As the late, great gospel singer Jake Hess used to croon, “We have this moment to hold in our hands and watch as it slips through our fingers like sand.”

Right now someone ought to be humming it in the ivory palaces of the GOP, where campaigning has given way to cannibalism, devouring its front-runner’s momentum while spitting out any shot at recapturing the White House.

And there’s Mitt Romney right in the thick of it, proving either that he didn’t learn a blessed thing when this same crowd ambushed him four years ago, or else he’s still so bitter that he cannot harness his resentment.

So now he eviscerates Donald Trump the same way Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and the rest of that GOP field went after him, ripping into his viability as a presidential candidate.

One can only imagine the enormous delight that must have been to Barack Obama, just as Hillary Clinton has to be reveling over the Republicans’ current internecine battle. The more they focus on each other, the less attention they’re going to pay to all of the flaws that might make her unfit to be our commander in chief.

Instead, Romney, once hunted, has become the hunter. It’s pathetic.

If you don’t like Trump, fine. Don’t vote for him. If it makes you feel better, just tell yourself you’re going to vote against Hillary. What’s the difference? The bottom line will remain the same. It’s not complicated.

Say what you will about Trump, but of the 17 presidential wannabes who sought the GOP nomination, he’s the last one standing, having defeated them all the old-fashioned way: He garnered the most votes.

Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to work?

What the GOP is doing now is as squalid as Santorum urging Michigan Democrats to muddy the waters of that state’s GOP primary by temporarily switching party affiliations, just to sabotage Romney. Remember?

And third-party efforts are a nuisance. Think Ross Perot. Think Ralph Nader.

No one knows better than Romney that there comes a moment when it’s imperative to close ranks and circle the wagons.

This is such a moment for Republicans, and it is slipping through their fingers.

Red Auerbach had a great understanding of communications. “It’s not what you tell people that matters,” the late Celtics patriarch said. “It’s what they hear.”

What those millions upon millions of GOP voters who put Trump where he is today are hearing from Romney is that their votes, their feelings and their wishes do not matter.

It’s almost enough to make a Republican root for Hillary.


(c)2016 the Boston Herald

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