over postures in their dealings with President Obama, might win the prize, singly or jointly, almost every month. To avoid this warping of the prize process, I would suggest up front that each of these gentlemen be given a GOP Suicide Lifetime Achievement Award, and be excluded from the monthly judging.
If the prize had existed three years ago, I would have awarded it to Mitt Romney, for his steadfast failure to cast his election opponent, Mr. Obama, in an unfavorable light. If it had existed four years earlier, John McCain would have received the award, for exactly the same reason.
While I have limited the potential recipients of the award to people with an official position in the Republican party, perhaps it would make sense to adopt an auxiliary prize for non-officials who claim to have Republican leanings, such as Charles Krauthammer and George Will. Their relentless effort to undermine a man who seems more and more likely to become the party presidential nominee in 2016 deserves recognition of some sort. Perhaps the auxiliary prize could be called the Hillary Clinton Mount St. Helens Award, in graphic recognition of the possible impact of such actions on the U.S. political system.
So why I am proposing this now, when it might have been equally appropriate long ago? I was inspired by a statement the other day by Ken Cuccinelli, former attorney general of North Carolina, who has been lobbying the party central committee to adopt a motion aimed at shooting down Donald Trump. Cuccinelli wants to deny placement on his state’s GOP primary ballot to any candidate who fails to promise to support anyone who ultimately wins the GOP presidential nomination. Mr. Trump, as we all know, stated during the first GOP presidential debate this month that he would not make such a promise.
Trump has repeatedly said that if the Republican party does not treat him “fairly,” he may launch a third-party presidential campaign. I can’t think of any action more likely to make him do so than Mr. Cuccinelli’s proposal. At the very least, it might lead to the GOP’s loss of North Carolina’s electoral votes, which it was fortunate enough to win in 2012.
Mr. Cuccinelli humbly acknowledges that he borrowed this brilliant idea from neighboring Virginia, specifically from that state’s GOP chairman, John Whitbeck. Mr. Whitbeck reports that a decision on his proposal could be reached by October 1.
I have regretfully decided to award this month’s GOP Suicide Award to Mr. Cuccinelli, rather than Mr. Whitbeck, only because the Republicans did not win Virginia’s electoral votes in 2012, so the implosion of the Republican party there would be marginally less disastrous.