Drudge, conservative media criticize Newt Gingrich
(Politico) -- by By JIM VANDEHEI and MIKE ALLEN --
Newt Gingrich better hope voters who lapped up his delicious hits on the “elite media” and liberals don’t read the Drudge Report this morning.
Or the National Review. Or the American Spectator. Or Ann Coulter.
If they do, Gingrich comes off looking like a dangerous, anti-Reagan, Clintonian fraud.
It’s as if the conservative media over the past 24 hours decided Gingrich is for real, and they need to come clean about the man they really know before it’s too late. This is just a sampling of what’s hitting Newt:
• The overnight Drudge Report banner: “Insider: Gingrich repeatedly Insulted Reagan.” The headline linked to a devastating takedown by Elliott Abrams in the National Review, who wrote, among other things, that Gingrich had a long record of criticizing and undermining Reagan’s most transformative policies.
• Drudge also linked prominently to the American Spectator’s R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s similarly harsh takedown of Gingrich over character: “William Jefferson Gingrich.” In it, Tyrrell writes: “Newt and Bill are 1960s generation narcissists, and they share the same problems: waywardness and deviancy. Newt, like Bill, has a proclivity for girl hopping… His public record is already besmeared with tawdry divorces, and there are private encounters with the fair sex that doubtless will come out.”
Drudge runs hundreds of links to stories of all stripes about candidates, but has been seen by Republicans as favorable to Romney in the past.
• Bob Dole issued a scathing statement Thursday that the Romney campaign provided to the National Review in which he said “it is now time” to rally to stop Gingrich, blamed the former Speaker for losing House Republican seats in 1996, and warned that it could happen again, at all levels of government.
“I have not been critical of Newt Gingrich but it is now time to take a stand before it is too late,” Dole said. “If Gingrich is the nominee it will have an adverse impact on Republican candidates running for county, state, and federal offices. Hardly anyone who served with Newt in Congress has endorsed him and that fact speaks for itself. He was a one-man-band who rarely took advice. It was his way or the highway.”
Dole added, “In my run for the presidency in 1996 the Democrats greeted me with a number of negative TV ads and in every one of them Newt was in the ad. He was very unpopular and I am not only certain that this did not help me, but that it also cost House seats that year.”
• Conservatives are circulating a piece written by the editors of the National Review: “The Hour of Newt.” The editors, who have been extremely critical of Gingrich for weeks, waved conservatives off the Gingrich bandwagon. “Gingrich backers say that he is inspiring. What he mostly seems to inspire is opposition.”
• Ann Coulter, the conservative columnist writing on her self-titled website, warns: “Re-elect Obama, Vote Newt!” She, too, gets Drudge promotion, with a column punctuated with this punch: “Hotheaded arrogance is neither conservative nor attractive to voters.”
• Tom DeLay, a top deputy to Gingrich during the Republican revolution of the mid-1990s, joined the chorus of other conservative members breaking their silence about Gingrich’s erratic leadership style. In a radio interview with KTRH, DeLay said: “He’s not really a conservative. I mean, he’ll tell you what you want to hear. He has an uncanny ability, sort of like Clinton, to feel your pain and know his audience and speak to his audience and fire them up. But when he was speaker, he was erratic, undisciplined.”
A top conservative media figure said the flood of attacks reflects a “Holy crap, it could happen” moment in the movement, as Republican leaders began to realize after Gingrich’s South Carolina victory that he could become the nominee, the global face and voice of their party and theology.
“It could happen, and it would be a disaster,” said the conservative, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect private conversations. “All of us who were around and saw how he operated as speaker — there’s no one who’s not appalled by the prospect of what could happen. He thinks he embodies conservatism and if he wakes up one day and has a grandiose thought, he is going to expect all of us to fall in line behind him...MORE...LINK
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