"A thousand injuries I suffered Fortunato. But when he turned to insult, I vowed revenge."
Those are the opening words to Edgar Allen Poe's short story – “The Cask of Amontillado” – of how one man's desire for revenge toward a rival led to him burying the rival alive.
That was a tale of horror, of course, a dark if brilliant fantasy.
For a case of real-life of revenge in real-life American history, think of Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Burr and Hamilton held a duel that led to the death of Hamilton, the country's first Treasury Secretary. Hamilton had said something to someone about Burr being "despicable." So here we are watching something between the horror of a great poet's imagination and what we read in our history books.
Newt Gingrich has a deep and abiding case against Mitt Romney. Romney has spent millions with the single purpose of destroying Gingrich as a candidate. Oh, not just that, destroying him as a public figure, rendering him so repellent in the country's mind that he's lucky to still make Wikipedia. He's attacking not just Newt the politician but Newt the person. He's vilifying him, villainizing him, trampling him so deeply into the dust of Iowa and Florida that even liberals are starting to root for him.
So here's a question: how's this going to end? Romney keeps ridiculing Newt, rubbing it in, laughing over the man's defeat. He's out there publicly enjoying Newt's humiliation, chortling over it.
This isn't professional. It isn't smart. It will reap trouble for him. There's only one reason for Newt to give up this hunt and that's for Romney to get him to. If Romney thinks adding insult to injury is going to get Newt - or anybody to move on, he may be good at business but he's no politician.
Alexander Hamilton could have pulled back on calling Aaron Burr "despicable," could have - but didn't.
We don't have duels these days. We don't have talk of duels - except when Senator Zell Miller talks to "me" - but we do have politics.
Newt isn’t quitting this fight. This political duel is going to continue and it's going to get more deadly. There's a presidential nomination at stake here and Romney cruizin' for more bruzzin.'
And liberals, believe it or not, are rooting for the Newt.