Is the Republican Coalition Against Gingrich Insurmountable?


Virtually the entire GOP establishment, conservative intellectuals, and even Ann Coulter are against the former Speaker of the Housegingrichbook.banner.jpg

In his most recent appearance on Hugh Hewitt's talk radio show, New Yorker staff writer Ryan Lizza talked about the Republican establishment's disdain for Newt Gingrich -- and Hewitt pointed out that the coalition against the former House Speaker's candidacy goes well beyond them.

Here's the transcript:

LIZZA: one thing about Gingrich that has just sort of shocked me, and maybe I should have realized this, but the level of hostility towards this guy from frankly the Washington Republican establishment, is off the charts. I've been, I don't get out much. I have two small kids. But I've been going to a few holiday parties here in D.C., and all the conversations, of course, are about Gingrich. And I mean, there are Republicans in this town who are saying that they would vote for Obama before they would vote for Newt Gingrich in a general election.


LIZZA: And so this may be something you can help me understand. There's a major mismatch here between, for lack of better words, the Republican establishment and the people who are telling pollsters that they like Newt better than Romney.

HEWITT: What's interesting, Ryan, I think there are two camps. They're, you know, Ann Coulter and Mark Steyn, neither of whom fit the term Washington insider...

LIZZA: Right, right.

HEWITT: Both has lacerated Newt Gingrich on ideas. Then, there is that great silence from everyone who served with him in Congress. I guess John Boehner broke that silence with Mike Allen today. I haven't read it, yet. I was told by Chris Cillizza that Boehner damned with faint praise today. So there is a Beltway hostility, but there is a public intellectual hostility that I think goes to his ideas, which are not, in the final analysis, conservative.

LIZZA: And a lot of conservative intellectuals don't respect him, and think he's been all over the place, and he latches onto whatever the hot, new thing is, and then drops it two seconds later, and doesn't have an attention span.

It is difficult to imagine Gingrich winning the GOP nomination with a coalition this diverse arrayed against him. And even less so when he's widely thought to be the weaker general election candidate.

As Lizza put it later in the same conversation:

You can't find a Democrat in Washington who thinks that Newt Gingrich would be a better candidate, would be more likely to beat Obama than Romney. I mean, it's just, I've searched for these people. I've searched for the counter argument here, the sort of person who's thinking outside the box and says oh, wait a second, actually Gingrich would be tougher to beat.

You can't find that person.

Also hard to find: prominent champions of the proposition that Gingrich should be president. Absent that, I don't think he can win.

Image credit: Reuters

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Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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