Remember the golden, hope-filled day when Newt Gingrich announced his candidacy for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination?
Things haven’t gone so well for Newt since then. In fact they’ve gone so bad that The Washington Post selected him for its not-so-coveted Worst Week in Washington award. He left the competition in the dust.
It all began last Sunday for the former House speaker and current 2012 presidential candidate when, during an appearance on “Meet the Press,” he described Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal as “right-wing social engineering.”
Conservatives — from talk radio king Rush Limbaugh to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to some random guy in Iowa (on video no less!) — blasted Gingrich for undercutting Ryan (Wis.). Gingrich, eventually, apologized.
He also warned that any campaign ad which quoted his actual words “is a falsehood.”
Then Politico reported midweek that a search through Gingrich’s personal financial disclosure forms turned up a debt of between $250,000 and $500,000 in 2005 and 2006 to the high-end jewelry store Tiffany’s. Pressed to explain what he had spent such a large sum of money on, Gingrich declined.
Just as things began to quiet down, Gingrich’s longtime spokesman, Rick Tyler, issued a stinging — and somewhat confusing —
statement blaming the media for his boss’s problems. Tyler blasted the “literati” and the “sheep” who, “not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip.” Armed sheep!
And then, the final indignity. At a book signing in Minnesota, a gay rights activist dumped glitter — yes, glitter — on Gingrich.
Most humiliating, Gingrich submitted himself to the errant-Republican ritual of trying to explain himself to Rush Limbaugh. And Limbaugh wasn’t buying it.
But the best thing to come out of it was the above-mentioned press release, which deserves to be remembered long after Gingrich’s campaign is just an amusing memory.
The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding. Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces.
It has already appeared in illustrated form. (I love the cocktail-party-attending sheep in the party hat unloading his clip at Newt.)
And actor John Lithgow did a suitably epic recitation of the press release on Stephen Colbert’s TV show.