It’s for reasons such as this that I fail to embrace the spin promulgated by the mainstream media and Sarah Palin that the question of Romney vs Gingrich is about Corrupt GOP Insider Party Boss Establishment Ruling Class Massachusetts Moderate “Frugal Socialists” vs Authentic Washington Outsider Tea Party Grassroots Activists Who are Serious About Shrinking the Federal Government and Restoring American Greatness. There’s just too much evidence that Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich both fail their conservative ideological purity tests.
The problem the MSM and the Gingrich/Palin Camp are running into in their attempt to establish this meme is that too many trustworthy conservatives who know the Speaker’s history and temperament won’t fall in line behind it.
So now Gingrich has to turn his guns on them too. Behold Lunar Colony Gingrich appearing in a telephone interview on Fox News declaring Ann Coulter “all over the map” (emphasis mine):
Victor Garcia: You have been taking a lot of hits from Tom Delay now, Ann Coulter some of these people that some would consider on the far right of the conservative spectrum. What is your response to the criticism of those ones? Why do you think they are attacking you?
Newt Gingrich: Look I think there are a whole bunch of folks who represent the old order; they attacked Ronald Reagan in 1980 exactly the same way. They are looking at a national poll that shows me ahead of Romney 52-39 in a two way race and they are recognizing that if I come back as president, that I will be for very dramatic, very bold change and they are terrified. I have no interest in what Tom Delay did that got him in trouble. I thought it was wrong and a mistake, I have a very different approach to that and I have no Idea what motivates Ann Coulter but I find that she is all over the map. Basically she is for Romney and therefore anything she says about me is a reflection of the fact that she is for Romney. I expect people who are for Romney to attack me because they are terrified because he is losing.
Doug Ross who highlighted this clip (hat tip to him) ended with this suggestion to try and explain away Coulter’s criticisms:
I have no problem whatsoever with Coulter voicing her opinion, but she should — like Karl Rove — disclose whether any financial interests are playing a part in her support for Romney.
Apparently a lot of Tea Partiers are having a hard time understanding why commentators and friends they are generally in synch with would not join them in supporting Newt Gingrich. They choose not to listen to our objections to the Speaker’s erratic, emotional temperament and instead flirt with conspiracy theories — that we’re secretly being paid to help “foist” a squishy center-right loser on an unwilling conservative grassroots. When asked point blank to try and answer Coulter’s case against Newt, they do the same as the Speaker did above, just throw up their hands and intuit that it’s some mystery or we’ll just say any nonsense to elect Romney.
Meanwhile we’re told that it’s time to stop talking.
The worst thing of all, though, considering all the alleged evil the MSM keeps highlighting, is the fact that America’s premier conservative commentators aren’t doing anything to help. Rather than building up their candidate of choice, they too are just as busy as the MSM, and the candidates themselves, in the savagery of their attacks against the candidates they don’t like.
It’s worth remembering that Newt rose to prominence during the debates because, in the beginning, he kept a laser-like focus on Obama. He pointed out Obama’s myriad, manifest flaws and failings, and articulated ideas that promised to help America recover from her experiment with a true Leftist in the White House. His numbers rose. When Romney went negative, though, so did Newt — and so did everyone else. In the last couple of months, the flesh-ripping on the debate stage is sickening, and the political commentators, rather than stepping in to help focus the voters on their chosen candidate’s attributes, are standing at the base of the stage drinking up the flowing blood.
THIS IS NOT HELPFUL. If you’re going to have an opinion, advance useful information that helps affirmative decision-making and that helps staunch the sanguinary stream we’re currently giving as a gift to the MSM. Yes, it’s good for the candidates to get groomed to fight the dirty fight, because it’s going to be very dirty indeed when they stand on a stage opposite Barack Obama. I think, though, that we can comfortably conclude that the current batch has the grit to take the hits. It’s time now to give the voters the help they need to choose the best candidate, rather than just to avoid the worst.
Bookworm does not name me directly (though earlier she mentions the variety of views among PJM’s writers) but I suspect she’s probably thinking of the kind of anti-Gingrich critique advanced by Coulter on Fox, Beck on his radio show, and me here at PJ Tatler. She’s telling us to cool it with the personal attack against Gingrich’s erratic, unreliable temperament and instead focus on the positives of Romney.
No. It’s time to relax for a moment.
This isn’t cannibalism. This isn’t bloodletting. Nobody’s going into the gulags. No real damage is being done to anyone. This is just typical, rough and tumble American politics no different than what our founders engaged in when they used pamphlets instead of blogs. Whenever we start worrying about civility in politics because too many people are saying things in too mean a way and oh no, maybe those bad words will tear apart our glorious republic, remember this wonderful Reason video on “Attack Ads circa 1800”:
Political scientists have known and written about for a long time how voting is primarily a negative act. We are usually driven in our votes not out of enthusiasm for what our candidate will do but what terrible things the other guy will if he’s not stopped. Take that impulse and amplify it by millions of minds and 21st century new media technology and you’ve got American political life circa 2012 — by and large the same game it’s always been. And it might get ugly sometimes, friendships might occasionally get burnt or even lost, but in the end eventually the process works as intended and America continues.