Monday, January 23, 2012

Newt Gingrich - The GOP Pariah

If you think Democrats loathe Newt Gingrich, you are correct. If you think the GOP elders like him, you would be very, very wrong. David Frum, a thoughtful GOP pundit, has written a piece for CNN that is remarkable in it's criticism of Gingrich. I don't recall ever reading a piece from a mainstream conservative that eviscerated one of his own in such a manner. He insists that everyone who has worked with Newt for 40 years absolutely despises him, and that he is a terrible leader.

And that is the nicer stuff.

 '"Why liberals oppose a strong American presence in space."
That was the title of the very first speech by Newt Gingrich I ever attended, all the way back in the winter of 1983. The event was the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
The speech hit the two great themes that have characterized Gingrich's career to this day: enthusiasm for grandiose ideas -- wrapped in rancor, division and name-calling.

You see the Gingrich method at work again in his famous comment to a reporter about his view of the Obama presidency:
"What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together" his actions? That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior. This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president. I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating -- none of which was true. He was authentically dishonest."
Alien. Hostile. Dangerous.
But here's a problem with Gingrich-style politics. It does not long survive the encounter with real-world voter concerns.

For all the momentum supposedly unleashed by his win in the Republican South Carolina primary, Gingrich remains one of the very most disliked figures in national politics, as Josh Marshall reminds readers in this remarkable chart.
Nor is it only Democrats who disapprove. Over a political career of nearly 40 years, Gingrich has convinced almost everybody who has ever worked closely with him that he cannot and should not be trusted with executive power.
The reaction to Gingrich's poll surge in December was panic among senior Republicans, and the panic is only intensifying now. It's striking that almost none of Gingrich's former colleagues in the House has endorsed him for president. Striking that nobody associated with a past Republican presidential association has done so."
Read more:      Why the GOP Doesn't Trust Gingrich      David Frum