There's all kinds of action in the South Carolina GOP primary today. It began with ol' Rick "Oops" Perry dropping out of the race. Then, Paul Begala of the Daily Beast did some cipherin' and figured out that Perry and his supporting PACs and SuperPACs spent around $21 million on his candidacy. Begala figured that comes out to around $1,400 a vote for Perry's combined totals in Iowa and New Hampshire. Nice! That level of advertising purchases is the kind of job creation those of us in the media biz can appreciate.
In his withdrawal speech, Perry endorsed Newt Gingrich, who will now presumably pick up all those Palmetto State Perry voters. And Newt is reportedly "surging," according to numerous polls. But, Newt is facing his own potential "Oops" moment. It seems ABC will broadcast an interview tonight with Marianne Gingrich, Newtie's wife Number Two, in which she will say that Newt a) asked her for a divorce over the phone, and b) when she said no, he c) asked her for an open marriage in which she would "share" Newt with Calista, his then-mistress, now-wife. Also, Marianne will reportedly say that Gingrich went out the next day and gave a "family values" speech to a conservative audience. Ooops.
Oh, but there's more going on in GOP-land. Business Insider is reporting today that not only does Mitt Romney probably pay a lower tax rate on his seven-figure income than the average plumber, he also has stashed assets of up to $8 million offshore in the Cayman Islands to lower his taxes even further. Ooooops.
But since Rick Santorum is feeling heat for some insider real estate deals and hasn't gained any traction in South Carolina, and Ron Paul is facing blowback from newly released racist-tinged newsletters and seems to have peaked, and Cain, Midge, Huntsman, and Perry are gone, the GOP race appears to be down to Newt and Mitt. It's an awesome display of how our splendid primary nomination system so often produces political survival of the unfittest. Ironically, since many of these candidates don't believe in it, it's like a present-day refutation of evolution. In this "intelligent design" version of politics, the flightless dodo bird survives. And runs for the nation's highest office.
(In related news, a report released earlier today noted that many of the reelection campaign staff for President Obama were staying home from work, nursing sore palms from excessive high-fiving.)