House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is the latest Republican to smack down Newt Gingrich, as Politico reports:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he called Newt Gingrich Tuesday to let him know “he was out of line” when he criticized the House Republican budget. “I disagreed with him,” Cantor told POLITICO in an interview here Wednesday. “And he heard from me that I’m hopeful that he can get on board now and agree that we’re the ones with a plan. [House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s] plan out there helps us show that we’re ready to lead. We’ve taken on every third rail in that plan, contrary to the president and the Democrats, which have still refused to put a plan on the table.”
The irony is great here. The current House leadership, built on a not-Gingrich philosophy (e.g. focused, self-effacing), is telling the former speaker to put a cork in it. Gingrich is approaching the status of former Supreme Court Justice David Souter, the Republican appointee whose only rooting section was on the left. Gingrich likes to posit himself as an anti-establishment figure, but where is the grass-roots support for his attack on the House Medicare reform? There is none.
And this should dispel a myth that many liberal pundits have proclaimed: The Republican Party is torn over the Ryan plan. I don’t know how many times the speaker of the House needs to confirm that it’s the House plan or how often the leadership needs remind the media that Ryan’s budget had exactly four defections. But there simply isn’t a civil war in conservative ranks on this issue. If nothing else the Gingrich mega-gaffe confirmed this.
Frankly, the division is on the Democratic side. Is the Democratic House prepared to follow Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) declaration that Medicare cuts are on the table? Now, there’s an interesting intra-party fight.
As for Gingrich, you wonder how long he is going to keep this up. At some point he’s going to endanger something near and dear to him — his speaking fees.