Welcome to Armageddon, South Carolina. Don’t mind the hail, the brimstone or the roaring of the Beast. That’s just Gingrich’s most recent ad campaign.
I’m not exaggerating.
When Rush Limbaugh, Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani all think you need to cool it a little, you know you need to cool it a little.
“What the hell are you doing, Newt?” Rudy Giuliani asked, recently.
Even Newt Gingrich, in a moment of reflection, thought this guy had gone too far. But then he took it back.
After all, this is Newt Gingrich. And he’s on a vendetta that would make a nice Shakespearean revenge tragedy, if Shakespeare comes back to earth any time soon and finds himself strapped for material.
Who knows what triggered it.
Maybe it was the news that Twinkies-maker Hostess was going bankrupt that sent him over the edge.
Maybe, as my colleague Dana Milbank pointed out, it was just that those 5 million super PAC dollars were burning a hole in his pocket. “Spend us,” they murmured. “Spend us on attack ads.”
Maybe he was just sick of being addressed as Newt Romney.
Or maybe it was that Mitt Romney made the critical mistake in Iowa of attacking someone Newt Gingrich loves very much, the person whom Newt respects more than anyone else on earth: Newt Gingrich.
Newt Gingrich recently announced of South Carolina that “This is going to be Armageddon.” He wasn’t kidding. It turns out that when Rick Perry called it his Alamo, he was understating the case. Storm clouds are gathering in the horizon. Newt’s ad people are getting in touch with the locusts and the Pale Horseman (Santorum) is darting around sowing apathy and pestilence among the voters.
It’s time Newt’s friends staged an intervention. Does Newt still have friends? I worry that he doesn’t. For him, the world is divided into three categories: People Who Haven’t Met Him Yet, People Who Have Already Bought A Copy of His Book and Mitt Romney Supporters, whom he sneers at as he passes them in the street.
Instead, everyone watches in terror as the horsemen of the Newtocalypse go barreling over the earth, devastating everything in their wake. Even the Wall Street Journal can’t manage to halt him.
It’s hard to say, “Look, Mitt Romney is going to win, and everyone else needs to stop shooting the Republican nominee in the foot.” So they’re trying everything short of that.
“We know that he has large and appealing feet, and that you love to shoot things,” they murmur soothingly to Rick Perry, who is stumping around South Carolina calling Romney a “vulture capitalist.” One has the sense that this is less an innovative coinage than something Perry said by mistake that wound up sticking. But Rick Perry is one thing. No one is listening to him, and he seems to be spending most of his money on patriotic bunting and Brokeback Mountain jackets.
Newt “Newtaniel” Gingrich is another — especially when he’s insisting that it’s Armageddon and he must unseal all the seals super PAC money can unseal. And you try sitting down with Newt Gingrich and saying, “Shut up, Newt.”
Has anyone ever done that successfully? He was called the Speaker of the House for a reason. Well, admittedly the reason was that he’d been elected Speaker, but the title works on multiple levels.
Someone at the Iowa caucuses described him as a “gutter fighter.” That’s accurate. It’s the sort of thing you need in the general election. In the primary — “Wrong gutter, Newt!” everyone yells.
It goes unheeded.
He’s just unleashed Gog and Magog, and — worse — a video reminding voters of the time Romney drove cross-country with his dog on top of the family car.
It’s Armageddon, all right, a clash of giant egos against the sky that makes the earth quake. Mere mortal voters can’t go outdoors without being hailed on with negative advertising and the occasional actual ball of hail. Fire spurts from Ginnungagap. Fenris the Wolf rages over the earth. The head of Mimir murmurs nonsensical things. Or maybe that’s just Rick Perry again. Santorum and Huntsman fall, pierced by each other’s weapons. Ron Paul announces that the Book of Revelation actually makes perfect sense to him. The Fates cover their eyes and pray that November comes swiftly.
Bain isn’t Romney’s bane. Newt is. And he will not give his campaign permission to die until Romney is in ashes. Unless someone can stop him.
You might have better luck with the hailstorms.