“Holy crap, it could happen!”Catch-All

There’s a remarkable thing going on right now in the Republican presidential primary: there is a concerted effort from all parts of the Republican party, from moderates to hardcore conservatives to stop Newt Gingrich from winning the Republican nomination.

I honestly can’t recall ever seeing anything like it before.

I’ve been leading the charge on Bearing Drift to fight against Newt’s revisionist tendencies and to bring to light how ridiculous much of what he has been saying is. I noted last week how his anti-establishment rhetoric was nonsense, and I’ve pointed out before the damage he did to Washington in his time there.

Over the last few days, the rest of the party seems to have finally woken up to the fact that Gingrich could potentially win the nomination (although I still believe it unlikely – I have faith that the voters can see through his finely spun nonsense) and that result would doom our chances to win the White House and Senate in November.

The list of folks who have come out attacking Newt’s version of history is significant. Drudge and others have been hammering Newt for his constant name dropping of Ronald Reagan when the evidence indicates that Newt was not a Reagan supporter in Congress. Elliot Abrams, a former Reagan assistant Secretary of State, attacks Newt’s claims that he worked with Reagan by pointing out multiple times where Newt viciously attacked the President on record, going so far as to calling Reagan’s Administration a “failure,” “pathetically incompetent” and even comparing Reagan to Neville Chamberlain for his historic summit with Mikhail Gorbachev.   Mark Shields, the veteran PBS political commentator, says much the same thing here. There’s even video of Newt saying George H.W. Bush couldn’t win in 1988 if he ran under a campaign of four more years of Reaganism – which he did and he won big.

That blows up Newt’s constant attempts to claim some kind of credit for the Reagan years.  It’s easy to take credit for someone else’s success, especially if you were present, but those claims ring hollow when you spent half your time tearing down what the successful guy was trying to do.

His own spin on his history in Congress is also being reviewed. Ann Coulter continues her attacks on Newt’s claims that he’s the most conservative in the race by pointing out a dozen contradictions between Newt’s current and past positions.  Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who worked with Newt as his Whip during the Newt’s Speakership, says Newt isn’t a conservative and he was both “erratic” and “undisciplined.”

It’s even come out that Newt lied in his response to John King’s “absurd” question about the ABC News article when he claimed that his campaign had offered multiple personal friends to appear on camera to rebut the claims Newt’s second wife Marianne made in the Nightline interview before South Carolina.  That wasn’t true – he had only offered his daughters from his first marriage.  Normally I would give Newt the benefit of the doubt and say he was simply mistaken, but given his track record when it comes to making things up, I can’t help but think he knew the truth and deliberately exaggerated to make his passionate deflection of King’s legitimate question sound better.

And the founder and editor in chief of the American Spectator hit Newt hard in a column Wednesday, labeling him “William Jefferson Gingrich” and saying that he suffers from being a “1960s generation narcissist[].”

Newt has single-handedly gained the ire of nearly the entire conservative media, from Rush Limbaugh to Ann Coulter, from the National Review to the American Spectator, and from folks who worked with him like Tom DeLay and many others. This is unprecedented. About the only other person out there who could bring out that kind of ire from those folks is Barack Obama.

That means something.  This isn’t just Brian the NOVA Moderate from Bearing Drift saying these things – the leaders of conservative thought, the folks that we listen to when we want intelligent commentary, they are all saying the same thing.  This goes beyond the “establishment” in Washington. It’s being said by folks all along the center right spectrum, including many of the outlets and people we go to first when we want ammunition to fight the Democrats.  Can they all be wrong?  Can they all be part of some massive conspiracy?  I don’t think so.  When so many people are saying the same thing, it’s time to start listening.

I sincerely hope that my friends who still don’t like Mitt Romney will at least recognize that Newt is not the right alternative to Mitt. While Rick Santorum is a flawed candidate, he is not as dangerous to the party and the country as Newt Gingrich is.

If Gingrich manages to pull off a win in Florida, he has a chance to win the nomination. And that would be disastrous for the Republican Party, for conservatism in general, and for the country.

  • http://masonconservative.typepad.com Chris

    The Abrams article is damning and convincing. Rush had it right, Newt is simply a vessel for conservative anger at the professional class telling us to support Romney, but he himself is a terrible candidate. Hopefully his real use in this process will to help Romney grow a spine, becuase its as much a reflection on Romney as anything else that Newt has skyrocketed. It shows how weak and soft Mitt is that conservative would look to Newt as their only other option. Romney needs to get his shit together, and it looks like he is in Florida because once agian Newt cannot run with a lead. He goes from inspiring to wanting to make the Moon a state. Crazy.

    I expect this coming debate tonight to see Romney go on the full offensive against Newt and start using some of these tidbits from Abrams and Coulter to go after him big time with conserviatves. He also had to pull an ad that attacked Marco Rubio somehow.

    But Brian you have to remember what is driving this . . . its not Newt, its Romney. So many people are frustrated that the energy and people that led the 2010 victories are being tossed aside or ignored because certain folks are telling us “Vote Romney,” its that angst that drove South Carolina to the polls for Newt, not Newt himself necessarily. Its up to ROMNEY to make the case about Newt and its up to ROMNEY to convince conservative that he has earned their support, not that he is being forced upon them.

  • http://bearingdrift.com Brian Kirwin

    “The main thing about money, Bud, is that it makes you do things you don’t want to do.”

  • Tim J

    If they keep eating each other, there will be nothing left for Obama.

  • Nathan Miller

    I am more and more convinced that Obama will be reelected. The infighting within the GOP is disgusting and I am not convinced the factions within the party will unite behind one candidate, no matter who he may be.

  • Old-geezer

    Newt Gingrich: the Mr Toad of American politics

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peterfoster/100132858/newt-gingrich-the-mr-toad-of-american-politics/

    Peter Foster seems to find all of this rather amusing.

  • MD Russ

    Newt Gingrich is a sad commentary on the state of the Republican Party.

    Mitt Romney is not a RINO, he is not a flip-flopper, and he is not an opportunist. He is *gasp* a moderate Republican, something that we used to call a Rockefeller Republican. Yes, he is fabulously wealthy, like Nelson Rockefeller was, but unlike Rockefeller he earned his wealth and didn’t inherit it. He believes in compromise to achieve the greater good, he believes in free market capitalism, and he believes that less government is better government.

    The ABR rejection of Mitt as the Republican standard-bearer reflects how far to the right the Republican Party has moved. The mere fact that a lying snake oil salesman like Newt Gingrich, a politician who was rejected by his own caucus in the House for reelection as Speaker, and a serial philanderer who led the prosecution of a President for sexual indiscretions, can compete with a man like Romney speaks volumes about how low the Republican Party has sunk in its desperate search for “conservative purity.”

    Republicans should take note of the fact that the voters who detest Barack Obama the most are not exclusively Republicans. His biggest detractors include far left Democrats who are dismayed by his abandonment of single-payer in health care reform, by his failure to shut Gitmo and afford illegal combatant terrorists the Constitutional privileges of Americans, by his failure to enact sweeping wealth redistribution under the guise of “tax reform,” and by his general failure to launch the Peoples’ Republic of America. There is a reason why Obama has disappointed the far left–you cannot govern from the extreme left or right. To win the Presidency and to effectively govern you must represent the center of gravity of the electorate, the moderates. As long as Republicans apply litmus tests of political purity to their candidates they will remain ideologically content while wandering in the wilderness.

  • http://www.bearingdrift.com Brian Schoeneman

    It would be amusing if it wasn’t so damn scary, OG.

  • Steve Vaughan

    MD Russ: While I agree with you that Mitt Romney is a Moderate Republican, what I’d characterize as a Chamber of Commerce Republican….there’s no argument that he is a flip-flopper on a scale rarely seen in American politics. He’s changed his position on so many fundamental issues …abortion, health care mandate, etc…..that I don’t know how you can say he isn’t a flip-flopper with a straight face.

  • http://. Let’s Be Free

    Anybody who was actually around in 1988 knows that George HW Bush and virtually all Republican surrogates struggled to project Bush as his own man, someone who wasn’t a lackey, instead a leader who could stand independently outside of the shadow of Ronald Wilson Reagan. Indeed, about the first thing HW did in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention was to distance himself from the legend. Gingrich was absolutely right in pointing out the need to move beyond the era of Reagan — it was the only way that a Republican would be elected as Reagan’s successor. HW had to distance himself to command the respect of the American people.

    As for the genuiness of Gingrich’s allegiance to Reagan’s legacy Nancy Reagan said “The dramatic movement of 1995 is an outgrowth of a much earlier crusade that goes back half a century. Barry Goldwater handed the torch to Ronnie, and in turn Ronnie turned that torch over to Newt and the Republican members of Congress to keep that dream alive.” I’ll take her word on the fealty of Gingrich to Reagan’s legacy over the word of a refugee of the failed George W Bush administration any day. Today is a day of pathetic, coordinated and misdirected cheap shots.

  • Tim Donner

    It is a remarkable turn of events when one candidate seeking the Republican presidential nomination has unsuccessfully defended the defensible while his chief opponent has (mostly) successfully defended the indefensible.

    When it comes to Bain Capital and his tax returns, Mitt Romney has nothing for which to apologize. It is no longer arguable that Bain created or saved tens of thousands of jobs. And Romney did what anyone else would do: paid only as much in taxes as the law requires. Attacks on his tax rate amount to nothing more than envy-driven demagoguery, especially when his critics prefer to gloss over his $7 million in charitable donations over the last two years.

    At the same time, can anyone with a straight face believe that Newt Gingrich did not attempt to influence decision-makers in return for the $1.6 million payments made to his firm by Fannie/Freddie? Can anyone deny that Democrats AND Republicans drove him out of the House? Can anyone believe it is not reprehensible to leave both his first and second wives once they became seriously ill? And is there anything approaching plausible deniability for the unbelievable statements he made about the same Ronald Reagan whose mantle he clings to in this race?

    And yet, Newt has UNTIL NOW successfully defended things, any one or two of which should sink his candidacy.

    As we await the 346th primary debate tonight, one wonders when Romney will finally figure out how to not only defend, but brag on, the things for which he’s been lambasted. And when the jig will finally be up for Newt.

  • Mormor

    Tim,

    Historians don’t come cheap!

  • http://. Let’s Be Free

    How quickly they forget. Elliot Abrams was convicted of multiple crimes and disbarred for actions during the Reagan administration. It’s not often that you get to say that someone is convicted liar, but you can say that about Elliot.

  • http://www.bearingdrift.com Brian Schoeneman

    There’s another funny thing – Nancy Reagan saying that Newt received a torch passed from Goldwater to Reagan…when Newt was a Rockefeller guy back in the day.

    Go figure.

  • http://. Let’s Be Free

    And Reagan was an FDR guy back in his day. Over a period of decades it is not uncommon for intelligent people learn and grow.

  • Darrell

    You party champions need to take a look around. There is no longer a parade to lead. The little people have come to realize that Wall Street contributions are the death knell of a politician’s campaign. Besides, they are sick of endless ads paid for by big money PACs.

  • http://craigkilby.com Craig Kilby

    Brian S wrote (on top of his daily anti-Newt diatribe), “There’s another funny thing – Nancy Reagan saying that Newt received a torch passed from Goldwater to Reagan…when Newt was a Rockefeller guy back in the day.”

    I guess Nancy Reagan has uttered many lines in her day, but did say this. If Brian wants to call her a liar, go for it. But one thing Newt says in his talks is that he started out as a Goldwater Republican. This is first I heard he was a Rockefeller Republican. A lot of people were, of course. And that was in 1964. But then again, the nightly news is now on and he’s leading in national polls against Romney, despite all the money and vitriol being thrown at him.

  • http://craigkilby.com Craig Kilby

    I am the first to agree Newt has serious public opinion issues. Just today I was with fellow volunteers at the Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library in Lancaster County. Admittedly, this is the “Gold Coast” of retirees and the volunteers today were all female. They do not Like Newt.

    WHY? I asked. The answer: “He served his wife with divorce papers while she was dying of cancer.”

    Oh, Jesus. Even when I explained to them that she is the one who filed for divorce, and she wasn’t dying of cancer, and is still alive, they just looked at me like I was making all of this up and I had just landed from Mars.

    THIS IS A BIG PROBLEM. Lies get half way around the world before the truth gets it boots on.

    There is plenty of material to beat Newt up with, but this one big lie that keeps regurgitated.

    Still, we slog on.

  • http://www.bearingdrift.com Brian Schoeneman

    Craig, I agree that the big falsehood about the divorce papers and cancer needs to be rebutted.

    But the truth isn’t really that much better.

    And it’s weekly, not daily, anti-Newt articles. Newt can claim he was a Goldwater Republican all he wants, but he said himself he was a Rockefeller state chairman.

  • http://craigkilby.com Craig Kilby

    Brian, while I now live in Virginia, my former next door neighbor now lives in Louisville, Kentucky. We used to live in St. Louis, MO. Point here is this, and you’d better get ready for it. There is huge pro-Newt movement going on among “establishment” people:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2822096/posts

    This is rather meaningless until after the FL primary. But if Newt wins that, you are going to have to wipe a big grin off your face.

    CK

  • http://www.bearingdrift.com Brian Schoeneman

    Craig, I work in the heart of establishment central, and there’s no love for Newt here.

    At all.

    If Newt wins Florida, no one will be grinning.

  • http://craigkilby.com Craig Kilby

    Brian, I am more plugged in than you might imagine. You can have no love for Newt all day long, and rail against him everyday, all day. Let the votes speak for themselves.

  • http://craigkilby.com Craig Kilby

    OMG…did anyone notice Santorum’s new hair die job? This is too bad.

  • Darrell

    I was too busy wondering how much of Romney’s investment returns were the result of taxpayer bailouts.

  • http://www.bearingdrift.com Brian Schoeneman

    Probably about the same as Newt’s were.