Mike Allen, "Why Newt's surge is for real". December 7
TO begin with, as modern practice has it, there's nary a word here (in 1300) about "why" Newt's "surge" is "for real". That's meant to summarize the Script, not the piece.
So, let's answer it: Why is Newt's "surge" for realz? Because Beltway bungholes like the Politico gang--Ross Douthat without the religious trappings--have decided it's more exciting that way.
Oh, but isn't he atop the polls? Yes, brushing aside former future nominee Donald Trump. Fer chrissakes, Republicans do not like Mitt Romney. It's the only thing they've gotten right in the past five decades, unless you think winning an election makes you "right", so can't we give them a little credit? Newton Leroy is the only man left standing, apart from Santorum, and here's a little secret Beltway insiders will never reveal: Republicans don't like real religious nuts knocking on the door any more than you or I do, and certainly no more than the Beltway Boys do. Because they're liable to do something out of conviction, or ethics, or just the desire to look like they have some, which is the last thing Republicans want. (Not that anyone took a Bachmann candidacy seriously--except Dave Weigel--but she had the clear and comforting mark of the obvious religious scammer all over her, and her life partner. Like Palin, Bachmann isn't smart enough to be a fundamentalist, or anything else requiring philosophical conviction.) You think they hate Romney because he's a panderer, or because he supported public health care? Bosh. There's nothing the Right likes more than a panderer, and if Romney manages to win the nomination you'll hear the sort of lowing from the faithful that "Compassionate Conservatism" got in its day. No, Romney's disliked because he gives the impression of a man who might break out in morals, or vainglory, or, god help 'em, concern at some critical juncture, and fail to double down. Consider the trail of nominees since Reagan: Bush I, hated; Dole, hated; McCain, hated; all political men, all of whom had made political compromises and were hated for it. George W. Bush? Simple, greedy, built-in distraction with his Daddy issues, established track record of bilking taxpayers and private contacts? Second coming of Reagan.
Now, granted, Gingrich is as mooring-free as any cannon could be; but he's also demonstrated a venality and a cupidity that apparently know no lower boundary.
Okay, any time left on the clock. Let's
have some laughs be enlightened by one of America's premier punditasters:
Top Republican and Democratic strategists say they greatly underestimated the potential for a Newt Gingrich comeback and now calculate that he could upset Mitt Romney to become the Republican presidential nominee.
By the way, which is worse: the track record of Top Republican and Democratic strategists, or the track record of the corrections of Top Republican and Democratic strategists? We could throw in America's Respected Political Commentators, but Republican and Democratic strategists have the built-in advantage that one of them gets to claim victory by default every two years.
It’s the clearest sign yet that Washington is waking up to a prospect that a week ago seemed far-fetched and even now seems hard to buy — Newt Gingrich vs. Barack Obama in 2012.
The clearest sign is anonymous collective noun use?
President Obama’s advisers, long convinced that Romney would be their opponent, now think he has a realistic chance of facing Gingrich, and are frantically rewriting a playbook that has been three years in the making.
Let's stop for a minute. There's practically no amount of tone-deafness, fumble-proneness, or simple goddamned Centrist cluelessness I won't believe about the President and his advisors, but "three years assuming Mitt Romney would be the nominee" leading to "frantic" rewriting of the playbook? Am I supposed to believe these guys still imagine the Republican party, and the Republican electorate, is moderately sane? I won't, if only because if I did I really wouldn't care if Newt Gingrich became President.
The advisers, especially David Axelrod – who has led the campaign’s frontal assault on Romney – are finally coming around to the possibility that Gingrich might actually be the GOP nominee.
1) How does David Axelrod come to have a job? 2) That, whatever th' fuck it was, was a "frontal assault" on Romney? 'Cause it sorta resembled the aftermath of the sort of frontal assault my 91-year-old father makes when he goes to take a leak.
Some Obama aides are exultant about running against a candidate with so much baggage and bad history. They generally view Romney as a stronger, more dangerous opponent, even if the former House speaker is likely to shine in debates. The feeling — or hope — among the campaign’s upper echelon is that the Romney-Gingrich fight just might last until June, as long as Obama-Clinton in 2008, with deeply unpredictable results.
It's always interesting to note that no one in Inside Washington has a memory that goes back farther than the reporter he talks to.
“It would be a nastier, more intense campaign,” said the Democrat close to the White House. “Newt has a history of getting people to rise to his bait. The president would have to stay mellow, steady Eddie.”
Right. Also, with any luck, the statue of Lincoln will remain seated.
Republicans, at the same time, find themselves both appalled and in admiration of Gingrich’s ability to channel the base’s anger and capture the anti-establishment moment in a way that Romney never could.
For fuck's sake. Not that I'd blame them if they didn't, but do the sort of "Republicans" who're on Mike Allen's rolodex ever bother looking at the base? Or listening to Mitt Romney? And Gingrich is in his fifth decade of scamming the Republican base, although, in fairness, since he got run out of elective office it's been a higher class of Republican idiot whose pockets he picked.
Gingrich, after a spring mutiny by his original staff, quietly built momentum with little money and virtually no organization, by relying on his wife, Callista, and a few diehard aides. By necessity, his stripped-down machine was fueled by ideas and the Internet rather than the usual lifelines of a modern run for the presidency – ads and cash.
Well, "Callista", "ideas", "the Internet", plus "the fact that everyone in front of him not named Romney has proved to be too big an idiot even for the party which took Herman Fucking Cain seriously". Including Herman Fucking Cain.
It’s a gravity-defying comeback for the once disgraced former House speaker – a potential political reincarnation rivaled in recent U.S. history only by Richard Nixon.
Romney may get nightmare flashbacks to 2008, when Mike Huckabee came from far back to win Iowa, and John McCain survived a staff implosion and won the nomination.
Or perhaps he'll remember 1992, when…nah, nobody remembers that far back.
Romney campaign has “a pretty good oppo package” on Gingrich and is prepared to go nuclear, said a top GOP consultant familiar with the campaign.
“The question is: Does all that unloading help or hurt?” the consultant added. “I don’t know. People have weighed [Gingrich’s past], and they’re OK with most of it.”
Right. Because if history--all the way back to 2004, even--tells us anything, it's that people who tell pollsters they're going to vote in Republican primaries clearly weigh all the evidence before making up their minds.
Social conservatives, an essential ingredient of the GOP base, don’t trust Romney.
“He would be my top choice at the moment in terms of the full package – ideas and positions and ability to beat Obama in 2012,” said a top Christian organizer. “Gingrich might not be as conservative as we like on every issue, and he may have had different opinions over the decade. But he still doesn’t attain the level of Romney in seeming lack of sincerity and authenticity.”
Anyone ever heard a "top Christian organizer" talk like this?
Many who know him best remain skeptical that Gingrich will have the discipline to avoid self-immolation.
“He’s a little bit like charcoal briquettes in the backyard,” said Rich Galen, who was an aide to Gingrich on and off between 1982 and 1998. “When you first light them, there’s a lot of smoke and fire and a lot of stuff going on. But you can’t cook a steak on that.”
Y'know, I love this "Look out, Newt might immolate himself" routine. It's like the reverse of Pascal's Wager: "We're going to take Gingrich seriously, but only while noting that something he says in the future may prove more damaging than the Top 7000 Incredibly Stupid Things He's Said Previously, which we aren't bothering to report." Once again, this is the same bunch which thought Michele Bachmann sounded Presidential in that first debate, and who stood by as she, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain demonstrated, time after time, a lack of intelligence staggering in a president of a trade group, let alone a Texas governor, without saying anything more censorious than "gaffe". Hell, the question now is what Gingrich howler would even get mentioned, let alone excused on the grounds that he was just throwing out more ideas from that fecund academic brain. This comes, mind you, at the end of a piece which attributed part of his comeback to the work of that platinum-helmeted collector of shiny objects he's married to, in the eyes of the Church. I ask you.