Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I think I'm supposed to regard this as pathetic, desperate, and laughable, but I know Newt Gingrich's target audience -- it's probably too late to salvage his campaign, but if anything can do it, if anything can get the rage junkies of the wingnuttosphere to overlook his Paul Ryan heresy, it's something that sounds like this, targeted at this kind of enemy:

The Gingrich camp thinks the punditocracy's got it all wrong. When asked by The Huffington Post about media coverage this past week, Gingrich press secretary Rick Tyler fired off a response blasting the political and media elite.
"The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding," Tyler wrote. "Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment's cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won't be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces."

This is pure genius -- classically Nixonian in its relish of (theoretical if not actual) combat and in its simultaneous sense of self-pity. This is the kind of thing that keeps Sarah Palin near the top of the GOP charts -- yes, still, according to Gallup -- even as the rest of America rejects her. A post about this at Talking Points Memo is titled "Inside the Mind of Newt," but this is really a look inside the mind of contemporary Republicans. This is what they like. This is who they hate. (Or at least one of the groups they hate.)

Haley Barbour struggled in his presidential race, as I said last winter, not because he made racially embarrassing remarks, but because he didn't blame the "liberal media" for the controversy, which would have been exquisitely satisfying to GOP base voters. Mitch Daniels, Barbour's pal, is likely to fail as a presidential candidate because (as he just told The Indianapolis Star) he wants to "take the venom" out of presidential politics and "show respect for our opponent."

No, no, no -- that's all wrong. Republican voters want venom. Republican voters desperately crave venom -- venom directed against all the right's enemies.

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