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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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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