In recent days, Newt Gingrich seems a lot like the post-02/24/04 Andrew Sullivan, a once-astute political thinker letting his own self-regard blind him to the principles he once espoused, principles which helped him advance in the political arena. Ed Morrissey shows how Newt once supported the Ryan plan he decried last Sunday as “right-wing social engineering.” Similarly, Andrew once opposed policies he would later come to embrace when Barack Obama pushed them.
Both seemed to have shifted course in order to curry favor with the media.
Newt may well still have the political acumen that helped him see a path to Republican congressional majorities in the 1990s, a acumen he often displays in his commentary on FoxNews. If he is still attuned to the ways of American politics as he once was, he must know that he has no chance of securing the Republican nomination next spring, much less winning the White House next fall. Perhaps his ambition for the job he covets has blinded him to reality of the situation he’s in.
You can’t succeed in the rough-and-tumble of Republican presidential politics with all the leading conservative commentators (and most of the minor ones) criticizing you. You don’t win them back by dispatching your spokesman to call them “sheep.”
Newt should rest on his laurels — and do what he does best (dispensing political commentary). Like Andrew Sullivan who took the slings and arrows of outrageous critics for challenging the gay orthodoxy, no matter what Newt, who took on similar slings and arrows for advancing conservative ideas, does, he has a secure role in American political history. Sullivan’s role as a pioneer in providing politically incorrect gay opinion in the public arena will always distinguish him from the run-of-the-mill gay left-wingers. And Gingrich will always deserve credit for forging the first Republican majority in Congress in (at least) two generations built on set of principles — and for helping elect the first successive Republican congresses since before the rise of FDR.
NB: Tweaked the post to fix a number of glaring typos and to improve the flow.