This week’s coordinated Republican takedown of frontrunner Newt Gingrich has started affecting his poll numbers, notes Jonathan Bernstein. It would help if the opinion crowd would jump in to save Mr. Gingrich, but that’s not happening:
[P]ractically no one appears to be rallying to his side. Even if conservatives aren’t interested in defending him against the specific charges that are being made, they certainly could call foul on the attackers for going so harshly negative against another Republican. Ronald Reagan’s supposed 11th Commandment (against attacking within the GOP) could be invoked. Instead, we get either piling on, or crickets.
From the National Review yesterday, the piling on. The White House is winnable, the editors wrote, but probably not by the former House speaker:
We fear that to nominate former Speaker Newt Gingrich, the frontrunner in the polls, would be to blow this opportunity …
Gingrich’s colleagues were … right to bring his tenure to an end. His character flaws — his impulsiveness, his grandiosity, his weakness for half-baked (and not especially conservative) ideas — made him a poor Speaker of the House. Again and again he combined incendiary rhetoric with irresolute action, bringing Republicans all the political costs of a hardline position without actually taking one. Again and again he put his own interests above those of the causes he championed in public.
Republicans have now gone from “anyone but Romney” to “anyone but Newt.” Next up, Ron Paul? Just asking.
Up top, Mr. Gingrich’s new TV ad in Iowa, only his second of the campaign.
(On the show: The Great Newt Gingrich Panic of 2011)