Newt Pile-On: Everyone Get Your Piece!
It has been with tremendous amusement and satisfaction that I have watched, over the last week, one of the rarest things in Washington take place: True bipartisan agreement.
What does everyone agree on? Newt Gingrich is an asshole!
Woo-hoo! Count me in!
It really is a beautiful thing to see "Gingrich" and "idiot" in the same headline.
And "It's clear that Mr. Gingrich is off his meds and out of therapy"? Music to my ears (although I think a nice addition would have been "Shouldn't he be off finding women with whom to cheat on his wife?").
But all insults aside, what, exactly, is the deal here?
Gingrich last week viciously attacked the State Department from the bowels of the AEI, which is one of the primary Neocon strongholds. But then, alongside the expected State rebuttals, the entire Republican Party, apparently at the behest of Karl Rove, started whacking Newt in the press. Even Neocon-oriented Defense Department officials, whose eternal War On State has intensified by orders of magnitude over the last six months, took a swipe.
End result? Gingrich suddenly treats the spotlight like a slug treats salt. Good news, right? Go back to your hole, Newt, no one wants you here.
But why did it happen in the first place? Why did Gingrich give his little presentation?
The way I see it, it comes down to the following possibilities:
1. Newt, like Sullivan, saw the cool kids yelling about something, and wanting the spotlight, went a little too far. The speech was made on his own initiative.
2. Neocon/DoD-types had him make the speech as a continuation of their War On State, but didn't realize what an ass he would make of himself. Neocon/DoD tactical error.
3. Neocon/DoD-types had him make the speech as a continuation of their War On State, and knew exactly how big of an ass Gingrich would make of himself. They set him up; this way, some really bad things are said about State in the press, but the Neocon/DoD hands are clean, and they even score points (with the public and with Bush) by denouncing Gingrich. Neocon/DoD devious plan.
4. Someone who wants to hurt the former Speaker for their own reasons convinced him to make the speech. Pissing off Rumsfeld is a bad move for Newt, whose consulting business apparently relies heavily on his access to the Defense Secretary and his lackeys. In making DoD look bad, I think we can safely assume that Gingrich has pissed off Don. Also, getting smacked down by pretty much all of Washington doesn't help one's credibility. Newt was set up.
5. Dissent among the Neocons. Some of them want to declare all out war on State, and sent Newt to lead the charge. When that didn't go so well, the more level-headed Neocons had to put him back into place to keep him from derailing their own plans. The hotheads are having a hard time controlling their own hotheads.
Personally, I favor 1, 2, and 5, but am paranoid enough to think that there's a good chance that number 3 is the case.