Gingrich vs. the conservative establishment

January 26, 2012

I'm not sure which political life Newt Gingrich is on, but it must be getting close to nine. Reviled backbencher, disgraced Speaker, personal issues, written off in the earliest days of his campaign for the White House, then a brief surge checkmated by Mitt Romney's  attack ads,  then a revival in South Carolina, and now new predictions of his demise, driven by some recent polling and some well-known conservative — Ann Coulter, Rich Lowry, Elliot Abrams — saying his nomination spells an Obama landslide.

Well, I agree with them on that point, but, as I said, Democrats have a long history of underestimating Republicans from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. As I have argued before,  Democrats tend to miss the Republican side of the populist coin: both sides have deep resentment and a desire to blow up the system, but for Democrats, it's a system of financial privilege; for Republicans it is the elites in government that are dragging us down.

It's fascinating to see movement conservatives so vocally oppose Gingrich, and, by default, help Romney, a conservative who really squishes. Gingrich is a founding father, after all of their movement. Perhaps they have succumbed to the same malady that afflicts all revolutionaries when they spend too much time away from the field; they become more interested in preserving power than changing it.

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