Monday, December 12, 2011

No! Not Newt!

Newt Gingrich “embodies almost everything disagreeable about modern Washington.”

--George Will

As we just said, the New York-Washington D.C. Republican establishment is appalled at Newt Gingrich’s apparent lead over Mitt Romney. Here’s the National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru, in his column, “Romney’s the One”:
there is a limit to how much political risk conservatives should want a president allied to them to take. Most of the time conservative activists should be trying to reduce the risks of advancing conservative initiatives rather than to goad elected officials to political recklessness. Conservatives should, that is, point the way for ambitious politicians to advance good ideas that can command the support of a national center-right majority.
Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, at the liberal website “Politico,” provide their take on the angst hitting the GOP establishment:
the pro-Romney Republican donor and operative class has been taken aback by Gingrich’s rise, mystified as to why conservative activists would want to nominate a candidate they view as a sure-fire loser against President Barack Obama. The GOP conversation now in New York and Washington is ablaze with talk of the former speaker’s 1968-style Nixon comeback and whether it will last. Some Republican insiders are intrigued by it, others nothing short of horrified. [emphasis added]
But Milton R. Wolf, writing at the less-respected, non-elite Washington Times, points out that Romney, the ex-Massachusetts governor:
was elected initially in 2002 but couldn’t crack 50% of the popular vote. By the end of his first and only term, he had an anemic 34% approval rating and a 65% disapproval rating. Survey USA ranked Romney’s popularity 48th out of the 50 governors. With that, the supposedly electable Mitt Romney walked away rather than face the voters.
And Charles Hurt, in the same, apparently anti-Romney Washington Times, wrote that “the problem for Mitt is that these are not normal times. These are desperate times. We don’t need competence. We need a revolution. And this is where Newt shines.”

“We need a revolution.”

Christian Whiton at FOX News has caught exactly the same point—Gingrich, the Gingrich candidacy, threatens not only the Obama legacy but also the GOP junior elite:
Gingrich has the audacity to imagine that Washington can be run without his own party’s establishment. Their assumption of dominating the next Republican administration is not safe if it is Gingrich. He is not proposing to replace the Democratic piano player at the brothel that is Washington with a slightly sterner-sounding Republican. Instead, he claims he will close the brothel. And the establishment of his own party just knows that can’t happen. In their lives, it never has. And where are they then to go for their pork and porking?
“A revolution.”

It’s ironic, but the GOP junior establishment’s animosity toward Newt may actually push him toward the party’s nomination. As ex-Reagan-Bush speechwriter Peggy Noonan recently noted, “The antipathy of the establishment not only is not hurting [Gingrich] . . . it may be helping him. It may be part of the secret of his rise.”

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