Geraldo Rivera, You Shall Not Pass!

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Geraldo Rivera is not going to be the next United States senator from New Jersey. Geraldo Rivera was never going to be the next United States senator from New Jersey, really, but after a brief burst of speculation following the death of Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Rivera made it official with one of the more bizarre statements I’ve seen in a long time. (And I covered Newt Gingrich.)

Here’s how it starts:

There is a scene in The Lord of the Rings where my favorite character, the aging, battle-weary Théoden, King of Rohan is confronted with a profound dilemma. Determined to honor his ancient oath and ride to the rescue of his ally the besieged nation of Gondor, he is told that his forces are insufficient to defeat the enemy, evil Mordor.

“No. We can not. But we will meet them in battle nonetheless,” Théoden answers grimly, doomed by honor and destiny to perish in what seems a lost cause. And he dies, but because of his sacrifice the good guys ultimately win

Improbably that scene came to mind just now as I wrestled with whether to seek the Republican nomination for the Senate seat from New Jersey left vacant by the death of 89-year old, five-term incumbent Frank Lautenberg.

And here’s how it ends:

Over the last 24 hours I reached out to former GOP candidates, consultants, colleagues and friends frantically testing everything from my ideological viability to prospective budgets.      

Ultimately, I concluded that whatever else it is, New Jersey politics is not a fantasy novel. For one thing, the energetic and engaging Mayor Booker is not the Dark Lord. And while I may be willing to die for the right cause, I’m not willing to bankrupt myself in a vain quest that is more Don Quixote than Lord of the Rings.

Previously in Republican politicos talking about Lord of the Rings: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) blasted tea partiers as “hobbits” and Sen. Rand Paul blasted McCain as a “troll.” Whither Tom Bombadil?

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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