Talking Points Memo highlights the National Review‘s Newt-bashing issue, and asks, “[W]ill rank and file Gingrich supporters accept the increasingly loud message from party elites that he’s a disaster? Or will they just resent it?”
A further question might well be, “If they DO derail Newt’s nomination, will this fuel enough resentment to undermine Romney in November and otherwise further deepen the GOPs internal conflicts?” Maybe even push them to the breaking point?
The big problem behind Newt’s surge is that it’s not just about Newt. Yes, Newt’s a problematic individual, so be sure, as my recent AJE op-ed argued. But he’s also quite integral to the conservative movement’s successes as well as failures.
The common conservative approach is simply to ditch anyone who becomes an embarassment (ahem! George W. Bush) and take up the line that they’re not a “true conservative”. So ditching Newt would be totally in keeping with conservative tradition. But the problem is, conservatives STILL haven’t figured out how to reinvent themselves after Bush. Being anti-Obama is the most unifying theme they’ve got.
Yes, they’ve tried that whole “constitutional conservative thing”, but beyond wearing silly hats, and confusing the US Constitution with the Confederate one, what more is there? That may be enough to win the House in an off-year election with unemployment through the roof, but that’s REALLY not saying a lot. And if the M$M weren’t so much in the tank, it would be painfully obvious how little the conservatives have going for them… even with Obama doing everything conceivable to keep them in the game, so that he can pull off his beloved “grand bargain” going-out-of-business sale.
This is why Newt appeals. There ISN’T any more substance left to be added to the mix. It’s all been discredited by reality, with it’s well-known liberal bias. But Newt with his spectacular bombast can keep this reality at bay MUCH better than any other “credible candidate” can. You take that away, and you face the very real risk that the entire conservative ediface may start to crumble back into its constituent parts–the Wall Streeters, nakeder than ever, the religious right, more reconstructionist than ever, and the Paulite libertarians with their insatiable thirst for the 19th Century… without, of course, the publically underwritten canals, railroads, Louisana Purchase, Homestead Act, Morril Land Grant College Act, and, oh year, THE CIVIL WAR, etc. that made it, however flawed, a century of dramatic, if erratic economic progress.
Yes, the right has TONS of money to paper over all of this. But that’s all it is… PAPERING OVER. Without Obama hatred to unify them, they’de have so little they’d be on the brink of tearing each other apart. Newt may be a crazy-quilt sociopath, but he’s THEIR crazy-quilt sociopath. And as of right now, crazy-quilt sociopathy is all they’ve got left. Toss that out, and they’ve got nothing.
p.s. Which just may be enough to get by, thanks to the neo-lib losers running the Democratic Party.