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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

GOP Insiders Panic Over Gingrich

Please excuse the above ante-meridian idiocy. I normally don't have a lot of use for talking heads and the worst are morning talking heads. Apparently, when you first get up, you're five years old. While MSNBC's Morning Joe never quite plums the depths that Fox and Friends reaches, it's clearly not for a lack of trying. Joe Scarborough and his merry band don't seem to have it in them to pretend to be quite so stupid as Fox's AM freak show, but that doesn't stop them from giving it the old college try.

The clip is brought to our attention by Taylor Marsh, who has this to say about it:

The Republican establishment has seen what their base is about to do and they’re in a panic and rightly so. The tipping point coming when Donald Trump reentered the fray with his Apprentice Debate, the optics and audio of which boiled down the Republican farce we’ve been watching all year.

This segment is delicious... really, watch it. At one point at then end of the opening segment of “Morning Joe,” Scarborough even served up that Republicans are talking about how to “broker a convention.” The Hill has a further report along the same lines, though it’s not just the “kingmakers” in a meltdown over the very real possibility of Newt Gingrich winning the nomination. It’s everybody in the entire conservative echelon.

If you can't bring yourself to watch the video, I can hardly blame you. Suffice it to say that Scarborough -- who served with Newt and knows him personally -- sees the possibility of a Gingrich nomination as a looming disaster. It's a meteor on a collision course with the GOP and would cause the party to lose bigger than Goldwater did in '64.


Scarborough believes that Republican voters don't remember Newt Gingrich or, if they do, remember him incorrectly. He's probably right. Gingrich is a profoundly unlikeable man with a tremendous ego, so convinced of his own brilliance that he doesn't really edit his thoughts before the come out of his mouth -- if an idea pops into his head, it's like he has to articulate it. As a result, he winds up saying some seriously crazy things.

Worse, Newt legitimately seems to hate the poor, downtrodden, and underprivileged and enjoys kicking people while they're down. This is already evident in his present rhetoric and, if Obama turns the debate to income inequality and the 99% -- as he's almost certain to do -- Gingrich will become positively cartoonish. I can say this without being hyperbolic; Newt Gingrich is a nasty, nasty man.

And as a nasty man, Newt left very few friends behind when he resigned as Speaker of the House. The aforementioned Hill piece makes that clear. Rep. Peter King remembers a man who was "condescending... dismissive," with a "superiority complex." Columnist George Will says Gingrich "embodies the vanity and rapacity that make modern Washington repulsive." Sen. Richard Burr recalls "a guy of 1,000 ideas, and the attention span of a 1-year-old," whose "discipline and his attention to any individual thing is not his strong suit."

And, as much as Tea Party voters seem to like him now, Libertarians say they won't like him later.

Talking Points Memo:

“Newt is the establishment. He’s antithetical to what the Tea Party is talking about,” explains [Christopher Barron, a Republican strategist with libertarian leanings and head of GOProud, which represents gay conservatives]. “This is about building on the Tea Party’s success. It would take a lot of selective amnesia” to think Newt could represent the Tea Party’s agenda.


“There’s a belief that the field represents a pre-Tea Party Republicanism,” said Michael D. Tanner, a senior research fellow at the Libertarian Cato Institute. It’s a crop of left-overs, he explains. Libertarians wanted Paul Ryan or Chris Christie. Instead, they got “pre-Tea Party folks.” Tanner wrote an op-ed last week in National Review Online on both Romney and Gingrich’s brand of Bush-era, big government conservatism. “Gingrich has been held in low-esteem by libertarians for a long time.”


This week, Cato vice president Gene Healy penned a piece in the Washington Examiner urging conservatives not to settle on Newt. “Newt’s hardly the ‘anti-Romney,’” Healy cautions, “he’s Mitt Romney with more baggage.”

Long story short, Newt represents the latest in bad ideas the Republican base has had lately. And Democrats should do very little to discourage them from making that choice. If President Obama put out an official campaign statement saying the president was terrified of a Gingrich candidacy, that'd be great. And Democrats should go on talking head shows to beg the 'baggers not to throw them in the briar patch by nominating Newt.


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