It’s a loaded question and borderline irrelevant, yet I can’t resist asking. In recent weeks the so-called conservative “establishment” has come out with guns blazing against Newt Gingrich’s schizophrenic Presidential Campaign. A recent Politico article portrayed conservative luminaries such as Ann Coulter, Elliot Abrams, Bob Dole, Drudge, and former Gingrich hatchet man, Tom Delay, in an attempting to derail Newt’s campaign for the Republican nomination. Even Pat Buchannan, the firebrand of the conservative conscious, called Gingrich on his Reagan credentials, claiming, “Newt Gingrich was considered quite frankly by a lot of folks to be something of a political opportunist who was not to be trusted and who played no role whatsoever.” Could this all be a concerted effort by the Republican “establishment” to make sure the former Speaker doesn’t grab the nomination? Perhaps.
A more telling sign of the general disapproval towards Gingrich actually comes from his former place of business, the House of Representatives. According to The Hill newspaper, only 10 members of Congress have so far endorsed Newt. A whopping 2 of those served with him while he was Speaker, hardly a ringing endorsement of his leadership.
On the other hand, his primary rival, Mitt Romney, has garnered 73 endorsements from current Congressmen and Senators. Twenty-one of those 73 served with Gingrich in the House. Those who have endorsed Romney over Gingrich include: Dave Camp (Michigan),Chairmen of the Ways and Means Committee, Hal Rogers (Kentucky), Chairman of Appropriations, Buck McKeon (California), Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Lleana Ross-Lehitinen (Florida), Chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, John Mica (Florida), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Mike Rogers (Michigan), Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Endorsements don’t win elections but they don’t hurt ( I may have to revisit this position in light of the potential adverse effect Herman Cain’s endorsement of Newt might have with women). Elections are popularity contests, and Gingrich is not popular with rank n’ file Republicans. Whether that qualifies them as “establishment” is probably a bridge too far. Pointing fingers at the “establishment” seems to be nothing more than a cheap ploy by Gingrich and his surrogates to boost Gingrich’s populous appeal.
There is no doubt that Newt has taken rather a beating in recent weeks at the hands of the Romney machine. Normally I would sympathize with Newt, but he always appears to be playing the victim. Gingrich’s reluctance to run a traditional campaign has yet to cost him the nomination, but it certainly hasn’t done him any favors. The best Gingrich can do is receive annual capital injections from Las Vegas Casino owner, Sheldon Adelson, in hopes that he can keep pace with Romney financially.
In the latest primary result of Florida, Newt was taken out to the woodshed by the better organized and better financed candidate, Romney. In defeat, Gingrich was defiant, claiming he had 46 states to go before securing the nomination. This was vintage Gingrich.
I then come back to my original question: Does anybody like Newt? Probably, but they’re certainly not sprinting to his defense.
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