Thursday, December 8, 2011

How do we dislike thee, Newt?

It's not surprising that Newt Gingrich's sudden ascendancy would be followed by a thorough examination of his flaws, real and perceived. What's surprising is that most of the criticism is coming from his own party.

This week, as Gingrich has begun to top Mitt Romney in national polls and key early primary states, conservatives have gone hard after the Georgian for transgressions past and present. Certainly, intra-party squabbling isn't unprecedented during primary season - Barack Obama still has scars left by Hillary Clinton supporters - but the range and depth of Republican distaste for Gingrich is startling.

What do they dislike about Newt this week? A lot of things.

It's his raging ego, says the Washington Post's right-wing blogger Jennifer Rubin, who says:

So one of Gingrich’s actual rivals will have to call out Gingrich, expose him as a charlatan and make the case that the GOP is heading for a trainwreck if Gingrich is the nominee. Is there someone able to do all that?
It's the serial infidelity, says Redstate's Eric Erickson, who says he has difficulty supporting a man who is on his third wife after cheating on the first two. Erickson says he'd have to support Gingrich over Obama, but it clearly would be a tortured choice. "At what point does winning so badly mean willing to risk one's principles or one's soul," he asks.

It's the grotesque opportunism, says conservative George Will, who is no fan of Romney, either. Will recounts how on the eve of the 1994 election, Gingrich said South Carolina mother Susan Smith's drowning of her children "Vividly reminds" Americans "how sick society is getting, and how much we need to change things ... The only way you get change is to vote Republican."

It's that the Christian right probably shouldn't be associated with him, says the New York Times Russ Douthat. He explains:

To many younger Americans, religious conservatism as they know it often seems to stand for a kind of institutionalized hypocrisy ... that's incensed by the idea of gay wedlock but tolerant of straight divorce, forgiving of Republican sins but judgmental about Democratic indiscretions, and eager to apply moral litmus tests only on issues that benefit the political right.

Rallying around Newt Gingrich, effectively making him the face of Christian conservatism in this Republican primary season, would ratify all these impressions.
It's the mind-blowingly bad idea, writes the Washington Post's Kathleen Parker (who's more conservative-lite). The idea, of course, is Gingrich's suggestion that kids from poor neighborhoods should work janitorial jobs at schools to learn a work ethic. Says Parker:
The former speaker's fumble is precisely what some Republicans have feared and others have breathlessly anticipated. The Washington Wager was whether Gingrich could make it four weeks without self-immolating before Iowa. Or would he find himself so irresistible that he just had to express himself?
It's that he's a poor leader, says Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who served under then House speaker Gingrich in 1994 and told FOX News: “There’s all types of leaders. Leaders that instill confidence, leaders that are somewhat abrupt and brisk. Leaders that have one standard for the people that they’re leading and a different standard for themselves. I just found his leadership lacking.”

And that's just a sampling. From one week. The easy explanation here is that the anti-Newt conservatives are pro-Mitt conservatives working for their guy. But Erickson, Will and others have been hard on Romney, too.

The other easy explanation is electability - Republicans see Newt's weaknesses as fatal in a general election, which would hand the White House back to Obama.

But there's one more explanation, offered up by Salon's Gene Lyons, who says that Gingrich's love of crude smears and absolutism about complex issues reflects the kind of tea party conservatism sweeping the GOP, and it's signaling the end of Republican intellectualism.

What you're seeing this week are Republican thinkers fighting back. At risk is not just an election, but perhaps the future of the party.

Peter St. Onge


Skippy said...

Newt is the least of your problems - by Rick Moran:

A study released by the centrist group, The Third Way, reveals that more than 800,000 Democrats have left the party in 8 battleground states since 2008.

ABC News:

"The numbers show that Democrats' path to victory just got harder," said Lanae Erickson, the report's co-author. "We are seeing both an increase in independents and a decrease in Democrats and that means the coalition they have to assemble is going to rely even more on independents in 2012 than it did in 2008."

Amid frustrating partisan gridlock and unprecedentedly low party-approval ratings, the number of voters registering under a major party is falling fast, but it is also falling disproportionately.

In eight states that will be must-wins in 2012 - Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina and Pennsylvania - Democrats lost 5.4 percent of their registered voters while Republicans lost 3.1 percent. The number of independent voters in those states jumped 3.4 percent.

ncdave77 said...

Nice deflection, Skippy. Any comments on the actual commentary?

larrydpowell said...

Skippy, so Newt is a shoe in?
I like that, and the tea party is least liked by everyone...

So it looks like Trump has away in as an independent?

I guess we will have to wait for the real polls on election day... but thanks for keep us informed!

One Discerner said...

If "the path to victory for Democrats got harder", then the path for Republicans has become impossible. Even if some Democrat voters became Independent, that doesn't translate as more votes for Republicans. If that was true, then they would have switched their party affiliation to Republican. They did not.

But one thing is evident. With split party rule, it's hard to get anything accomplished because the party out of control only looks to recover in the next election cycle. Since Mr. Obama became President, the GOP has stood in the way of progress selfishly awaiting the next election.

We will have gridlock until voters place the U.S.Congress on the President's team. But that won't happen as long as we continue to separate ourselves as Red or Blue States, Conservative (which incidentally doesn't translate as Christian)or Liberal. etc. etc. etc. My proud classification is United Stater.

Twodogz said...

If you are going to quote the New York Post and Washington Post you're going to get bad reviews for any conservative Republican candidate.
As far as Newt's past indiscretions and marital strife, I would prefer a man who is unfortunately the same as the majority of men in the United States who may have cheated on his wife. I have a bigger problem with the current President and his staff who have a proven record of sticking it to every man, woman, and child in America.
The next election needs to be about the policies of the current administration and whether we agree or disagree with the way they are steering the country during their tenure.

larrydpowell said...

Many Republicans and Tea Party members dislikes Newt as the rest of the public...

Another failed politician trying to get in through the back door because his party is in a state of mindless, clueless people who are running for office.

Republicans gave us the Tea Party what more should be said?

larrydpowell said...

Skippy you do understand the Rick Moran was making a joke?

The problem is the Republican Party has become the joke!

Newt jumped on the joke by kissing Trumps ring.


Other than being an unmitigated, unabashed white supremacist, Newt's an okay fella....

Adolf said...

Newt reflects the desperation of the GOP. The choice people will make in 2012 will be Romney or Obama - two moderates.

The GOP just cannot get behind a moderate. That's too bad, because this is a nation who are majority moderate.

Until the GOP changes to the center, they will not and cannot win the Presidency.

Wiley Coyote said...

How do we dislike thee, Barack?

larrydpowell said...

Wiley Coyote
How do we dislike thee, Barack?

Get us out of useless War!
Stop trying to win the crazies support!
End the bush tax cuts!
Support the 99%
Break away from oligarchy control.
Put the bankers an others in jail that caused the 2008 meltdown!

Need some more Coyote?

jdshaw said...

Please, please nominate Newt. Guaranteed second term for Obama.

Garth Vader said...

** the range and depth of Republican distaste for
** Gingrich is startling.

Bu-bu-but... Newtie's the "frontrunner". The Observer and other liberal media told me and they'd never lie!

PS: So much for Cain people flocking to Gingrich - a New Hampshire state representative who previously backed Cain is now endorsing Ron Paul:

larrydpowell said...

Garth Vader
You should look at state polling? I don't think CO can change their numbers that eazy?

But who knows they could have a far reaching hand in the polls?

Michael said...

Let's see, the Democratic elites want Obama and hate Gingrich and the Republican elites want Romney and hate Gingrich. Best reason I can think of to vote for Gingrich. :)