Conor Friedersdorf takes on trying the unenviable task of trying to read conservative tea leaves or minds, frequently the same thing – Who Is to Blame for Newt Gingrich’s Rise?
Conservatives don’t come right out and say that Palmetto State voters should be embarrassed for elevating a pompous, erratic, undisciplined serial adulterer who took $1.6 million to pedal influence on behalf of Freddie Mac, supported everything Tea Partiers insist they hated about the Bush Administration, and was unable to manage even a modest campaign staff successfully. It’s apparent, however, that they perceive in his win something that needs defending, for the analysis on offer is mostly exculpatory explanations for why voters did this.
Take Erick Erickson’s analysis.
Debate performances help explain Saturday’s result, the Red State founder begins, “but it has just as much to do with a party base in revolt against its thought and party leaders in Washington, D.C. The base is revolting because they swept the GOP back into relevance in Washington just under two years ago and they have been thanked with contempt… Adding insult to injury, the party and thought leaders now try to foist on the base a milquetoast moderate from Massachusetts. Newt Gingrich can thank Mitt Romney and more for the second look he is getting. Base hostility will now be exacerbated by Mitt Romney’s backers now undoubtedly making a conscious effort to prop up Rick Santorum to shut down Newt Gingrich.” Tellingly, the notion that voters assessed every candidate and decided they prefer Gingrich for the substance of his record, his platform, and his character isn’t even considered. The near consensus is that there must be something else to explain his victory.
For those who are not familiar with him, Redstate blogger Erick Erickson is also a CNN analyst and noble defender of dish washer phosphates. Conservatives have been playing this outsider game since the days of Tricky Dick Nixon and the Silent Majority. They be the real Americans who everyone is go to silence. If only they could have the true conservatism and true conservative leaders of their fevered fantasies we’d all be riding unicorns on streets paved with gold. This would be in between their crazed idolatry of corrupt leaders Like Reagan and Bush 43. We all have a poll bias – citing ones we like – though polls that Erick and the winger base might want to not completely ignore are the ones that show America ain’t lik’n the tea baggers much –Tea Party’s Approval Rating Drops To New Low – New Gallup Poll. To make matters worse most Americans see the tea party revolution in Congress as maliciously trying to undermine the economic recovery. While I tend to see about five degrees of difference between Newt and the tea baggers especially in terms of ethnocentrism and the kind of conservative economic policies that caused the recession, the Republican rank and file sees Newt as a return to the glory days of the early Bush years. Though Connor’s additional insights are correct as well,
That brings me to my theory of Gingrich. I tend toward the explanation that is marginally more charitable to the GOP rank-and-file in South Carolina, and less charitable to the conservative media elites and “thought leaders” who refuse to acknowledge that they occupy an opinion-making, culture-shaping role. Of course a base that gets much of its information from Fox News has a higher-than-justified opinion of Gingrich, a contributor to the cable-news network until he launched his presidential bid. Of course folks who get much of their information from talk radio are inclined to assess the conservatism of public figures based on fiery rhetoric more than the substance of their record: haven’t they been trained to do so by charismatic hosts who daily exalt in zinging liberals and demonizing leftists as if it is the most important metric of a trustworthy ally?
Regular readers and those who check in at TPM, Kos, Media Matters and so forth may find this difficult to believe, but the conservative base actually does see Newt as a conservative with lots of exciting new ideas. When Newt thinks that making kids into janitors, they don’t see that as mindless twaddle, they see thinking outside the box. In S.C. according to one poll even over 40% of conservative fundamentalists voted for Newt. The guy with strange ideas is so attractive to the outsiders who see themselves as perennial victims of civil and gay rights, a victims of a society that has increasing said that women deserve an equal -not subservient role in society – see Newt as the guy who has clever ideas on ways to fight that and all the other progress that an enlightened liberal democracy should stand for.
What a political movement gets when it spends years marshaling more demagoguery than sound arguments against its opponents, what it gets when its intellectuals are deposed by its entertainers, what it gets when Roger Ailes and Rush Limbaugh are its agenda-setting personalities; what it gets when all these factors and more prevail, is a Newt Gingrich victory in South Carolina, where the voters, having been trained to elevate emotion and style over substance, didn’t even realize that they’ve chosen as their champion a man who is neither conservative nor capable of leading anyone.
NMMNB on that crazy spectacle of Chris Christie on Meet The Press or Let’s Watch David Gregory Kiss Conservative Kiss – THE WEASEL WORDS THAT TELL US CHRISTIE REALLY WANTS TO BE VP
The main point of this story from The Hill is that Chris Christie, a Mitt Romney supporter and surrogate, went on Meet the Press and insulted Newt Gingrich (“This is a guy that’s had a very difficult career at times and has been an embarrassment to the party”) — despite the fact that Gingrich appeared on the same Meet the Press broadcast, and despite the fact that Gingrich could be the presidential nominee of Christie’s party. (The latter suggests to me that, as I’ve said before, the GOP establishment really might not back Gingrich if he’s the nominee, treating him the way the party treated David Duke when he made it to the general election in the Louisiana governor’s race years ago. The party might try to secure the Americans Elect line for an establishment Republican instead.)
Chris Al Capone Christie goes over really well with the conservative base. He’s a larger Bill O’Reilly, he does not win arguments as much as browbeats his opponents – it is easy to find comments on the net where conservatives swear O’Reilly got the best of someone when all he did was shout until they stopped talking. In the conservative movement that is considered winning the debate. Putting aside for the moment that Christie is obviously drooling over the chance to become Romney’s VP. Chris Christie, a strong contender with Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Florida’s Rick Scott, as one of the worse governors ever called Gingrich “an embarrassment to the party”. Its like one gutter denizen accusing another gutter denizen of being dirty. How can they tell.
As a result, private-equity firms are increasingly able to profit even if the companies they run go under—an outcome made much likelier by all the extra borrowing—and many companies have been getting picked clean. In 2004, for instance, Wasserstein & Company bought the thriving mail-order fruit retailer Harry and David. The following year, Wasserstein and other investors took out more than a hundred million in dividends, paid for with borrowed money—covering their original investment plus a twenty-three per cent profit—and charged Harry and David millions in “management fees.” Last year, Harry and David defaulted on its debt and dumped its pension obligations. In other words, Wasserstein failed to improve the company’s performance, failed to meet its obligations to creditors, screwed its workers, and still made a profit. That’s not exactly how capitalism is supposed to work.
The people who ran Harry and David into the ground have a defense: economic conditions changed in unforeseeable ways. But that’s precisely why loading firms with debt in order to reap short-term benefits is bad. It leaves companies unable to weather tough times, and allows private-equity firms to make money even if things go wrong.
This analysis is especial striking and timely in light of Romney’s recent remarks to some protestors at one of his rallies, Mitt Romney tells ‘interrupters’ at rally to ‘take a hike’
“No, actually, these are the people,” Romney shouted back. “These are the people; you’re the interrupters. We believe in the Constitution. We believe in the right to speech. And you believe in interrupting. Take a hike.”
Romney’s supporters drowned them out by chanting “U-S-A.”
Elizabeth Myers, in an email, said she was one of the protesters at the rally. She said the demonstrators started the chant “U-S-A,” which the rest of the crowd ultimately joined.
The chant went: “Mr. One Percent. Corporations are not people. We are the people. We are America. We are the 99%. U-S-A.”
Though it was unclear to most of the crowd who the protesters were representing, Romney suggested they were attacking “free enterprise.”
“I love these guys, by the way, who don’t like America and our free-enterprise system, and they have something else in mind,” he said. “Take a look at Cuba; take a look at North Korea; take a look at the former Soviet Union. Our system works. What they’re fighting for does not work. I believe in America.”
At its core the old USSR were thieves who stole the value produced by its workers. At its core as the equity story shows Romney and his fellow “capitalists” or rather thieves by any other name, steal from companies, tax payers, workers and the children of those workers. I am a capitalist. I compete. Unlike Romney I do not get government subsidies and incentives. When most Americans fail, they hit the ground. When the Romenys, Bushes and the conservative elite fail tax payers and workers pay for their failures. Romney is a modern monster, a bitter plutocrat, a thief on has lived his whole life off the productivity of people who produce actual products and services of value; Mittens is another lazy conservative with such a keen sense of entitlement he cannot take an honest look in the mirror. If America is not a free market economy in ten or twenty years it will be because of conservatives who think like Romney sucked all the goodness out of capitalism like greedy vampires who worshiped their own blind egos more than they ever cared about American ideals. If Thomas Jefferson were president today, conservatives would be yelling at him a socialist, the food stamp president, and all the other names they call President Obama and anyone who does not support government by and for corporate America. “I hope [that] we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength and [to] bid defiance to the laws of our country.” – Thomas Jefferson