Thursday, May 19, 2011

Newt Gingrich and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

So, clearly it hasn't been a great couple of days for Newt Gingrich.

First, his entry into the 2012 Republican presidential field last week was mostly greeted with a yawn. And if anyone besides Gingrich actually believed he could ever actually be president, his appearance on Meet the Press last Sunday (and its gaffe-tastic aftermath) probably did as good a job as anything of disavowing them of such misbegotten notions.

What's astounding is that what did Newt in was an accidental moment of lucidity wherein he actually made sense when referring to Rep. Paul Ryan's euphemistically-named "Roadmap to Prosperity," which slices-and-dices Medicare like a cuisinart and is the budget of record for nearly every Republican in the House, as "radical Right Wing social engineering." Whoops, so much for Reagan's Eleventh Commandment.

Needless to say, the immediate aftermath of Gingrich's inadvertent truth-telling didn't go much better, and proved only the beginning of a very swift race to the bottom for the beleaguered ex-Speaker. First, Limbaugh, Ryan, and this guy all lined up to tell Newt precisely what he could go do with himself, then he took a page from the Palin Playbook and claimed victimhood at the hands of the "gotcha" media, because we all know what a partisan shill David Gregory is.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, faster then you can say "you betcha," St. Sarah of Wasilla quickly rushed in to back up Gingrich in about as clear an example of "thanks, but no thanks" that I can think of. The festivities all culminated yesterday in a truly bizarre anti-media, Unabomber-esque manifesto from a Gingrich spox, and a plaintive, heartfelt plea from the man himself not to use his actual quotes, in context, against him. Ah, poor Newt.

Now, if it sounds like I'm exulting a little too much in Gingrich's political self-immolation, it's because I am. I'm not normally one for schadenfreude, but y'know, given how successfully Gingrich has burnished his personal cred (not to mention bolstered his bottom line) by sowing hate, fear, and bigotry (some instances of which I discussed here, here, and here), I'm very happy to make an exception in this case. Couldn't be happening to a nicer guy.

There are a whole lot of lessons, both political and just common sense, that we can take away from Gingrich's Hindenburg moment, but I'd like to think that maybe -- just maybe -- there's a little bit of karmic balance that's being restored here where the universe is saying that when you conduct yourself like a douchebag, you'll eventually get treated like one. Wouldn't that be nice?

Here's Slate's John Dickerson with his read of the post-Gingrich electoral wreckage, and here's Jon Stewart from last night's Daily Show, moving out of the way and letting Newt toss the pie into his own face:

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