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Rudy Takala's Columns

Newt Gingrich vs. The Republican Establishment

An entertaining piece written by Keith Koffler for Politico. To quote: "[Romney's] someone with whom the establishment can feel comfortable — who won’t spill merlot on the carpet.... Snarling at CNN’s John King, proposing to colonize the moon and wondering aloud if child labor laws need revising, Gingrich is the end to business as usual."
 
Scroll down or go to Politico  to read it in full.
_______________________________
 
The conservative Republican base understands Newt Gingrich better than the GOP establishment thinks.
 
They are aware of his intermittent apostasies and occasional adventures with crackpot policy. They know Mitt Romney is the one with executive experience and that Gingrich can’t really run things.
 
And they don’t want Gingrich to run things. They want him to destroy things.
 
If you are in Washington and you see a member of the Republican establishment, say, walking down K Street, wrap your arms around them. He or she needs a hug, because probably for the first time ever in a Republican presidential primary the establishment is in danger of being completely ignored.
 
The Republican establishment believes that the birth and rebirth of candidate Gingrich should have ended in the cradle, that he had no right messing up Romney’s coronation in South Carolina and had better be stopped in Florida.
The establishment knows Gingrich. He’s kind of a friend of the Republican establishment. And Gingrich, the establishment says, you’re no president.
 
The establishment may be right. But it may not get its way. Win or lose Tuesday in Florida, Gingrich is in the game for real, because the Republican base is giving him a chance.
 
The grass-roots conservatives, tea partiers, evangelicals and the like who compose the base have had it with the establishment. The base is not only angry at President Barack Obama. The base wants to eat its own.
 
It was nice, polite Republicans, like Romney, who colluded with Democrats in expanding the federal government and who piled up the $15 trillion debt that now threatens to destroy the country. It was upstanding members of the GOP who added a new Medicare entitlement without paying for it, who created new agencies and wove myriad regulations to govern the lives of regular folk.
 
The base wants someone who is not polite, who is not conventional, who has the potential to grasp the established order in Washington by its cuff links and rip out its entrails.
 
For the same reason conservatives fell in love with blunt Herman Cain and his cigarette-puffing campaign manager, they now have eyes for Gingrich.
And the establishment is desperately trying to figure out what to do.
Sure, Republican primaries have, on occasion, created some turmoil. But in the end, someone “sensible” with the imprimatur of the establishment has always prevailed.
 
The nomination has usually been passed like a monarch’s crown — to the runner-up in the previous contest. George H.W. Bush prevailed over Bob Dole in 1988 and then fended off the anti-establishment upstart Pat Buchanan four years later. Dole got the nod in 1996.
 
With George W. Bush, the establishment actually passed its genes from one president to another.
 
Even Ronald Reagan, often cited as the man who broke the establishment, was not the type of uncontrolled meteor that Gingrich is. Reagan had almost beaten President Gerald R. Ford in 1976 and was the heavy favorite going into the 1980 primaries. He had the backing of many prominent Republicans as well as the leading outlet of conservative thought, the National Review.
 
This orderly process of selection does not succeed because the Republican establishment is a kind of omnipotent secret organization that meets every Tuesday in the bowels of the Chamber of Commerce to plot the fate of the GOP.
 
Rather, it is a loose network of Republican thinkers, politicians, lobbyists, staffers and journalists based in Washington who share common experiences — like being educated in the same ivory towers as liberals and having to answer to them at cocktail parties.
 
Within the establishment, everyone can safely turn to one another and say with a reasonable expectation of concurrence that Ron Paul is an unelectable crank with some wacky ideas, that something’s not quite right about Rick Santorum with all his moralizing and religious ecstasies and that Gingrich can’t be trusted with your children, let alone nuclear weapons.
 
Meanwhile, Romney is a robot from Planet Hairdo, but at least he won’t screw things up. He’s someone with whom the establishment can feel comfortable — who won’t spill merlot on the carpet.
 
Romney says that Gingrich is part of the establishment. Technically, Romney is right. Gingrich was House speaker, after all, and then made millions trading off his name and his insider status.
 
But Gingrich is not part of the real Republican establishment.
 
He’s rude. He has weird ideas. And he’s unpredictable. One day he’s huddling in a backroom with Tom DeLay and the next he’s seated next to then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), talking global warming.
 
He rattles the established order. He upsets people. In the 1990s, he removed from power poor old Republican Minority Leader Bob Michel, who every two years had bleated “Oh well” and handed the speaker’s gavel to the Democrat in charge.
 
This is what the conservative base likes. It sees that while Romney will do a modest job reining in the budget, Gingrich might just whack the thing until it begs for mercy and releases all its wasteful programs.
 
It knows that while Romney will oppose the world’s bad guys, Gingrich might just scare them back into their caves and then bury them with B-52s.
 
Snarling at CNN’s John King, proposing to colonize the moon and wondering aloud if child labor laws need revising, Gingrich is the end to business as usual. 

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