It did not seem possible that Newt Gingrich, star of the biggest political flameout of the 1990s, would find himself weeks away from the 2012 Republican presidential nominating contests and leading by double-digits in both national polls and three of the four early primary states. But thank Allah he is! Go Newt! This is the best thing that's ever happened. Now let's watch some elite conservatives pundits squirm.
Squirm, David Brooks!
As nearly everyone who has ever worked with him knows, he would severely damage conservatism and the Republican Party if nominated
HRH Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal banking pamphlet, with her regular Friday hallucination:
Those who know him fear-or hope-that he will be true to form in one respect: He will continue to lose to his No. 1 longtime foe, Newt Gingrich. He is a human hand grenade who walks around with his hand on the pin, saying, "Watch this!"
What they fear is that he will show just enough discipline over the next few months, just enough focus, to win the nomination. And then, in the fall of 2012, once party leaders have come around and the GOP is fully behind him, he will begin baying at the moon. He will start saying wild things and promising that he may bomb Iran but he may send a special SEAL team in at night to secretly dig Iran up, and fly it to Detroit, where we can keep it under guard, and Detroiters can all get jobs as guards, "solving two problems at once." They're afraid he'll start saying, "John Paul was great, but most of that happened after I explained the Gospels to him," and "Sure, Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize, but only after I explained how people can think fast, slow and at warp speed. He owes me everything."
Ramesh Ponnuru of the National Review, which is more and more "Romney Country" by the day:
"The people who know Gingrich best - the ones who worked for him, or worked with him, or watched him closely as journalists in the 1990s - have almost all concluded that he is a bad fit for the presidency," Ponnuru said in an email. "That judgment is shared by conservative and moderate congressmen, by people who support Romney and people who want an alternative to him. The common denominator is alarm at what Gingrich would do to the Republican party as nominee and to the country as president."
These pundits' collective fears, though, is best represented by the final couple of seconds of this first Romney attack ad on Gingrich. The ad seems to be over, until Gingrich's fat head reappears, with ominous music. This is going to be so fun! You'll need to bring a few sets of pants.