[UPDATED: At conclusion of the article.]
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Mike Schroeder, his decades old travel companion and buddy, adamantly disagree on which 2012 Republican candidate would make the best U.S. president.
Rohrabacher despises Newt Gingrich and is backing Mitt Romney.
Schroeder despises Romney*** and is backing Gingrich.
Is there a counselor available for an emergency therapy session?
The tension is likely to grow. Schroeder--the dark, under lord of OC Republican politics, a Santa Ana chiropractic insurance king, a former chairman of the California Republican Party and a red wine connoisseur known as an expert in all things USC and LA Lakers--is doing more than just endorse Gingrich. He will serve as the former House Speaker's California political director.
Here's a fun tidbit: There is probably no other link between the stuffy, obnoxious Gingrich and Lady Gaga except for . . . drum roll, please . . . Schroeder, who was one of the liberal singer's biggest fans at her March 2011 Anaheim concert.
But Schroeder--who I nicknamed "Vader" a decade ago in honor of his ruthless practice of dark political arts--didn't take the direct route to landing in Gingrich's camp. In the 2008 presidential campaign, he was an outspoken cheerleader for Romney, who was then guaranteeing everyone that he'd permanently abandoned all previous moderate or liberal stances. In 2010, Romney gave California conservatives the finger by endorsing moderateMeg Whitman
over Schroeder allySteve Poizner
in the GOP primary race for governor. Schroeder's patience with Romney immediately ended. In the early days of the current presidential race, he backed Texas Gov.Rick Perry
Late yesterday, Jon Fleischman at the FlashReport broke the Schroeder news and got this quote from his longtime friend: "I have known Newt Gingrich for many years and he is the person that this country needs in the White House to get things back on track. Newt has already proven that he can be an articulate conservative leader, and frankly if we are going to win this election, we need to put our best candidate forward and that is Newt Gingrich."
According to Fleischman, until the Schroeder move, Gingrich's California campaign had been almost non-existent.
Despite any Rohrabacher pouting, the Gingrich-Schroeder coupling is a natural fit at least in one way: both believe in launching aggressive attacks on annoying reporters. In recent debates, Gingrich blasted CNN's John King and Juan Williams at Fox News. Schroeder has had a long, bitter feud with the Los Angeles Times. (Go HERE to read my coverage of that fight.)
I asked Schroeder to explain how he can simultaneously back Gingrich and Gaga, but he hasn't yet responded.
Perhaps the answer is found in Lady Gaga's lyrics:
"Rah, rah, ah, ah, ah
Roma, roma, ma
Gaga, ooh, la, la . . ."
UPDATE: Schroeder said in a telephone interview that he hopes to have Gingrich in California for "three or four days" in mid-February for various political events. He said he will not be compensated for his role in the campaign and hopes to have an initial staff of "one or two [people] plus volunteers."
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*He also explained the improbable Lady Gaga and Gingrich connection: "I just couldn't help myself. Hey, if I couldn't listen to musicians whose politics I don't like, then I wouldn't be able to listen to anything!"
***I should note that Schroeder told me that he doesn't "despise" Romney as a person. Indeed, he says he likes the man, but "just doesn't know where he really stands on issues" and so concluded that "Newt would be the best choice to be our next president."
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
(**The original story was published at 8:29 a.m. on Jan. 26, 2012.)