The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘You Have to Answer for Santino, Carlo’

Posted on | November 14, 2011 | 73 Comments

“Our best chance to put responsible and principled leaders in Washington starts here, with Dede Scozzafava.”
Newt Gingrich, Oct. 16, 2009

“Former House speaker Newt Gingrich tells NRO that he is sure that endorsing Republican Dede Scozzafava in the upcoming special election in New York’s 23rd congressional district was the right thing to do.”
Robert Costa, National Review, Oct. 20, 2009

“She’s dramatically better than the Democrat.”
Newt Gingrich, Oct. 21, 2009

“The choice in New York is a practical one . . .”
Newt Gingrich, Oct. 22, 2009

“Newt for 2012? No, thanks.”
Michelle Malkin, Oct. 26, 2009

“If this third-party candidate takes away just enough votes to elect the Democrat, then we will have strengthened Nancy Pelosi by the divisiveness. . . . The money raised in the district is overwhelmingly going to Dede Scozzafava.”
Newt Gingrich, Oct. 27, 2009

“In Bill Owens, I see a sense of duty and integrity that will guide him beyond political partisanship. He will be an independent voice devoted to doing what is right for New York.”
Dede Scozzafava, Nov. 1, 2009 (endorsing Democrat)

“I’m very, very let down because she told everybody she was a Republican, and she said she was a loyal Republican.”
Newt Gingrich, Nov. 2, 2009

“Guess who will not be representing the 23rd District? Dede Scozzafava!”
supporter of Doug Hoffman, Nov. 3 (Election Night)

“This one was worth the fight. . .  And this is only one fight in the battle. . . . Stand up and fight back.”
Doug Hoffman, Nov. 3, concession speech

“We cannot forget how this whole thing happened in the first place. . . . The right message here would indict the way party bosses, Republican Party bosses and these big thinkers like Newt screwed the whole thing up, from the get-go.”
Rush Limbaugh, Nov. 5, 2009

When Allahpundit first asked, “Second look at Gingrich?” on Oct. 18, my visceral reaction was, “Are you freaking kidding me?” Nothing astonishes me more than poll numbers — from PPP and CNN — suggesting that people are taking Newt seriously as a presidential candidate. And of all the prognotications I’ve ever made, of none have I been more confident than in predicting this: It won’t last.

The Newt Bubble is one of two things:

  1. A transition point for the erstwhile Rick Perry voters before they go to one of the other Not Romneys; or
  2. The final doomed hope before these fickle voters — the ones who started out for Tim Pawlenty or some other non-viable candidate, then hopscotched around amongst the Flavor of the Month candidates — shrug their shoulders, say “Why not?” and settle for Mitt Romney.

The croakers are once more pronouncing doom on Herman Cain (all day today the Fox News talking heads have treated Cain dismissively), which doesn’t bother me much since the croakers never believed in Cain to begin with, and they’ve been so wrong so often that I automatically discount their repetitive doomsaying. Cain will either recover or he won’t, but the ultimate non-viability of Newt remains a solid fact.

To get way ahead of the argument, Newt is unelectable, period. If Republicans actually were to nominate him, sending the twice-divorced Pillsbury doughboy up against Obama would be a fool-proof formula for catastrophic electoral wipeout on Nov. 6, 2012. Supporting Gingrich is therefore tantamount to advocating the re-election of Obama. I’m convinced that Republican primary voters will sooner or later wise up to that reality, and the Gingrich Bubble will collapse as suddenly as it has inflated the past two weeks.

What is ironic, of course, is that many of those prominent voices now cheering the Newt Bubble are the same people who often say that they oppose Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum on the grounds that those particular Not Romneys are not “electable.”

These self-authorized arbiters of “electability” are never going to have a chance to be proven wrong about Gingrich in the general election next November because, within the next 10 weeks, it will be demonstrated that Newt can’t beat Romney.

Prediction: Newt won’t even finish ahead of Ron Paul in Iowa.

Why do I say that? Because Ron Paul inspires fanatical devotion from his followers, and can muster armies of fired-up volunteers. By contrast, Newt’s staunchest supporters are respectable Establishment types who aren’t going to be trudging through the snow in Iowa on Jan. 3.

If a blogger really wants to have some fun, do this: Start collecting comments of pundits who are currently pumping up the Newt Bubble. Save the links in a special folder in your browser bookmarks, and wait until the morning of Feb. 1 — the day after the Florida primary — at which point those quotes are going to look silly as hell.

By Feb. 1, Newt will be 0-for-4, his campaign will be deeply in debt, and he’ll be ready to quit and endorse Romney. Take it to the bank.

Of course, if I’m wrong and the Newt Bubble proves an enduring phenomenon so that, on Feb. 1, we’re left with a choice between Newt and Mitt, I’ll endorse Mitt, because I can never forgive Newt for what he did to Doug Hoffman in 2009.

While thousands of grassroots conservatives all across the country were doing all they could to elect Hoffman in the NY-23 special election, Gingrich spent three weeks telling everybody that Dede Scozzafava was “our best hope.” He kept going on TV to repeat the counterfactual assertion that Dede was the unaminous choice of Republicans in the district, while suggsting that Hoffman — a mild-mannered accountant — was some kind of wild-eyed extremist, and that those of us who supported Hoffman were ignorant of the realities in the district. Of course, Newt himself never even bothered to visit that district, and was just repeating what he had been told by the clueless hacks in the New York GOP leadership and at the NRCC.

When push came to shove, as we all remember, Dede quit on Halloween — the Saturday before Election Day — and endorsed the Democrat on Sunday, which was just about the only thing she could have done to prevent Hoffman from winning. In the end, Bill Owens won by less than 4,000 vote out of more than 150,000 votes cast in the special election, with Dede leaving her name on the ballot to collect some 8,500 votes, which was greater than Owens’s margin of victory.

It was Dede Scozzafava, not Doug Hoffman, who was the marginal “spoiler” candidate in that election, a role she played with Newt’s wholehearted support.

Like many of other Republicans of his vintage, Newt never understood or sympathized with the Tea Party movement. Gingrich, like so many GOP Establishment types, seemed to fear the grassroots uprising as a potential third-party threat, and viewed Hoffman’s campaign in that context. But what happened in NY-23 was a unique circumstance that has never been repeated in the past two years, and Gingrich evidently couldn’t be bothered to do the research necessary to discover that his Republican buddies were lying to him: About Dede, about Hoffman and about the 23rd District.

As someone who traveled all over NY-23, I can attest that the district was mostly rural, with a few relatively smallish towns — Watertown and Plattsburgh being the biggest — and a bit of suburban Syracuse thrown in. It was a basically conservative district and there was nothing in Hoffman’s platform that made him unelectable. Frankly, Hoffman’s worst problem in the district was the open hostility shown by the publisher of the Watertown newspaper, who seems to have been a personal friend of Scozzafava and hated Hoffman with the white-hot heat of a thousand suns.

Newt couldn’t be bothered to learn any of that, and made a complete fool of himself: “She said she was a loyal Republican.” Chump.

Here we are two years later, and Gingrich wants to pretend none of that ever happened. Newt is currently prospering because he talks a good game. He’s always been brilliant at articulating issues, and has benefitted by comparison to the hapless Rick Perry, at a time when Herman Cain has been under siege for two weeks. But the Newt Bubble won’t last, because people will eventually remember Newt’s past and his lack of grassroots volunteer enthusiasm will doom his candidacy.

Nobody is going to volunteer to campaign for a career politician who blows half a million at Tiffany for his third wife and then goes off on a luxury Mediterranean cruise. Newt isn’t going to get those $25, $50, $100 campaign contributions from retirees and housewives. Whatever campaign Newt puts together, he’ll have to rely on paid staff, and he’ll get no help from Tea Party activists who remember what he did to Doug Hoffman, the original hero of the Tea Party movement. And if nobody else remembers, we’ll be sure to remind them.

“You have to answer for Santino, Carlo. You fingered Sonny for the Barzini people. . . . Barzini is dead. So is Phillip Tattaglia. Moe Greene. Stracci. Cuneo. Today I settled all family business so don’t tell me that you’re innocent. Admit what you did.”


  • smitty

    Again you stomp my hurt Pawlenty feelings. Philistine!

  • richard mcenroe

    Oh, I liked Pawlenty.  He made a tender chicken…

  • John LaRosa

    Newt is shaped more like the “leave the gun, take the cannolis” guy, but yes, he has to answer for Dede…among many other “tings”.

  • omega_six

    great post, not surprised the Newt bandwagon is getting a once over, I’m betting as we get closer to February we’ll see a drastic drop in support for him. I’m seriously concerned we’re going to get stuck with Romney…. I hope Herman can pull off something big to get some positive attention soon.

  • Right Stuff

    I like Newt, but I’m concerned. His working
    knowledge of our political landscape is second to none, but his biggest
    drawback is that he lacks mass appeal. Obama is a perfect example of how
    appeal can trump substance; radical as hell, zero experience, but he
    connected with voters. Newt could win the nomination – I’d support him
    100% – but I have doubts he will strike a chord
    with voters outside of the GOP base. Fair or not, the MSM will
    stereotype him as the old, boring, elitist Republican & it’s only a
    matter of time before they air his dirty laundry. Reagan was equally
    intelligent, but his passion & charisma – his innate ability to
    relate to the common man – is why he captured independents and “Reagan
    Democrats.” People want to be inspired, not talked down to. If it wasn’t
    for the media’s attacks on Cain, who led nationally (still does) &
    Iowa by double digits, would Newt even be in contention as the choice of
    his own party?

  • Anonymous

    There is probably no need for any conservative to put the knife in Gingrich, as I expect the MSM will carve him up pretty good. People in Iowa are not stupid and, whatever the polls show now, I strongly doubt Gingrich will fare better than 4th in the caucuses.

  • Anonymous

    When the question is “should Bolshevik Front organizations have collectivists bargaining privileges” the correct answer is NO!

  • Pingback: Newt Gingrich: 7 Steps for SuperCommittee | The Lonely Conservative()

  • Anonymous

    Some people seem to be giving money to Newt 2012.  Can’t prove it, but I doubt they’re all 1,000$ and 2,000$ contributions.

    The peculiar thing is, many of the same people who like Cain also like Newt:

    “There’s reason to think that if Cain continues to fade, Gingrich will
    continue to gain.  Among Cain’s supporters 73% have a favorable opinion
    of Gingrich to only 21% with a negative one. That compares to a 33/55
    spread for Romney with Cain voters and a 32/53 one for Perry.  They like
    Gingrich a whole lot more than they do the other serious candidates in
    the race.”

    So all these real grassrootsy authentic true conservative types who like Cain also like Newt, but just a little less.  But that preference will gradually flip, as more Cain supporters see clips such as this one, where Cain addresses the issues of Libya and collective bargaining in public unions:

  • Bushwackca

    Newt has some baggage. ALL of them do. The question is simple. Are these guys the same guys who made these mistakes or have they learned from them and grown. IF you are the same person you were 20+ years ago with the same views and made the same mistakes again and still make them raise your hand.

    Pro Newt: Would crush Obama in debate. Knows how to lead, Knows history, Has a good grasp of the issues.
    Con Newt: He’s done some stupid stuff, he’s got some “moral” mistakes that will haunt him. He’s an establishment candidate.

    We need some type of mixture of the entire line up:
    Cain’s business sense, Bachmann’s guts, Paul’s DOMESTIC policy, Newt’s debating skills, Pawlenty’s moral fiber, Romney’s “look” Perry’s downhomeness.. Oh and Huntsman’s tie…

  • Anonymous

    If you’re suggesting putting them all in a barrel and rolling them down a long hill, I say it’s worth considering.

  • Anonymous

    The Libya part of that clip painful to watch.

  • Bushwackca

    Well, that might be the best way to pick one… Maybe they’d come out black with weird eyebrows, white hair, great smile, a killer bod and a texas accent…

  • Anonymous

    Condoleeza Rice isn’t running, so you can just forget about that dream.

  • George Moneo

    Perfectly brutal and totally  truthful.

  • richard mcenroe

    Newt Gingrich has “baggage” the way Thurston Howell III and Lovey “took a few things” on their three-hour tour…

  • The Wondering Jew

    “I’ll endorse Mitt”– Damn Stacy– That is throwing down the gauntlet. . .

  • Bushwackca

    The benefit of Newt climbing in the polls is Cain will cease to fall in the polls…. At some point. Look folks, it doesn’t matter who the candidate is if it’s not Romney they will beat Obama. IF it’s Romney, Obama care is OFF the discussion list he can’t win that and that’s the albatross around Obama’s neck.

    Newt can beat Obama and after the attack machine has it’s go at Newt who will be next? Are we going to let the media elite pick the R for us based on one or two or 10 issues? Romney is the heir apparent and the Lib media has the playbook written for dealing with him. ANYONE else makes them redo the book… Romney is not going to get any enthusiasm for voting. NONE. He’ll draw as much as McCain did. Newt may drive some enthusiasm just by being the enemy of the media and Newt beating them to death with logic… I’ll take Newt in this election cycle and won’t look back.

    You want to know the saddest part? We had 3 freakin years to get a GREAT candidate to oppose the policies of this POTUS and this is all we could muster?… WOW.

  • Anonymous

    Newt, while a good for a lecture (not a good speech giver, but great at debates and other venues where spouting off is looked fondly upon)…however, he is no Conservative.

    He would be fine in an administration, but not as a leader.  His accent to power in mid-90s was great, but when he obtained power….crash and burn…

  • Anonymous

    Not a good moment for Cain, but that is the risk of exposure.  The more you out there, the more likely one is to have a “Perry” moment.

    I despise Perry, but his debate performance isn’t what really bothers me, it is the fact that he raised taxes and spending while governor of my great state of Texas.

    Certainly Cain’s gaffe  isn’t serious enough to equate it to Newt Gingrich developing and promoting the Individual Mandate that would become the centerpiece of RomneyCare and ObamaCare.

    Cain and Perry had gaffes.  Newt BELIEVES in things such as individual mandates and centralized medicine.

  • Joe

    Confession did not exactly work out so well for Carlo–but even if that was done, I have yet to hear Newt admit he ever did wrong.   For all the fears about Romney, I have more fear of Newt selling us out.

  • Edward

    My problem with Hermain Cain isn’t that he doesn’t have a single clue about foreign policy.  My problem is that he won’t do a damn thing about it!

    You would think that if you’re running for President that you would realistically and unashamedly look at your strengths and your weaknesses and then work hard to correct any deficiencies found.  And if that was what Herman Cain had done then I’d be much happier.  Instead he’s waltzed around like he could pretend to know what people are talking about but it is almost literally like he’s in a room full of people speaking a different language.

    My other problem, Newt Gingrich, is very simple.  The man has been in politics since “1958”.  Great.  He was Speaker of the House.  Good.  He’s also lead into one major political disaster after another after another after another.  This NY-23 is just one amongst many.

    If you have all this knowledge of politics and yet your political instincts suck ass … then what precisely does that say about your ability to be a leader?  To be President?

    Nothing good.

  • richard mcenroe

    Joe I get your point… to a point.  But all the world affairs knowledge in the world a man such as you describe would have amassed through 2001 would have  been worth squat in the new world that dawned in blood and fire on 9/11.  Old alliances proved worthless, new ones were found in the  most unexpectec places.

    George Bush was criticized  as being unschooled in world affairs, and indeed he had seen the emphasis of his Presidency to be on domestic affairs.  But he rose above that supposed lack in the way more “seasoned” Democrats and State Department drones never even considered to forge a 35-nation alliance…. something Obama has never even approached.

    Could I wish Cain was more interested in worl;d affairs? Yes.  But the evidence is he was a better executive and businessman than Bush; I choose to believe that the chance he will similarly grown in office is worth the risk of breaking with the GOP mainstream and its hangers on.

  • Adjoran

    He’s like a junkie with those bouts of “bipartisan” betrayal – just when you think he’s got himself clean and gone straight, there he goes again.

    Now he wants to house-sit the White House?  Hmmmm . . . nah.

  • Joe

    Fredo was at least sympathetic, but weak.  Newt is shrewd, thinks himself smarter than he actually is, and untrustworthy…like Carlo. 

  • Joe

    Ouch.   I don’t disagree.   But I thought Newt would at least get to third. 

  • Anonymous

    You should know better than to link to Esquire, which recently performed journalistic fellatio on Obama.  I read that article.  Rife with inaccuracies.  Find me an Esquire article on any Republican in the last 5 years that isn’t a hit-job.

  • Joe
  • Adjoran

    I feel certain that whoever is supporting Newt in these polls will wake up around January 1st and say to the mirror, “What was I thinking?”

    Not sure about Iowa – Huckabee won the state last time, sounds stupid enough to me.

  • Adjoran

    There are no flawless candidates.  Reagan raised both taxes and spending in California (as with the federal government, he never promised to cut it, just slow the rate of growth of spending).  He imposed the harsh tariff limits on Japanese imports which led to them sending us more higher-end vehicles instead of the cheap ones, finally putting them in direct competition with Detroit.  He was suckered by Tip O’Neill TWICE in agreeing to a tax increase in exchange for spending cuts which never came.

    Based on he record, Reagan would be dismissed as a RINO by most of today’s conservative Republicans. 

  • Adjoran

    Well, if we could combine Newt’s historical knowledge and command of policy, Perry’s ability to work with Democrats on conservative goals, Cain’s plain-spoken common sense conservatism, and Romney’s hair and experience in telling people:  “I’ve got good news and bad news for you all in the reorganization.  The good news is the severance package is great!” all into one, it would be close to unbeatable.

  • Adjoran

    Part of his problem is he’s the Professor, but he acts like Howell, and will leave Marianne for Ginger in a heartbeat.

  • Adjoran

    Somewhere, in the darkened silence of his room in a seedy flophouse, Bob Barr sheds a silent tear.

  • Brandonm22

    After you study Gingrich’s hypocritic philandering, Perry’s on stage goofs, Paul’s nutty isolationism,  Cain’s foreign policy and abortion position miscues and the ever changing 9-9-9 plan,  Huntsman’s dealings with Obama, Santorum’s ineptitude in Pennsylvania, and the way Bachman has frittered away her Iowa lead and resources the logical mind is forced to accept that Romney is the best candidate we have in this field.

  • Adjoran

    Look at every election since WWII and count how many “great” challengers were nominated by either party. 

    You are wondering why we aren’t getting something we only very rarely get, once in a lifetime or a generation if we are very lucky.

  • Adjoran

    Newt has a life-long habit of letting his temper get the best of him, usually over some minor slight which he blows out of proportion and comes off looking either mean or just a jerk. 

    Plus, running the House isn’t necessarily “administrative experience” in any serious sense, even a small city mayor has more managing to do than the Speaker.

    Of course he has a history of past mistakes, the Pelosi couch commercial and the Dede debacle being the most memorable recently.   If we eliminate the imperfect candidates, it will certainly shorten the debates, won’t it?

  • Anonymous

    Good one.  You had me goin’ there for a moment.

  • Bob Belvedere

    This is a man who is in love with the sound of his own voice, which is nothing unusual in a politician. However, per usual, Gingrich has to take it to the next level: he’s in love with the cleverness of his own ideas. He loves playing with concepts and solutions. To him it is all a big game ? an intellectual feast, if you will. While that quality is
    wonderful in a college professor, it is downright dangerous in a political leader, most especially when that leader is in charge of a nation that is on the brink of financial and cultural collapse.

  • Bob Belvedere

    That was a horrible performance and you know the MSM and The Republicans Who Matter! are going to play those clips over and over.

    And, frankly, Mr. Cain will deserve some of it.

    If he hasn’t gotten enough sleep, reschedule the interview.

  • Quartermaster

    Sorry, but Paul is not an isolationist. There is a very large difference between isolationism and noininterventionism.

  • Quartermaster

    Newt is worse than merely imperfect. Many of his actions as Speaker, as a husband, along with his Polosi commercial and NY-23 show a deeply flawed man. There is no indication that he is any different than he was either.

    Among the candidates, it is sad to contemplate, Paul is the *only* one that is advocating what must be done to FedGov to have any hope of turning things around. We need to take a meat ax to FedGov, not just maintain the status quo.

    OTOH, I don’t want another Neocon either. We’ve had enough nation building and Wilsonian crusading. Alas, outside of Cain, who will be co opted, and Paul, the field is nothing but Neocons.

  • Bob Belvedere

    Like when we got The Raygun.

  • Bob Belvedere

    Well, we had Sarah Palin, but a bunch of backstabbing rat bastard Republicans and conservatives let the calumnies reign down upon her and/or participated in the vilification.

    They smile in your face…

  • Bob Belvedere

    I would only disagree on one point: I’ve seen him lecture and he is damn good at historical ones.

  • Bob Belvedere

    Brilliant post, Stacy.  Well reasoned and well stated.

  • ThePaganTemple

    You are correct that Reagan would be denounced as a RINO today, but in retrospect what he did in enabling greater competition from Japan with Detroit was good on all levels, for the simple reason in the seventies Detroit was putting out pure fucking crap.

  • ThePaganTemple

    So maybe we will go back full circle, back to Bachmann, who didn’t “flitter away” her lead as someone said, everybody suddenly decided they wanted Rick Perry, a Southern three term governor of a wildly successful state, more than they wanted a three term Congresswoman from a Midwestern state which isn’t doing so hot. Which that’s definitely understandable. Perry does look damn good on paper. Unfortunately, there’s not enough sizzle to sell that steak. So what now? If Michelle wins the Iowa caucus I have an idea her one or two minor missteps will be ancient history and hopefully she’ll have learned from her two or three minor misstatements.

  • Andrew Patrick

    If Stacy is prepared to endorse Mitt over Newt, then Mitt has already won.

    Enjoy next year’s concession speech.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think Reagan would be as trusting of the SDs now as he was then.

  • McGehee

    The problem for Newt is, he doesn’t have to outrun the bear, he only has to outrun Mitt.

    And he can’t, is what Stacy’s saying.