Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Backstabbers in their Midst

Great Josh Marshall piece on the instant implosion of the New Gingrich campaign barely days after its announcement. His biggest mistake doesn't seem to be calling President Obama the "biggest food stamp President" which is just heinous with identity politics, but that he called Paul Ryan's Medicare elimination plan "Conservative social engineering" and "too radical" for America. (Hey, that sounded like surprising sanity to me.) It's been a particularly wild firestorm:
And now it comes out that this afternoon Newt was compelled to personally call Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to apologize for questioning and criticizing Ryan's Medicare phase-out plan. And his spokesman publicly stated that Newt apologized. Publicly. On the record. Voluntarily.

I mean, wow. Watching TV just now, I see that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is now lashing out at Gingrich as some sort of GOP health care policy traitor.

What's breathtaking about this isn't just the reckless ridiculousness. That's Newt's trademark. But I can only imagine Newt's mortification. This is a man of no little ego. Whatever else you want to say about Gingrich, he is a genuinely historic figure in the history of American politics. And he's called on the carpet and has to apologize to these newcomers who couldn't have been out of their 20s when he was in his early 90s heyday?

I can only imagine.

It's all about fear, as Josh points out, which is exactly what Obama was saying in the last election (and Bill Clinton the decade before that): hope vs. fear. And all the GOP are terrified, mainly of their own Party. After all, Dems don't scare them. Case in point, per TPM:

"If 90 percent of the oncological community said something was causing cancer we'd listen to them," former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman told Time in a new interview. "I respect science and the professionals behind the science so I tend to think it's better left to the science community - though we can debate what that means for the energy and transportation sectors."

The reaction to that little nugget was about as you'd expect.

Never mind that Huntsman also backs off his past support for cap-and-trade in the interview, or that he basically says that while climate change is a problem, it's not one that America should deal with until after the economy recovers (both standard GOP talking points). It's his basic understanding of the concept that human-caused climate change is real -- and even worse, that maybe something should be done to stop it -- that caused a stir on Tuesday.


Over at RedState, Daniel Horowitz wrote that Huntsman's views on climate change's human origins were just another piece of the Huntsman which conservatives have found less than palatable thanks to his moderate views on gay rights (he's for civil unions) and the uncomfortable fact that until this month he was a full-fledged member of the Obama administration.

The interview Huntsman gave to Time "can only mean that he is seeking the VP nomination for a Mike Bloomberg ticket," Horowitz wrote.

Fear of betrayal, core of Conservative paranoia.

Hence purity tests.

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