Sunday, January 22, 2012

Here Comes Newt Gingrich: America's Premiere White Supremacist and Rightwing Demagogue

Damon Winter/The New York Times
Charles M. Blow


Once again Brother Blow delivers the goods in his slick, sly, and scathing editorial denunciation of one of the most criminally racist crypto-fascist demagogues and scurriously arrogant scumbags in the history of American politics (which is saying a LOT!). As always this utterly despicable fat Klansman in a suit Newt Gingrich rears his myriad ugly heads and faces to dance the white supremacy shuffle for the massive bloodthirsty lynchmob of morons, cretins, and assholes throughout the country who fervently support him. As the Republican/Tea Party express train of pathologically demented clowns masquerading as legitimate candidates for the Presidency continues to crash and burn their way through their primary season it is clearer than ever that a victory for ANY Republican presidential candidate in the national 2012 elections is not merely "unacceptable" but UNTHINKABLE...Stay tuned...


Newt’s Southern Strategy
January 20, 2012

New York Times

Up with Newt. Down with dignity. That’s the way it goes.

Newt Gingrich is surging in South Carolina and has a good chance to win that state’s primary on Saturday. But, as he rises, so grows the dark shadow that he casts over his party and the grievous damage he does to its chances of unseating President Obama.

For Gingrich’s part, he’s a shrewd politician executing a well-honed strategy to exploit an obvious opening.

Aside from Ron Paul’s Libertarian views, which some Republicans find extreme, there is little daylight between the views of the remaining Republican presidential candidates on the major issues. They all want lower taxes, less regulation, smaller government and no marriage among gay men and lesbians.

The debate now is about who best carries the mantra into the general election and has the best chance of defeating President Obama. The answer among the establishment remains Mitt Romney. But Romney goes down sour for many rank-and-file Republicans. Some don’t connect with him. Others don’t trust him. Others outright detest him. Poor Mitt.

Furthermore, his last two debate performances have vacillated between lackluster and disastrous — stammering and stuttering, hemming and hawing, looking out of wits.

In steps Gingrich, with more baggage than Prince Akeem in “Coming to America.” But many Republicans are willing to forgive his flaws and his past because he connects with a silent slice of their core convictions — their deep-seated, long-simmering issues with an “elite” media bias, minority “privilege” and Obama’s “otherness.”

Romney dares not go there. Not Newt. He’s the street fighter with a history of poisonous politics who not only goes there but dwells there. He makes his nest among the thorns of open animus and coded language.

Take the issue of media bias for instance: according to a September Pew Research Center poll, more than three-quarters of Republicans said that news organizations are politically biased. That was appreciably higher than both independents and Democrats. And that same month a Gallup poll found that three-quarters of Republicans believe that the news media are too liberal. This, too, was appreciably higher than independents and Democrats.

Gingrich is using this distrust as a weapon. At a campaign stop this week, a man in the audience asked, “What I’ve been looking for in my candidate is fire in the belly. We’ve got to bloody Obama’s nose. You mentioned challenging him to seven three-hour debates. He has this armor of media surrounding him. If he doesn’t agree to that, how do you plan to aggressively take the gloves off and go after him?”

Gingrich responded, “I don’t want to bloody his nose. I want to knock him out.”

At Thursday’s debate, Gingrich upped the ante by laying into CNN’s John King, the debate moderator, for opening the debate with a question about an interview his ex-wife had given to ABC News alleging that Gingrich had asked for an “open marriage.” He slammed the news media’s “destructive, vicious, negative nature,” said that he was “appalled” that King had asked the question and said that asking it was “as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.” (I can think of something closer.)

Gingrich went on to say, “I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.” Points scored. The crowd ate it up.

In a previous debate on Monday, Gingrich rebuffed a suggestion by Fox News’s Juan Williams, a debate panelist, that blacks might be offended by his notion that they should demand jobs not food stamps, or that poor children lacked a strong work ethic, or that calling Obama the “food stamp president” might be “intended to belittle the poor and racial minorities.”

Gingrich scoffed: “I know among the politically correct, you’re not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable.” More points. That crowd went crazy.

On Friday, Gingrich doubled down and told a campaign crowd that “the idea of work” seemed to Williams “to be a strange, distant concept.”

This conjures the historical fiction that blacks are lazy and plays to the belief among many Republican voters that race is inconsequential to one’s ability to succeed in this country. According to a New York Times/CBS News poll released this week, Republican voters, particularly those in the South, were more likely than all voters to say that blacks and whites have an equal chance of getting ahead in today’s society.

As for the president, Gingrich this week at a campaign stop called the president’s decision to block the Keystone XL oil pipeline “stunningly stupid.” Even more points. The crowd jumped to its feet and pumped fists.

But that’s a mild statement for Gingrich. His hostility, distrust and disrespect of the president has deep roots.

In September 2010, he told the National Review Online that President Obama followed a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview. Gingrich continued, “I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating — none of which was true.”

Gingrich was commenting on a Forbes article by Dinesh D’Souza, the president of the King’s College in New York City. In the article, D’Souza said of President Obama:

“Our president is trapped in his father’s time machine. Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anti-colonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son.”

Gingrich called the article the “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama.” Bonus points. Ding, ding, ding, ding.

Gingrich is appealing to (and exposing) an ugly, gut-level anger and animosity among a sizable portion of the Republican electorate. This may work for him in the primaries, but it doesn’t bode well for his party in November.

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Gingrich Wins South Carolina Primary, Upending G.O.P. Race

Travis Dove for The New York Times Newt Gingrich, with his wife, Callista, in Greenville, S.C., on Saturday. He drew support from a wide swath of voting blocs.

January 21, 2012

New York Times

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Surprising his rivals and scrambling the Republican race for the presidency, Newt Gingrich won the pivotal South Carolina primary Saturday, just 10 days after a distant finish in New Hampshire left the impression that his candidacy was all but dead.

It was a striking development in a months-long Republican nominating contest that has seen the restive base of conservative voters ping-pong among the alternatives to the party establishment’s favorite, Mitt Romney.

With late-night tallies showing Mr. Gingrich beating Mr. Romney by 12 percentage points, it was no small win. Exit polls showed Mr. Gingrich had done it with a formidable coalition of groups that have resisted Mr. Romney’s candidacy all election season long: evangelical Christians, Tea Party supporters and those who call themselves “very conservative.”

Mr. Gingrich now heads to Florida, where he faces a daunting test in seeking to capitalize on his new status as the candidate who poses a singular, insurgent threat to Mr. Romney. He used his victory speech to cast himself as the champion of the party’s anti-establishment wing, reprising his popular castigation of the news media and other “elites” while keeping his focus on the defeat of President Obama.

Standing beside his wife, Callista, as he addressed an exuberant crowd in Columbia, Mr. Gingrich attributed his victory to “something very fundamental that I wish the powers that be in the news media will take seriously: The American people feel that they have elites who have been trying for a half-century to force us to quit being American and become some kind of other system.”

Complimenting the other candidates, he repeated his criticism of Mr. Obama as the best “food stamp president” in history, saying he, by contrast, would be the “best paycheck president.”

The crowd greeted Mr. Gingrich with chants of “Newt can win,” their answer to the party establishment’s doubts about his ability to ultimately defeat Mr. Romney.

But for a night, at least, there was no arguing with the results.

Just 10 days before, Mr. Romney left New Hampshire as the presumed front-runner. He now moves on to the next fight claiming just one of the first three nominating contests, having been stripped last week of his incorrectly declared victory in the Iowa caucuses. That win was instead given to Rick Santorum, who placed third in South Carolina on Saturday.

“This race is getting to be even more interesting,” Mr. Romney, with circles under his eyes and an unfamiliar pallor after days of hard campaigning here, told his supporters in Columbia. “This is a hard fight because there is so much worth fighting for. We’ve still got a long way to go and a lot of work to do.”

But Mr. Romney still has a considerable advantage over Mr. Gingrich when it comes to money and organization, both of which will be vital in the expensive campaign state of Florida, which has its primary on Jan. 31. And Florida is different political terrain from South Carolina, where Mr. Gingrich had cultivated the Tea Party movement’s leaders since its start.

Mr. Romney and the “super PAC” supporting him have been advertising heavily in Florida for weeks, including on Spanish-language television. An analysis by Kantar Media/CMAG shows that Mr. Romney has spent at least $4 million on advertising there.

Mr. Romney’s team was expected to come into the state trumpeting major endorsements and reasserting his status as a favorite of the biggest names in Republican politics. But his hopes of landing the coveted endorsement of former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida were dashed when Mr. Bush said he would not make an endorsement. He told Bloomberg News that Mr. Romney, Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum had all sought his support.

He called on the candidates to leave the “circular firing squad” of their rivalry and make sure that the tone of their debate did not alienate independent voters, especially on immigration. And Mr. Romney should release his tax returns while competing in Florida, Mr. Bush said.

Mr. Gingrich and his supportive super PAC — which pounded Mr. Romney here relentlessly — have not advertised in Florida yet, though Mr. Gingrich has visited the state often. On one visit last week, he told Floridians that his plan was to win in South Carolina and then compete strongly there. It seemed unlikely then.

Mr. Gingrich seized on his South Carolina victory less than an hour after the polls closed.

“Thank you South Carolina! Help me deliver the knockout punch in Florida. Join our Moneybomb and donate now,” he wrote on his Twitter feed. His campaign placed a large ad on the Web site the Drudge Report, popular among conservatives, seeking donations as well.

The super PAC supporting Mr. Gingrich, Winning Our Future, indicated it was ready to run advertisements in Florida arguing, among other things, that Mr. Obama would be able to eviscerate Mr. Romney in debates by holding his more liberal past positions against him.

With a third-place finish here, former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, said he, too, would carry on to Florida.

It was a disappointing night for Mr. Santorum. He was hoping to use his newly declared victory in Iowa, and his expected appeal to religious conservatives in the state, to be the leading challenger to Mr. Romney.

Sounding very much like the campaign of Jon M. Huntsman Jr., after he came in third in New Hampshire — and dropped out several days later— Mr. Santorum’s aides said he would try to compete in several states in an effort to collect delegates and emerge as the true conservative alternative to Mr. Romney.

“We will go to Florida, and then we’re going to Arizona!” Mr. Santorum said at a rally here at The Citadel. “I’m going to go out and talk about how we’re going to have a Republican Party, a conservative movement, that makes sure that everyone in America has the opportunity to rise.”

The campaign of Representative Ron Paul of Texas, who came in fourth, has indicated that it intends to work only lightly in Florida and focus instead on races in the Western and Mountain states. In his concession speech in Columbia, Mr. Paul indirectly dismissed Mr. Gingrich as one of the also-ran candidates who have gone “up and then down, up and then down” in this contest since its start.

Mr. Gingrich intends to stay in front this time.

His victory represents a decisive revival for a candidacy that had been declared dead at least twice, and that came back to life in the last days before the primary here partly because of his commanding debate performances. His aides are using the debates as a selling point in their argument that Mr. Gingrich provides the best challenge to Mr. Obama.

His win effectively resets the nominating contest. Still, Mr. Romney’s aides remain confident that their advantages in Florida will deliver an important and re-energizing victory there.

But as Mr. Gingrich began to climb rapidly in polls this week, and Mr. Romney’s aides prepared for defeat, they said they would not be so bold as to predict an easy time in Florida, given how the momentum could affect the dynamic there. It is Mr. Gingrich who now has the momentum, and, they acknowledge, that could significantly alter the playing field in Florida.

If nothing else, the fact that just over half of South Carolina voters said in exit polls that they made up their minds at the last minute shows just how fluid and restive the Republican electorate remains — a troubling sign for Mr. Romney that Mr. Gingrich is now poised to capitalize upon.

And after being so confident just 10 days ago, the Romney campaign is now fighting not only the perception that Mr. Romney cannot consolidate broad support among conservative voters, but also at least one troubling fact: No Republican has gone on to win the party’s nomination without winning South Carolina since before 1980.

Exit polls showed two key factors in Mr. Romney’s loss: religion and viability. Pluralities of voters who said their priorities were Mr. Obama’s defeat in the fall or a nominee who shares their religious beliefs supported Mr. Gingrich, a Roman Catholic, over Mr. Romney, a Mormon. Over all, two-thirds of voters on Saturday considered themselves “conservative,” and 4 in 10 called themselves “very conservative,” larger percentages than did so in the New Hampshire primary.

Mr. Gingrich, according to exit polls, even beat Mr. Romney among groups that were believed to be solidly with Mr. Romney, chief among them women, debunking pre-primary day prognostications that news of his past marital problems would alienate female voters.

Speaking outside a polling station at the Hazel V. Parker Playground here in Charleston, Lynn Land, 61, said she decided to vote for Mr. Gingrich “at the very last second,” complimenting him for showing an ability to think on his feet at the debates. “He is a seasoned politician and will be able to debate Obama on an even level,” Mrs. Land said.

Marjorie Connelly and Katharine Q. Seelye contributed reporting from Charleston, and Allison Kopicki from New York.

A version of this article appeared in print on January 22, 2012, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Upset by Gingrich Shifts