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Beyond Waterloo: Newt Gingrich and the Cost of Self-Destruction

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A few days ago, I said that former House speaker Newt Gingrich was not merely scraping, but actually carving through the bottom of the barrel in his attacks on former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Over the weekend, in the battle for this year’s Republican presidential nomination, the former, a self-styled “bold Reagan conservative”, began barraging the latter for being something shocking, terrible, and immoral; a capitalist. It would appear that not only talking the talk but walking the walk of free enterprise is a new entry on the already long list of cardinal sins held by right wingers. Respectable pundits and radio entertainers alike, from Charles Krauthammer to Rush Limbaugh, have noted the hypocrisy and quintessential ludicrousness of Gingrich’s latest strategy.

Indeed, their opinions were substantiated by the results of New Hampshire’s all-important primary on Tuesday night. Romney finished first, with nearly forty percent of the vote, and Gingrich humiliatingly came in fourth place at nine percent. Interestingly enough, the harder he hit Romney for being a corporate asset manager, and one with a very high success rate at that, the more his performance in virtually every major poll declined. It would seem that the notoriously independent minded, and largely blue collar, electorate of the Granite state saw directly through the smoke that the desperate, and nearly deposed former speaker was blowing across the board.

However, Gingrich has gleefully opened the door for President Obama, and far more importantly, his top campaign strategist David Axelrod, to pick up seamlessly on his line of attacks. While the Obama camp would have most certainly brought up Romney’s career as a venture capitalist during the fall, Gingrich has given them enough free ammunition to stockpile an entire army. Although until now the faux Reaganite has brought absolutely nothing of substance to the race, he is actively detracting from the GOP’s ability to achieve any sort of victory this November.

Due to his immense ego, I would not be surprised in the least if Gingrich endorses President Obama should Romney ultimately carry the Republican banner. Such a thing would be totally in keeping with his character, or lack of it.

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About Joseph F. Cotto