Newt Gingrich’s Friendly Fire Problem

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The main problem Newt Gingrich faces in his campaign for President is not going to be the number of liberals who don’t like him. It’s going to be the number of conservatives who don’t like him.

This goes way back. Sure, the Republican base was delighted when Gingrich led the party to control of the House of Representatives in 1994—the first GOP majority in some 40 years. But as conservatives all over Washington will tell you, Gingrich is a very difficult person to stay delighted with. His defenestration as Speaker of the House just four years later was reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” You couldn’t tell who finished Newt off, because practically everyone in the Republican caucus put a knife in him.

But let’s go to the links. Here’s Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary:

As shocking and ill-considered as Clinton’s cavorting in the Oval Office was, the fact that Gingrich was prepared to engage in similar behavior while hauling the president over the coals for his indiscretions and putting the country through the trauma of an impeachment trial must be considered hypocrisy on an Olympian scale. It’s not that Gingrich’s bad behavior excused Clinton’s. It does not. But Gingrich’s obvious belief that the rules that he sought to apply to others did not apply to him bespeaks a sense of entitlement that illustrates all that is bad about Washington politicians.

Or if you prefer your conservatives more paleo-con, check out this item by Jonathan Adler at the National Review. Pay attention to the comments—not a lot of love for Gingrich there. Meanwhile, John Podoretz of the New York Post surveys his quarter-century acquaintance with Gingrich and concludes: “He’ll never be President.”

While he may understand the kinds of hot-button issues that get to people, what he does not understand is how he, Newt Gingrich, comes across to people. The answer: not well.

His career as a public figure has been marked by the kinds of tin-eared pronouncements, mostly about the personal misconduct of others, that can only be likened to a brilliant professional golfer who consistently knocks the ball into the same water hazard again and again.

Typically of Podhoretz, it’s an entertaining read. Check out the whole thing.