Published on May 19th, 2011 | by Jeremy Bloom1
Newt screwed the pooch
Impressive. In just the first week of his Presidential campaign, Newt Gingrich has managed to transform himself from conservative firebrand to a RINO derided by Tea Partiers as an embarrassment to his party. His comments on the Sunday talk shows have inspired a shit-storm among fellow Republicans, as well as a glitter-storm from a pro-gay-rights protester (pictured above).
At this rate, it looks like Newt won’t get a chance to shut down the EPA any time soon.
Coming hard on the heels of the implosion of the Trump pre-campaign and the “no thanks” from Mike Huckabee, it looks like the 2012 Republican nomination may come down to a battle between Michelle Bachmann and Mitch Daniels. All good news for President Obama.
What was he thinking?
The shenanigans started during Newt’s appearance on Meet the Press.
Here’s what he said, in response to a question about the Paul Ryan plan, the GOP’s road map that would to essentially privatize medicare.
REP. GINGRICH: I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate. I think we need a national conversation to get to a better Medicare system with more choices for seniors.
And just in case he hadn’t stuck his foot in it deeply enough, when pressed specifically about Ryan’s plan:
REP. GINGRICH: I, I think that, I think, I think that that is too big a jump. I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options, not one where you suddenly impose upon the–I don’t want to–I’m against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.
“But I didn’t mean it”
Since then Newt has attempted to use the excuse that he was unprepared for the “gotcha” questions fobbed at him by David Gregory.
But as you can see from the exchange, there was nothing “gotcha” about the question – Newt went out and rambled his way over the cliff all by himself. (And as for “unprepared… this was Newt’s 35th appearance on Meet the Press, and his fifth so far this year!. They love him there. It’s more likely that his deep comfort level may have lulled him into a false sense of security….)
Despite that, Newt is taking the absurd line that he “didn’t go in [to the interview] quite hostile enough, because it didn’t occur to me going in that you’d have a series of setups.”
David Gregory calls bullshit on that. On The Morning Joe he said (via Mediaite):
“I think he knows that’s quite silly. When he left the interview – he was on for his 35th time and he said I look forward to coming back for number 36. I think he was perfectly fine with the interview.”
“Get out now”
As word got out that the one-time GOP trend-setter had snarled at a basic pillar of modern conservative orthodoxy, the GOP base turned on him like a pack of wolves scenting blood.
Newt was confronted by a right-wing Iowan (at the Dubuque Holiday Inn!) who called him an embarrassment to the Republican party and advised he should “Get out now before you make a bigger fool of yourself”.
The clip has gone viral, but that’s the least of Newt’s troubles.
Newt’s biggest trouble, as usual, is… Newt.