Not sure if you’ve noticed, but the long knives are out for Newt Gingrich as he campaigns in Florida. Panic has set in among Republicans in Washington as everyone, TV Pundits, Left and Right, Insist Gingrich Cannot Win, Would Drag Down Entire Party in Fall. This was not supposed to happen. Newt was not supposed to have slugged his way to the top tier, and now it looks like there’s a coordinated effort underway to knock him out. Mitt was supposed to have secured the nomination, by now.
The Drudge headline for the past couple of days says it all with the worst slam you can make against a Republican:
It links to Elliot Abrams’ devastating piece at NRO which makes the case that Gingrich repeatedly assaulted the Reagan administration with criticism “just as Democratic attacks were heating up unmercifully”. Abrams, who was an assistant secretary of state in the Reagan Administration and deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush Administration, wrote:
…as a visionary, Gingrich does not have a very impressive record. The Soviet Union was beginning to collapse, just as Reagan had believed it must. The expansion of its empire had been thwarted. The policies Gingrich thought so weak and indeed “pathetic” worked, and Ronald Reagan turned out to be a far better student of history and politics than Gingrich.
The second point to make is that Gingrich made these assaults on the Reagan administration just as Democratic attacks were heating up unmercifully. Far from becoming a reliable voice for Reagan policy and the struggle against the Soviets, Gingrich took on Reagan and his administration. It appears to be a habit: He did the same to George W. Bush when Bush was making the toughest and most controversial decision of his presidency — the surge in Iraq. Bush was opposed by many of the top generals, by some Republican leaders who feared the surge would hurt in the 2008 elections, and of course by a slew of Democrats and media commentators. Here again Gingrich provided no support for his party’s embattled president, testifying as a private citizen in 2007 that the strategy was “inadequate,” contained “breathtaking” gaps, lacked “synergism” (whatever that means), and was “very disappointing.” What did Gingrich propose? Among other things, a 50 percent increase in the budget of the State Department.
Gingrich scorned Reagan’s speeches, which moved a party and then a nation, because “the president of the United States cannot discipline himself to use the correct language.” In Afghanistan, Reagan’s policy was marked by “impotence [and] incompetence.” Thus Gingrich concluded as he surveyed five years of Reagan in power that “we have been losing the struggle with the Soviet empire.” Reagan did not know what he was doing, and “it is precisely at the vision and strategy levels that the Soviet empire today is superior to the free world.”
Perhaps not coincidentally, a short excerpt of a 1988 C-SPAN video of Newt Gingrich supposedly bashing Ronald Reagan is currently making the rounds. Dan Riehl has discovered that said Video Of Newt Bashing Reagan Is Bogus.
What you don’t see is immediately after when Gingrich praises Reaganism and the Reagan platform.
Does Gingrich at times, have “diarrhea of the mouth”? Yes, we knew that already. But when push came to shove, was Gingrich always in Reagan’s corner? Jeffrey Lord, who also worked in the Reagan administration, writes in The American Spectator, a resounding, “yes”, calling Gingrich, “Reagan’s young lieutenant”:
…time after time after time in the Reagan years, a number of those times which I had the opportunity to see up close as a young Reagan staffer charged in my duties with being the White House liaison to Gingrich and Kemp’s Conservative Opportunity Society, Newt Gingrich was out there again and again and again for Ronald Reagan and conservative principles. In his own memoirs, The Politics of Diplomacy, James Baker noted of his days as Reagan White House Chief of Staff that he always “worked closely” with the people Baker described as “congressional leaders.” And who were those leaders? Baker runs off a string of names of the older leaders of both House and Senate in the formal positions of power — plus one. That’s right: young Newt Gingrich.
Gingrich repeatedly demonstrated a considerable ability to illustrate conservative principle, help Reagan using events of the day. Here were two notable examples.
Read on. It’s a long piece, but you need to read it all.
This video from 1995 via Professor Jacobson of Legal Insurrection, shows Nancy Reagan at a Goldwater Institute Dinner honoring Ronald Reagan, handing over the conservative torch from her husband to Newt Gingrich.
I should note that Nancy Reagan was well known for being a ferocious defender of her husband. If you crossed Ronnie, you were off the reservation, and yet:
No one has been more vocal opponent of Newt Gingrich in recent weeks than Ann Coulter. She has been all over the airwaves warning Republican voters that if Gingrich wins the nomination, Obama is a shoo-in to win the general election. He has too much baggage, his negatives are too high, he’s not really conservative, etc, etc. In her latest screed, posted yesterday, she makes her case again, making brilliant points, as usual: RE-ELECT OBAMA: VOTE NEWT!
— Romney is now the only remaining candidate for president who opposes amnesty for illegals. (Ever since President Bush’s amnesty plan cratered on the shoals of public opposition, no Republican will ever use the word “amnesty,” despite wanting to keep illegals here — just as Democrats refuse to say “abortion,” while supporting every manner of destroying human life.)
Romney supports E-Verify and a fence on the border. As governor he promoted English immersion programs for immigrants, signed an agreement with the federal government allowing state troopers to enforce federal immigration laws, and opposed efforts to give illegal immigrants in-state tuition or driver’s licenses.
At the same time, Romney says he’d like to staple a green card to the diploma of every immigrant here on a student visa who gets a higher degree in math or science.
Gingrich supports importing a slave labor force from Mexico under a “guest worker” program and wants to create government “citizen review boards” to grant amnesty on a case-by-case basis (i.e. all at once) to illegal aliens.
— Romney supports entitlement reform along the lines of the Paul Ryan plan, as he has said plainly, but without histrionics, in the debates.
Just last year, Gingrich went on “Meet the Press” and called Ryan’s plan — supported by nearly every House Republican — “right-wing social engineering.”
He apologized for those remarks, then took back his apology, still later doubled down, calling the Ryan plan “suicide,” and now — currently, but it could change any minute — Gingrich supports Ryan’s entitlement reform efforts.
For the latest updates on Newt’s position on the Ryan plan, go to http//twitter.com/#whatcheapshotgrandstandymovewillworknow?
Those are all good points, and I respect her opinion, but she was singing a completely different tune at CPAC 2011. Perhaps this is a cheap shot because that was a whole year ago – the field has changed, and Ann is a strategic thinker, but she said what she said: “If Christie Doesn’t Run, Romney Will be Nominated and Lose to Obama”:
This just goes to show you how much an opinion can change over a year’s times. Pamela Geller provides another example of this – in reverse.
True story: Last year at CPAC, I went up to the stage take some pictures of Gingrich while he was speaking. As he was leaving the stage, he shook the hands of the people closest by, mine being among them. When I got back to the bloggers lounge, I mentioned to the people around me, “hey, Newt Gingrich just shook my hand!” and Pamela immediately shot back, “Did you wash it?”
Geller has gone from being firmly against Newt, a year ago, to firmly supporting him, today: Gingrich: The SOB we need.
Newt Gingrich’s victory in Saturday’s South Carolina primary means that we are still alive.
Gingrich really won the primary in the first five minutes of Friday night’s debate, when he challenged John King of CNN. King opened the debate trying to press forward the media’s campaign of destruction of Gingrich, using the 13-year-old slings and arrows of a still-bitter ex-wife. The best thing about the exchange was that Newt turned the tables with the speed and skill of a black belt and put the media on the defensive. It was brilliant, a defining moment. And the crowd cheered. People are fed up.
The country needs a tough fighter. There is a war on the American people; we are under attack from within, and the Republican establishment has been meek, cowed, defeated. Gingrich is fierce. We need a fighter to go toe-to-toe against the silver-tongued snake in the White House.
Yes, Gingrich has much to answer for. Yet while Newt has an inconsistent history, he seems a man of the time. He knows what America needs: He sees the threats from within and without, and he is pulling no punches. Romney is not strong enough for the coming battle. Newt may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB. And we need an SOB to defeat the snake in the White House.
Investor’s Business Daily made the same point in: Gingrich Looking Churchillian In Political Comeback:
Leadership: A great debater. Politically polarizing. Prone to great error, but also prone to spectacular success. Steeped in history. Politically brilliant. Unorthodox. Audacious.
All these qualities were once used to describe Winston Churchill. Today, you might use the same words to describe Newt Gingrich. Sound absurd? Not when you think about it.
Churchill, like Gingrich, was a brilliant politician with a powerful sense of the occasion.
Sometimes prickly, often witty, but never dull, his career had lots of ups and downs — ranging from being blamed for the disastrous Gallipoli campaign in World War I to being credited as the father of the British welfare state — not exactly a compliment among conservatives, then or now.
Indeed, by Churchill’s own admission, “The Conservatives have never liked nor trusted me.” The same thing can be said of Gingrich, who has had a tortured relationship with the GOP’s conservative wing, to say the least.
And yet, when his nation called on him to lead in 1940, Churchill was ready — the right man for the right time. With America’s government under President Obama moving rapidly to the extreme left, Gingrich too might be the right man for the right time.
But — John from Verum Serum, who has been inclined to support Newt, finds reason to believe Newt may not be the right man for any time. Such rank dishonesty can only be described as “Clintonesque” or “Obama-like”, and conservatives should not be put into the position of having to defend it: Newt Didn’t Offer Witnesses to ABC as Claimed During SC Debate?
I want to support Newt, I really do….but Romney or a brokered convention are looking better and better to me.
Yuval Levin at the Corner: ‘An Empty Bucket in His Hand’:
Wherein Levin explains Bob Dole’s sneer about Newt Gingrich and his “empty bucket”. Dole seems to have missed the point.
One could point to any number of erratic, undisciplined, and peculiar statements or actions by Newt Gingrich during his speakership. He was in many ways a disastrous manager and leader. But Dole’s example in his statement
today reflects more poorly on Dole than on Gingrich, I’d say. And putting out this statement from Dole frankly doesn’t reflect well on the political judgment of the Romney
So there you have it, folks: not only did Dole lose because of Newt, but Newt is insane to boot, showing up at campaign HQ to stagger around with his ice bucket, reeking of last night’s cheap muscatel and muttering to himself like a dingy old wino.
And NRO is gleefully providing a forum for this drivel. Vote for Romney, because FEAR TEH CRAAAZY MAN!
Mark Levin is, by his own admission, no special pleader for Newt Gingrich and he says that we can certainly criticize Gingrich on substance. But he says to count him out among those that are trashing Gingrich. In fact, he opened the show saying that if this trashing of Newt Gingrich is what the conservative movement has come to, then count him out.
ONE TWO MORE:
A HUGE plug and must read from Melissa O’Sullivan, wife of National Review’s John O’Sullivan: Send Us Newt.
She makes the case for Newt more persuasively than anyone I’ve heard or read, thus far.
Before this campaign is over, America will know who Saul Alinsky is, even if Mitt Romney does not.
Gingrich would appear to be the only guy with the balls to bring up Obama’s radical Alinsky past – something most Americans still know nothing about.
The real question this year is whether this generation of Americans can be duped into trashing the greatest, most prosperous, most successful nation in the history of the world, for a retrograde Marxist vision that thoroughly failed throughout the last century, and which the rest of the world has learned through hard experience is confused to the point of practical silliness. This only indicates how much deep trouble America is in, with Obama as President, and his philosophy and worldview having taken over the modern Democrat party.What Gingrich indicated in his South Carolina victory speech is that he understands what Obama is really all about, and the fundamental challenge he represents to the future of America. And he intends to reveal the truth of Obama’s carefully crafted neo-Marxist message to the American people.
Gingrich is the only candidate remotely capable of carrying the flag for the true, original, historic America in this fundamental, existential battle for national survival. He so rightly identified the public mood in his South Carolina speech, saying, “The American people feel that they have elites who have been trying for a half-century to force us to quit being American and become some kind of other system.” He further identified the pending danger, “If Barack Obama can get re-elected after this disaster, just think how radical he would be in a second term.”
Read the whole piece. My gut tells me that Gingrich, as deeply flawed as he is – may be the man for our time.