The conservative establishment is coming for Newt Gingrich …
The Wapo’s conservocolumnist Jennifer Rubin details the myriad assaults on Gingrich, all intended to derail him before he messes around and wins the Iowa caucuses. A clip:
Last night the Des Moines Register gave its endorsement to Mitt Romney. As important as the endorsement itself was the rationale, which stressed his business experience, sobriety and good judgment. (“Rebuilding the economy is the nation’s top priority, and Romney makes the best case among the Republicans that he could do that.”) Throwing in a pointed dig at Newt Gingrich is a welcomed bonus for the Romney camp. (“Newt Gingrich is an undisciplined partisan who would alienate, not unite, if he reverts to mean-spirited attacks on display as House speaker.”)
To the degree this high-profile endorsement reinforces the growing narrative, it is good news for Romney and bad for everyone else, but especially Gingrich, who is undergoing a full-scale assault from all quarters.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is continuing to pummel him. I asked her campaign about Gingrich’s repeated accusations in debates that Bachmann had her facts wrong. Spokeswoman Alice Stewart called Gingrich’s behavior “dismissive and condescending to a substantive charge against his record by a serious candidate.” As for Gingrich’s own selective memory about his ethics problems, Stewart was blunt that this proves Bachmann’s point: “Speaker Gingrich consistently tries to rewrite history, and, while he is entitled to his own opinion, he’s not entitled to his own set of facts. The fact is that each charge Michele leveled against speaker Gingrich has been followed up with supporting documentation.” In other words, Gingrich is not only a jerk but a self-deluded jerk.
That conclusion seems to be permeating the once-friendly conservative media, which seems to be on the verge of making peace with Romney. If Rush Limbaugh is saying nice things about Romney’s debate performance, things are looking up for him and not so good for Gingrich. The base may not love Romney, but perhaps it has come to appreciate him at least in comparison to Gingrich, upon whom every corner of the right-leaning media is firing.
The in-coming is coming from everywhere …
The neocon National Review is all-in, devoting an entire issue to bashing Newt from all corners;
Newt is taking serious heat for his latest “zany” idea: abolishing the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, because it displeases him, and having the Capitol police arrest judges who rule in ways President Gingrich disfavors. Seriously:
…(Huffington Post’s Sam Stein) Newt Gingrich has turned his presidential campaign into a veritable megaphone warning about the dangers and elitism of America’s judicial system. The former House Speaker held a half-hour phone call on Saturday during which he pledged to abolish courts and eliminated activist judges he believed were either outside the mainstream or infringing too deeply on the commander in chief’s authority.
On Sunday, he followed that up by saying he would be willing to arrest a judge who he thought was out of line.
“If you had to,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” when asked if he would send a Capitol Hill police officer to round up a judge, “or you would instruct the Justice Department to send the U.S. Marshal.” His preference, he added, would be to impeach the judge in question.
His preference? Poor Constitution. Newt will only follow you if that, in the end, is what he prefers… Back to Ms. Rubin:
Matt Franck explains: “He apparently wants to abolish.?.?. [the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit] and then recreate it in some fashion, with new vacancies. That’s cheating on the Constitution’s rules for the removal of judges one doesn’t like. If the problem is the judge (not the court), then the Constitution provides for impeachment. That’s difficult, both procedurally and in terms of the standards to be applied to justify removal. But it’s difficult for a reason. I have often said that judicial independence is something we could stand to have a lot less of. But there are right ways and wrong ways to bring activist judges to heel. This is a very badly wrong way.” (The entire dialogue between Frank and Ed Whelan is worth a read.)
The Wall Street Journal echoes similar criticism of Gingrich’s ideas for abolishing the Ninth Circuit and “subpoenaing justices he disagreed with before Congress and impeaching those whom he believes render ‘radically un-American’ opinions.”: “Mr. Gingrich criticizes judicial activism, but it seems what he really wants to do is expand his own authority to bully and undercut judges who disagree with him. That sounds awfully dictatorial and radically un-American.” And not in the least conservative. Even Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter called him out on this one.
Even John Boehner, who calls Newt a “friend” (and you know what they say about friends in Washington) wouldn’t say on “Meet the Press” this morning that Newt has the “character and leadership skills” to be president. He was asked multiple times by David Gregory, and just kept repeating the talking point he was clearly given in the event he was asked: “I have a big job to do and I’m not going to get drawn into the primary.”
All righty then.