The Newt is a real piece o' work. Getting slammed by many of his fellow Republicans for criticizing Paul Ryan's anti-Medicare plan, which has become a cornerstone of Republican orthodoxy, the various stages of Gingrich's response to the criticism has provided us with an open glimpse into the mind of a shameless political opportunist who fucked up badly and is trying desperately to right the ship.
Apologizing to Ryan, and to Republicans generally, on his knees begging for forgiveness, was the partisan price he had to pay.
But a simple mea culpa isn't good enough. Now he's taken to lashing out at the most obvious target, a target the GOP loves to abuse, namely, the media. (Stewart and Colbert both tackled this last night, hilariously. The funniest part may be that Gingrich, claiming it was all a mistake, says that quoting (accurately) what he said, say, in an ad, would be "a falsehood" -- see clip below. Of course, Democrats would be stupid not to quote Gingrich, and it looks like they'll do just that.)
It's not just that he now says he never should have answered the question, it's that he's blaming the media for what happened, that, for the shitstorm of his own making. He accuses Meet the Press host David Gregory, hardly a gotcha sort of guy, of setting him up, as if he'd never ever ever been on that show or anywhere else on TV, as if he was just some innocent victim who had no idea how Washington works. Meanwhile, his press secretary, Rick Tyler, accuses the media more broadly:
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's hard to cram that much incomprehensible bullshit into a single paragraph, but there you go. (Honestly, do you have any idea what any of that means? The "literati" and their "minions"? And the violent metaphors? An "onslaught"? The guy's apparently insane.)
And so Gingrich goes from being Republican heretic to hero in the span of just a few days. But will anyone buy it? I suspect not. His campaign may not be over yet, but he's gotten off to a terrible start and this whole ridiculous episode -- which, remember, started with him actually saying something that made sense and that many of us could applaud -- will stay with him as long as he stays in the race. Even if Ryan and others in the party accept him back, the base won't be so ready to forgive.