The media elite and the Republican ruling class are remarkably similar in their political projection for the coming year. Journalists spent the entire year savaging every fast-rising challenger to Mitt Romney. The GOPs power pundits became equally agitated at the sniff of a conservative anywhere near the top of the GOP pack. It's the odor of extremism that both the elites in the media and the GOP have detested -- always.
So here we are, on the cusp of the election year, and both these groups have one primary target: Newt Gingrich. Both are using the same ammo: Newt is too unstable, immature, flawed and arrogant. Or as power pundit Peggy Noonan put it, Newt is "a human hand grenade who walks around with his hand on the pin, saying, 'Watch this!'" The Washington Post's political cartoonist drew him as a suicide bomber.
I think they're stuck in the past. The candidate that people now see is not the self-styled "revolutionary" of the '80s and '90s. He's an older man, a wiser man, but a man that has a vision of both American history and the American future -- and that's what scares the establishment. Pundits like Noonan live to throw beanbags at conservatives on the set of "Morning Joe." Oh, how they delight their liberal chums with a taste for GOP fratricide. Ari Melber of The Nation eagerly quoted Noonan's "human hand grenade" line and mostly favorably compared Noonan to that liberal windbag Maureen Dowd of The New York Times. This is high praise in New York and Washington. The rest of the country could care less about Maureen Dowd.
It brings us back to Angelo Codevilla's piece last summer in The American Spectator titled "America's Ruling Class." What Codevilla called the "country class" -- the party of freedom, as opposed to the "ruling class," which resents the country's input -- has rarely captured the GOP flag. The GOP rulers sabotaged Barry Goldwater and were ultimately stuck with Ronald Reagan. Contrary to quaint historical rewrites, they were not in his camp. Instead, the GOP rulers bogged Reagan down with establishmentarian dealmakers and principle-shredders.
The country class is demanding the GOP choice be independent of the GOP establishment as well as confrontational with the radical left. It is why both camps are now united in their desire to tear this man down. He is a threat.
When Gingrich climbed to the top of the polls, the Newt-hating media were so predictable that they merely recycled all their liberal talking points from the mid-'90s. NBCs Lisa Myers narrated their rerun: "Gingrich shut down the government. ... At the time, Gingrich generated this headline ('Cry Baby'), after suggesting that he shut down the government because the President made him sit in the back on Air Force One. ... He became the first Speaker ever reprimanded by the House for ethics violations and was fined $300,000 for misusing tax exempt funds."
What tired old spin this is:
-- Can you believe NBC ignored crooked Jim Wright's resignation in that "first Speaker reprimanded" summary?
-- Eighty-three of 84 ethics complaints were dismissed. On the final one, Gingrich made the political equivalent of a plea deal, agreeing to a fine over the college course he was teaching while he was Speaker of the House. Big deal.
-- Myers and every other network reporter and outlet ignored the part where the Internal Revenue Service was brought in to investigate Gingrich and in 1999, cleared him unequivocally of everything.
-- Apparently, these reporters will cling to their "Gingrich shut the government down" propaganda as long as they live. That's not true. Technically, it was Clinton who shut it down. -- It's another media myth that the shutdown was some personal tantrum over airplane seating.
That's five massive distortions and falsehoods in one report.
Some attacks on Newt the "Bomb-Thrower" are coming from professional bomb-throwers. Take Chris Matthews, who said, "Ever since he appeared on the national scene, politics has been nastier, more feral (and) too often uglier." He suggested Gingrich's nomination would be a cause for "embarrassment and sadness for our republic."
This, from the man who then described Gingrich as a "political killer, a gun for hire." Republicans, he feared, "may be ready to bow down before this false god of hatred." The ruling class is losing control of its senses. Maybe, just maybe, the country class has found its champion.