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Posted at 11:20 AM ET, 12/02/2011

Gingrich presidential run inspires fear and loathing in top GOP circles

Sure, Newt Gingrich is surging in the polls. But the blunt truth about Newt is that the people who know him best and have worked with him in Washington want him nowhere near the White House or the top of the GOP ticket — and in the end, that’s likely to doom his chances.

Check out the new National Journal “Insiders” survey out this morning, whichi s particularly devastating to the disgraced former Speaker. This is from a regular panel of well-connected Republican operatives. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so savage by these folks against a same-party politician:

“Winning the presidency is all about discipline, focus, and organization,” said one Republican Insider, “none of which are strong suits for Gingrich.”
“With Newt, we go to bed every night thinking that tomorrow might be the day he implodes,” said another Republican. “Not good for our confidence - or fundraising.” A third Republican stated plainly, “Gingrich is not stable enough emotionally to be the nominee — let alone, the president.”
“Bigfoot dressed as a circus clown would have a better chance of beating President Obama than Newt Gingrich, a similarly farcical character,” quipped a Republican.
“Come on,” sighed another GOP Insider, “the White House is probably giving money to Gingrich as we speak.”

What’s a bit unusual about Gingrich is that there probably is a sharp split between how Washington-connected party actors and those farther outside of Washington or with weaker connections to the national party network feel about him. That’s because he’s been out of office for over a decade, and has been treated as a campaign curiosity until very recently. So there’s been no reason for vetting information to spread from those who worked with him while he was in office to local activists, operatives, and politicians, many of whom weren’t even around when Newt resigned in 1998.

For them, the natural inclination is to assume the best about big-name Republicans, and to treat any negative stories about them as the usual garbage from the liberal media. That will change once they start hearing national conservative leaders calling Newt a “farcical character” and questioning his conservative bone fides, as Club For Growth’s Chris Chocola and others did in the Washington Post article on Newt’s policy positions this morning.

As more party actors hear negative things about Gingrich from sources they trust, they’ll quickly lose what little enthusiasm they currently have for him. After that, it will almost certainly filter down to rank-and-file voters. The Newt moment just is not likely to last very long. Too many top conservatives just want nothing to do with the guy. And for good reason.

By  |  11:20 AM ET, 12/02/2011

 
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