After Newt Gingrich’s unexpected big win in the South Carolina primaries, I said that we could expect the Republican party establishment and the oligarchy to freak out and make every attempt to drive a stake through his campaign’s heart.
And lo, as the prophets spake, so it has come to pass, with the attacks on Gingrich coming so thick and fast from every direction that he must be thinking that he is living in the Book of Revelation.
The conservative media chattering class has attacked him. The party establishment is moving to cut off his money supply from traditional Republican donors. The list of Republicans insiders who have denounced his candidacy is big and keeps growing.
Party elders like Bob Dole have come out strongly against him. Those who worked closely with him in Congress, like former Republican House Majority Leader and now convicted felon Tom DeLay, have weighed in against him. Even war-mongering nutcase John Bolton, after being promised the position of Secretary of State by Gingrich in a blatant pandering move to the Israel lobby, ended up endorsing Mitt Romney.
While he has tried to wear the mantle of the Tea Party, it is noticeable that Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, who are always eager to channel populist anger to serve their purposes, have been ambivalent towards him, preferring him to Romney but also disturbed by his attacks on Romney’s history with Bain Capital, which they see as an attack on capitalism itself.
So is anyone supporting him? Yes, but the list only makes Gingrich look worse.
From his jail, where he is serving time for corruption associated with the Jack Abramoff scandal, former Republican congressman Duke Cunningham supports him and says that his fellow inmates support Gingrich too, though none of them can even vote.
From his bus, Herman Cain has finally decided that it is Gingrich on whom he will bestow his blessings. I am surprised that it took Cain so long to do so, endorsing when it is almost too late, given that he and Gingrich have been close for a long time working together on many ventures.
And from her padded cell, Sarah Palin is railing against the Republican party establishment for trying to “crucify” Gingrich, a poor choice of metaphor since the idea of Gingrich as the Spartacus of the Tea Party does not fit someone who only seems to care about himself.
It is unlikely that Gingrich will be able to weather this assault, despite the millions that casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam have poured into a Super PAC supporting his campaign.
But while the party establishment can, and likely will, crush Gingrich’s candidacy, the real question is whether they can shut him up quickly enough so that he does not do permanent damage to their department mannequin candidate Mitt Romney. Gingrich has a huge ego that is megalomaniacal in scope, and such people do not take kindly to being attacked and defeated. He loves the limelight and can be a thorn in the party establishment’s side and hurt their man. But he is not a true believer like Ron Paul or even Rick Santorum who cannot be easily bought off. Newt Gingrich shows all the signs of being a grifter, albeit one with delusions of grandeur, and the Republican establishment can likely shut him up by bribing him with the lure of huge future contracts for his various business ventures so that he and his wife can live the life they feel they are entitled to, of cruises and high-limit charge accounts at Tiffany’s.
So if after Florida we find Gingrich giving up the race and making nice with Romney, you can be assured that deals have been made.