MSNBC host Joe Scarborough penned a bruising takedown of Newt Gingrich on Tuesday—accusing him of getting "rich off political hate speech" and "spewing childish political insults." Scarborough's feisty tone was a bit surprising considering his political and historical ties to Gingrich. In 1994, Scarborough, a freshman Republican, was swept into office during the Gingrich-led Republican Revolution. To this day, he speaks glowingly of Gingrich's success reforming welfare and cutting taxes. "But 15 years later, Newt Gingrich’s political career is anything but impressive," Scarborough bristles.
The same politician who once saw himself as a latter-day Winston Churchill — sent by God to save Western civilization — now gets rich off political hate speech.
These days, Newt Gingrich’s modus operandi is to smear any public figure who fails to share his worldview. His insults are so overblown and outrageous that after the rhetorical dust settles, the reputation most damaged is his own.
The former speaker seems oblivious to that fact. Or maybe he knows that in a political landscape driven by talk shows, their childish insults resonate in Washington as nowhere else. In a recent New York Magazine cover story called “Cable Ugly”, Gabriel Sherman noted that among most prime-time cable hosts, “schoolyard rules rule.”
Because he has been spewing childish political insults for years, Newt Gingrich just may be a man ahead of his time.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.