Carville: GOP adults want 'children' to behave themselves

The four Republican candidates took part  Wednesday in a CNN debate moderated by John King.

Story highlights

  • James Carville says the "adults" in GOP are unhappy with the four remaining candidates
  • He says they fear that none of them are capable of defeating President Obama
  • Carville: If Santorum wins nomination, GOP House, Senate candidates will run for cover
  • Carville: The Republicans' only realistic choice is to unite behind Mitt Romney
Memo to the "adults" of the Republican Party:
If you notice that I have changed my current missive to address adults (as opposed to addressing the establishment as I've done in the previous two), this was done to acknowledge Indiana GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb.
Holcomb said recently, "Republicans are fretting the four dancing now can't beat Obama in the fall — so their national talent search continues," adding that the pleas had come from "the adults" in the party.
The truth of the matter is I like the phrase "the adults" much more than "the establishment" because it gives much more insight into the current state of the GOP. Chairman Holcomb clearly meant to differentiate the adults from the many children in the Republican Party.
James Carville
This caused me to get very nostalgic in thinking back to Thanksgiving dinners at my grandparents' house in the 1950s. In rural South Louisiana, the adults sat in the big dining room with real chairs, silverware, china, crystal and wine. Whereas the children were relegated to sitting on the front porch with folding chairs, card tables, paper plates and Dixie cups. We had our choice between orange pop and Barq's (that's root beer.)
What really used to tick me off -- in fact it was the most scarring event of my childhood -- my Aunt Lilly used to bring Leidenheimer New Orleans french bread for the adults and we kids were forced to eat cruddy Baton Rouge sliced white bread. We were a rowdy bunch but deep down inside we always wondered what it would be like to sit with the adults at the big table.
Herein lies your problem. You've got Karl Rove, Chris Christie, Mitt Romney, George Will, Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush, and all the rest of 'em in the dining room. Out on the front porch is Sarah Palin, Newt, the Ricks (Santorum and Perry), Michele Bachmann, and Donald Trump.
The adults have been trying to wire this thing up for some time and the children just won't behave on the front porch. You've got Santorum sneaking upstairs checking the medicine cabinet to see who is taking birth control pills.
Let's not forget, just as Thanksgiving dinner was over we all had to get together under the oak tree in the front yard for the family photograph. And this was the '50s, we just did as we were told. But when you guys organize the family photo shoot in Tampa this coming August you are gonna have a hell of a time getting all of the children to line up for the picture.
Sarah is not too happy about the way that you look at her. In fact, she has expressed a willingness to help out in Tampa by indicating her willingness to serve as your party's nominee. And if it is possible for George Will to get any whiter than he is, he will certainly turn to some shade of John McCain.
Then you've got the problem of Newt out at the children's table. He doesn't play well with others. And it is gonna be hard to get him in line for the family photo. Newt is the kind of guy who can't seem to get the proper amount of attention and he's not the "go along to get along" type.
I see from the news that Mitt has sent his super PAC goons to snatch up little Ricky Santorum and take him behind the woodshed for a little "chat." That ought to keep him subdued through Michigan. But that child has built up a lot of resentment over the years and has proven to be quite pesky. My guess is that you could have more trouble ahead with Santorum. He is what my aunt would refer to as a "difficult" child.
Now the kids on the front porch have gotten restless and they are demanding entry into the big dining room. For the longest time you've been able to keep these pesky brats at bay. Every now and then one of them serves as some kind of an irritant -- Pat Buchanan being a notable example. You let him sit at the big table at the convention in Houston in 1992 and he used the wrong fork to say the least.
It strikes me that a lot of these people will want to sit at the big table in Tampa. And like Pat Buchanan (he's still giving you guys fits) they are gonna have bad table manners. Rick Santorum will want to give a speech on the evils of contraception. Newt is going to talk about the Apocalypse. And how are you going to be able to shut up people like Trump, Bachmann, Perry and the rest of them? It's enough to make me feel sorry for you boys.
In the end, you have to get this thing to work out. And Mitt is your only hope because Santorum is going to be part of a seven-state strategy. He can carry Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. That's about it. You know as well as I do that if Santorum is your nominee, you won't have two Senate candidates come to Tampa.
You will have House candidates running away from the national ticket as fast as the devil runs from holy water. The whole thing will break down on you. In other words, you got a mell of a hess going on.
And a well-mannered adult table conversation would never lead to making another guest uncomfortable. It seems that Jeb Bush couldn't help but chastise fellow adult Mitt for his stance on immigration. Y'all are really having some problems. You adults better watch Newt because he could bust in at any time and demand papers for the help.
You're having what I refer to as a Ray Charles/Lester Maddox moment (by that I mean your problem is obvious.) Other than both being from Georgia, what could Lester Maddox and Ray Charles have in common? I'm sure that you recall they once asked the great Mr. Charles what was the worst thing about being blind, he instantly replied, "well you can't see." Lester Maddox once observed the problem with conditions in the Georgia prisons was the quality of the inmates.
Obviously, the problem you adults are having is the quality of the Republicans voting in these primaries and caucuses. They are making y'all as batty as they are.
Follow us on Twitter: @CNNOpinion