"If he actually wins South Carolina, the nomination fight and the party are suddenly in turmoil. It may only be for a week, but even just for that week, it would reveal a primary electorate that is so consumed with its paranoias that it has turned politics completely away from the question of who might govern the country well to who can best embody our hatreds and revenge fantasies."Well, Newt won. And he won because of two separate moments in two consecutive debates that gave voice to the rage that burns in the breasts of conservative Republicans in South Carolina. The Juan Williams moment and the John King moment. After those two (shameless and appalling) displays, the Palmetto State was in the palm of Newt's sweaty hand. On Saturday he won the primary a full 12 points ahead of the hapless Romney. (Tomasky has a wonderful piece on it here.)
Newt knows how to stoke redneck fire. That's for sure. He's a demagogue and mob orator at heart. I'm not surprised that he'd "go there."
If you examine Newt's career, there is little evidence that he is any more ideologically pure than the despised Mitt Romney. Gingrich called the vaunted Paul Ryan budget plan "right-wing social engineering." Gingrich was a big government spender, a check-kiter, and a deal-cutter when he was in Congress. He made $1.9 million in "consulting fees" from conservative bugaboos Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (according to the Romney campaign). He epitomizes big government abuse, with his historic $300,000 ethical reprimand conferred on him by a Republican-controlled House of Representatives. While he was Speaker!
And now he's the right-wing champion? The anyone-but-Romney conservative?
Yep. That's the fact of it. And here's why. For those people, those conservatives, there is nothing more important than that they find a candidate that sufficiently expresses the depth of their hatred. In their grim, joyless worldview, they are a persecuted minority. President Obama is at the head of an army of gays, racial minorities, undocumented immigrants and labor unions that is working to destroy them, destroy their way of life.
Gingrich is their champion. Gingrich bleeds for them. Gingrich sings for them. Gingrich gives voice to their rage and agony. Gingrich hates for them.
Newt Gingrich. Charlatan drum major for the neo-Confederacy.