Emmett Tyrrell
WASHINGTON -- How long have I been saying it? At least for 15 years, but in private, I have been aware of it longer. Newt Gingrich is conservatism's Bill Clinton, but without the charm. He has acquired wit, but he has all the charm of barbed wire.

Newt and Bill are, of course, 1960s-generation narcissists, and they share the same problems: waywardness and deviancy. Newt, like Bill, has a proclivity for girl-hopping. It's not as egregious as Bill's, but then Newt is not as drop-dead beautiful. His public record is already besmeared with tawdry divorces, and there are private encounters with the fair sex that doubtless will come out. If I have heard of some, you can be sure the Democrats have heard of more.

Nancy Pelosi's intimations are timely. Newt up against the Prophet Obama would be a painful thing to watch. He might be deft with one-liners, but it would be futile. There are independent and other uncommitted voters to be cultivated in 2012 -- all would be unmoved by Newt's juggling of conservative shibboleths.

Newt and Bill, as 1960s generation self-promoters, share the same duplicity, ostentatious braininess and a propensity for endless scrapes with propriety and the law. They are tireless hustlers. Now Newt is hustling my fellow conservatives in this election. The last time around he successfully hustled conservatives in the House of Representatives and then the conservatives on the House impeachment committee. He blew the impeachment and in fact his role as speaker. He backed out in disgrace.

He now says Republicans in the House were exhausted with his great projects. Nonsense. I knew many of them, and they were exhausted with his atrocious leadership. He is not a leader. He is a huckster. Today Mitt Romney has 72 congressional endorsements. Newt has 11. Possibly the 11 have yet to meet him.

Now he has found his key for hustling the conservative electorate. He is playing the "liberal media" card and saying he embodies conservative values. Like Bill, with his credulous fans, Newt is hoping conservatives suffer amnesia. Possibly some do. Perhaps they cannot recall mere months ago when this insufferable whiz kid was lambasting the great Congressman Paul Ryan for "right-wing social engineering" -- more evidence of Newt's not-so-hidden longing for the approval of the liberal media.

After his Ryan moment, Newt's campaign was a death wagon, and it will be so again -- hopefully before he gets the nomination. And conservatives should not climb onto that wagon. He is a huckster, and I for one will not be rendered a contortionist trying to defend him. I did so in his earliest days and learned my lesson.


Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
 
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