The Other McCain

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Newt Gingrich: Graceless in Defeat?

Posted on | January 31, 2012 | 48 Comments

Newt Gingrich in Fort Myers, Fla., Monday Jan. 30, 2012

NAPLES, Fla.
This will be my last day here in the posh condo which Dan Collins has so generously made available as the Florida headquarters of the National Affairs Desk. Tonight I head up to Tampa to cover RINO Fest 2012 Mitt Romney’s victory celebration, and then I must find someplace else to get a few hours sleep before leaving out from Jacksonville on Wednesday afternoon.

Before I do all that, however, I must contemplate the scapegoating, blame-shifting and excuse-making by which Newt Gingrich is attempting to provide a pre-emptive explanation of his looming defeat here in Florida. Among other things, Newt is once again pointing the finger at Rick Santorum:

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says rival Rick Santorum should take a look at the poll numbers, which show Gingrich beating him, and drop out.
“The longer conservatives stay split, the harder it’s going to be for us to [beat Romney],” Gingrich said on FOX and Friends on Tuesday. “And I think that we risk not being able to beat Obama unless we get a conservative. I have to win the nomination.”
Santorum is sapping conservative votes from Gingrich, the former House speaker said.

Ed Morrissey slaps down that pathetic excuse:

Oddly, Gingrich didn’t appear as principled on the subject of conservative consolidation when Santorum won Iowa and Gingrich finished fourth, nor when Santorum narrowly edged Gingrich for fourth place in New Hampshire. If he was concerned about a conservative sacrificing to make sure a conservative alternative had the strength to beat Mitt Romney at that time, Gingrich didn’t pull a muscle leaping out of his chair to volunteer.

One of the basic traits of narcissism is an ability to accept blame for one’s own failures, which leads to scapegoating, the attempt to externalize blame in order to protect the narcissist’s glorified mental self-image.

Newt came into Florida riding a wave of momentum from South Carolina and, if it is true that the Romney machine poured out an unprecedented onslaught of attack ads here, it is also true that Gingrich himself reacted badly. Gingrich had his worst two debates of the entire yearlong campaign, and seemed cranky and irritable all week. But he can’t admit his own complicity in his problems — as if Freddie Mac forced him to take that money — and so what went wrong must always be blamed on somebody else, even if that somebody is Rick Santorum, who barely campaigned in Florida.

Narcissism is a pathology closely connected to paranoia, and the spooky vibes of yesterday’s Gingrich rally in Fort Myers were enough to put me in mind of Richard Hofstadter’s The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Watch this video in which Gingrich promotes the belief that both he and his listeners are victims of “money power”:

“We’re in a very simple campaign. We are pitting people power against money power. No question — you look at the list of top ten donors to Mitt Romney, that’s money power. That is the establishment. Those are the people who would be happy, as George Soros said, with either Obama or Romney, and they do not want a conservative. Those are the people who have led the assault on me over the last couple of weeks, by all sorts of folks whose number-one goal is to keep power in Washington the way it is now. I want you to know, I do not believe it is legitimate for the current establishment to preside over the decay as long as they’re doing well. I think we have an obligation to our children, to our grandchildren, to fundamentally change Washington and, frankly, to fundamentally change New York. We deserve to know the truth about the last four years. We deserve to know what happened to our money.”

The idea of usurpation of authority by an illegitimate, selfish, decadent plutocracy — who strive to conceal the truth about their malign manipulations — is a very familiar theme in populist demagoguery. Without denying the possibility that there are elements of truth in such a claim, the implications of this rhetoric are scary, and there is nothing Reaganesque about this kind of embittered rant against “money power,” promoting the sense of victimhood at the hands of an all-powerful “establishment.” Yesterday’s rally was the subject of my American Spectator column today:

FORT MYERS, Fla. — George Soros, Goldman Sachs, and other forces of the “establishment” are conspiring to support Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, Newt Gingrich warned Republicans here Monday, as Floridians prepared to go to the polls in their state’s crucial GOP primary.
Referring to an interview that Soros — a billionaire notorious for his funding of left-wing causes — gave to Reuters last week in Davos, Switzerland, Gingrich summarized Soros as saying, “We think either Obama or Romney’s fine, but Gingrich, he would change things.” The anti-Gingrich cabal, said the former House Speaker, also includes investment banking giant Goldman Sachs, which backed President Obama four years ago and now — having profited from taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailouts — is bankrolling Romney’s campaign attack ads. “Those ads are your money recycled to attack me,” Gingrich told the hundreds gathered outside Page Field airport here.
He cited no evidence that Goldman Sachs was in cahoots with Romney, and the opacity of the “super PACs” which are pumping millions into this Republican primary campaign makes it impossible either to prove or disprove Gingrich’s depiction of the malevolent forces arrayed against him. Yet he repeated similar accusations in different forums throughout the day — on ABC in the morning, on Fox News in the afternoon, and at each of the five stops on his final whirlwind tour of the Sunshine State — as if endeavoring to convince his supporters that they are victims of a vast conspiracy. Newt seemed to be providing a pre-emptive excuse for what polls indicate will be a decisive defeat for him in Tuesday’s winner-take-all primary. . . .

Read the whole thing. It is impossible for me to think that the American people will be fooled by Gingrich’s playing of the victim card, or that they will accept Gingrich’s absurd claim that he lost Florida because Rick Santorum refused to “consolidate” behind Newt’s candidacy.

I’ve got to tidy up this condo before I leave today. That could take a while, considering the deplorable conditions at the National Affairs Desk:

Don’t blame me. It was the “money power”!




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Comments

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Next thing you know Newt will be wearing sweater vests and talking up his RC bonafides…. (don’t wear horizontal patterns Newt, stick to argyles or vertical stripes)
    After all, in order to get broader appeal he’s already poached on the personas of how many of the other canidates now?

    I could at least give Romney the props for staying within his own self (not that I much care for that self and what it signifies, but at least he does stay within it).

  • elaine

    Dear Newt,

    Candidates are expected to earn votes.  You don’t get them because you believe they’re owed to you.

    You can also call yourself anything you like; that doesn’t make it true.  So you can call yourself the leader of the conservatives, but that doesn’t mean conservatives will follow you.

    If conservatives want to support you, they will.  And if not, they’ll vote for someone else.  It’s pretty early in the process for you to be demanding another candidate step out of the race in order for you to get what you want.  If you can’t beat out two or three other guys, then maybe you aren’t a fit candidate for the office…

    Just sayin’…

    No love,
    elaine

  • http://www.leftbankofthecharles.com/ Charles

    What sets a new mark is Newt’s simultneous condescension toward Santorum while complaining of the Romney campaign’s condescension toward Gingrich.

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  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    It’s bad, but its his own fault, and nobody but his fault. Where he went wrong was in trying the same fucking shit he tried in Iowa. The “I’m going to stay positive and try to appear presidential” bullshit that anybody with a brain knows doesn’t work. In South Carolina, he got a needed infusion of cash and he went for Mitt’s throat. He was strong, aggressive, and decisive in the debates. And he also campaigned in an aggressive, unapologetic fashion, unlike in Iowa.

    In Iowa he didn’t have any choice but to “stay positive”, because he didn’t have enough money to fight back against the onslaught of negative ads. In Florida, though he was still at a monetary disadvantage, he at least had the money to mount a viable response, but he just had to get up on the debate stage and try to act like a “statesman”. That’s what lost it for him. And the fact that he can’t own up to that does not help to put him in a good light. People liked Newt in South Carolina not because he was a statesman, or because he was Churchillian or Reaganesque. They liked him because he was a pit-bull.

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ EBL

    Newt is wrong.  Santorum is the best friend he has.  Newt will not beat Romney head to head, Romney will probably get more delegates.  Newt might however deny him the nomination if he can assemble delegates from Paul, Santorum and himself.  If he really wants this to go down to the convention, he needs Santorum in this race.  

    We have not forgotten about Dede Scozzafava.  

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    INability to accept blame… and I love the picture.  “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…”

  • Anonymous

    This is the equivalent of an NFL team (like the Packers) telling the Giants to forfeit a divisional playoff game, b/c they had the better record in the regular season (and they are SB champs).

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    The irony is, Newt would HAVE no career except for Rick Santorum.  It was Santorum’s job in the House to hold the GOP votes together on big issues while Captain Video rocketed off on another flight of fancy.

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  • Finrod Felagund

    Are you smoking crack?  Rick Santorum went off to the Senate in 1995, before Newt ever became Speaker.
     

  • Finrod Felagund

    Enh, if Rick Santorum had been the target of 8 figures worth of Romney tv lies, I doubt he’d feel much differently.

    Plus, it’s always the person in last that has the pressure to drop out.  Newt may have done poorly in IA and NH, but he was in the middle of the pack, far from last.  Ron Paul will never drop out, so now it’s Santorum running in last amongst the competitive.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Those last paragraphs in your TAS report immediately reminded me of some of the logic used by Julius Caesar.

    What is Newton Leroy’s Rubicon?

  • MrPaulRevere

    The story of Newt’s debacle as told by Led Zepplin :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMKzTJeXQ7o

  • tranquil.night

    Wah, wah.

    Sounds like somebody doesn’t like being told his candidate is just dead weight who’s continued presence is ensuring a Progressive Republican is going to be the nominee.

    Truth hurts I know. You can stomp your feet all you want but it’s not gonna change anything for the better, sucka.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Newt doesn’t do casual – people keep mistaking him for Patton Oswalt’s father, and he gets mad because he is “fundamentally transformative” figure.

    Romney can’t change much – his hair is re-fired in a kiln monthly, and he even wears dress shoes as bedroom slippers.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    You have to understand the Ptolemaic dynamics of Newtonian narcissism.  The major difference between them and Obamaniacal narcissism is the debate of who is indeed at the center of the universe.  Obama insists it’s him, while Newt claims to have changed the paradigm in a fundamentally transformative way.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Newt and his cadre of miscreants keep screaming “lies” but everything said about Newt is true and most said by Newt is false.  Even Nancy Reagan’s people are saying he took the “pass the torch” thing out of context (and note she didn’t write or approve the speech, it was supplied by the hosts).

    The truth is conservatives were done with the SOB after his first two year term as Speaker, it just took another term of suffering to get him out.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    I’m glad you understand – will you break the news to Newt for us?

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    I hope its the Bible. You know, the one in John Robert’s office.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    Or maybe you should break it to Mitt. You can tell him, “Please drop out now, Mitt, the presidency isn’t a shiny bauble for your collection of trophies. Let a real Republican have a shot at it.”

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ EBL
  • Finrod Felagund

    Put down the crack pipe and step away from the keyboard, Adjoran.  Pretty much everything Mitt Romney said about Newt Gingrich’s exit as Speaker was recycled Democratic bullshit.  All but one of the ethics charges were found to be without merit and dropped, save the one that the ethics committee wasn’t competent to judge that they sent over to the IRS concerning his college class that he taught, and a year later, the IRS dismissed the charge.

    The speech in the 1980s that Romney’s people edited to make it look like Gingrich was criticizing Reagan from the Left?  Viciously yanked out of context; Gingrich was criticizing Reagan from the Right, not the Left.

    It would be more accurate to say that everything you post about Newt is false.
     

  • Finrod Felagund

    Indeed.  The only subject that Mitt Romney has never changed his mind on is Ann Romney.
     

  • TR

    Oh yes!  What a treat.

    The pyschological evaluations and musing of a man who idolizes Hunter Thompson, and ‘Gonzo Journalism’ where involvement in the scene to become the central figure in the story is the goal ….blah blah blah. 

     So, the logical goal of the ‘National  Affairs Desk’ is to merely to shift the narcissistic focus from the subject to the writer. 

    Now things are making sense as the theme of this Newt story is one of your favorites too: the blame game.

  • Anonymous

    You must be new here.

  • http://itsaboutliberty.com/ CO

    Santorum is going to fold soon.  It would benefit conservatives if he folded sooner rather than later.

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  • Anonymous

    Santorum has every right to stay in the race as long as he wants.

    And if that means — as it very much means — that the GOP continues to watch its chances of victory in November slip away, well, tough shit.

    It is, however, interesting to watch Stacy dance around screaming “rain! Rain!” while he watches Santorum piss all over the Republican Party’s back.

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    I wasn’t talking about his flip flops — as those are essentially now part of his image as well — just noting that he doesn’t try to play being anything but Mitt Romney.

    Newt has been just in this campaign: the Statesman, the Friendly Debater/Happy Warrior, the Learned Professor, the Historian, the Pitbull, the Underdog…now he’s going for trying to shove Ron Paul from the spot of idealistic anti-establishmentarian firebrand.
    Next thing you know he’ll be trying on Santorum’s skin I wager.

    This makes me a bit nauseaous, and dizzy.

  • David, infamous sockpuppet

    You know, this is what primaries are for? Personally, I was a Bachmann voter, then a Caine man. Yeah, I suppose to be consistent I should switch to Santorum, but I am going with Romney. However, I think that Newt railing against Rick Santorum is dishonest and cowardly. Santorum is getting solid numbers in these elections. OK, it does not appear terribly likely that he can win it, but if people are voting for Santorum over Newt, that is not Santorum’s fault, it means there is something about Newt that people can’t stomach.

    I also think that it is a fallacy that if Rick Santorum left the race that Newt would pick up all those votes. Mitt Romney may be a snooze candidate, but Newt Gingrich is a highly polarizing figure. Not only that, but South Carolinians aside, it is entirely possible that people who are voting for the squeaky-clean Santorum would feel more comfortable voting for the squeaky-clean Romney than the “my personal life is a shambles, but don’t let that stop you from voting for me for President” Newt Gingrich. I think it is entirely possible that even with Santorum out of the race that enough Santorum voters would go with Mitt that Newt would STILL lose big.

    Of course, everything I say here is straight from God’s mouth, I am not just some random schlub commenting on a political blog. I am and EXPERT!!!

    David

  • David, infamous sockpuppet

    Not only am I and expert, I am AN expert.

    (I hate I can’t edit posts after they have been thrown to the winds. Misspelling the next to last word in the punchline ruins the whole joke.)

    David

    PS Once more, I have to commend Stacy on his coverage of the primaries. This is my go-to site for the latest news without bullshit filtering. While Stacy may not give the complete unbiased picture, he makes his viewpoint known up front, and mostly doesn’t let it interfere with his reporting. If I weren’t a poor unemployed grad student, I would certainly hit the tip jar.

    Hmmm. Maybe I can afford $5….

  • TR

    $5 and some AK goes a long way.  – the new guy (lol, Wombat)

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    God help us, if it is.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    We’ve got Mitt Romney, the inventor of ORomneycare and layoff profiteers, and Newt Gringrich, the Fannie/Freddie Flack from Outer Space who got more blow jobs than Clinton ever dreamed of, leading our primaries and there are SERIOUSLY people here who think the problem is RICK SANTORUM?  Are you kidding?!

  • Quartermaster

    Or is a lurker that spends most of his time pulling on a very large bottle of Jack.

  • Quartermaster

    I wish they were.

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Oh that Newt, he’s so funny, such a kidder.

    From what I’ve seen, Rick Santorum did not hold a gun to Newt’s head and force him to act like a hare brained tantrum thrower and disgusting populist panderer.  He’s done that quite on his own with engaging in Mitt (who is also not completely pure as the driven snow here — nobody held a gun to his head and told him to get in this cat fight with Newt, and nobody coerced him into holding a different opinion every time he thought it might be what the target audience wanted to hear, which yeah, that’s what he’s done on enough occasions to make people distrust him; he might be a stellar individual in reality, but this has made him at least appear to be a big ol Sir Rodney which is not what the electorate feels all that confident with going up against the peaching sneakthief).

    So Rick Santorum and Ron Paul can stay in for as long as they bloody well like as far as I’m concerned — the other two are making utter jackasses of themselves.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    I’d take him over Willard Mitt Romney and not think twice about it, or for that matter once.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    It’s gotten to the point where just the sound of Newton Leroy makes me nauseous and dizzy [full disclosure: Willard started causing the same reaction months ago].

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    I’ll be happy the day Newton discovers gravitas.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    You’re on fire so far in this post so far, Adj.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    I’ll take neither and if, at the point of gun, some says choose between the two, I’ll stick my head between my legs and kiss my arse goodbye.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Don’t blame it on the Colonel!  He has eased many a worried mind.

    I’d say that TR is just following in the footsteps of his namesake who was a cretinous, spoiled brat and bore [TR has been around for awhile, WS, as QM says, lurking].

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    You, sir, are a master baiter [and you love it, don't you?].

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Don’t blame me. It was the “money power”!

    Ya gotta fight the power
    Fight the powers that be

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