For those of you who are unfamiliar with this disease, here is a brief description. Rinotosis slowly atrophies the principles of establishment Republicans – drastically impairing their judgment and frequently creating a strong inclination for big government ideas. Symptoms include but are not limited to previously supporting individual healthcare mandates, flip flopping on cap-and-trade schemes, and attacking thoughtful, free market Medicare reform proposals.
The only known solution to Rinotosis is regular exposure to the Tea Party. But unfortunately for Mr. Gingrich, the Tea Party not only kills Rinotosis, it also destroys the host’s candidacy and credibility.
Just ask Tea Party Patriots national coordinator and Georgia resident, Debbie Dooley. Upon hearing about the Speaker’s comments on Meet the Press, Dooley said “He has severely damaged his campaign and his credibility… If he continues with that position, for the most conservative tea party Republicans . . . it's over.”
Newt needs to keep a close eye on statements like this. Dooley’s comments are clear evidence that Rinotosis cells are attacking his candidacy at an alarmingly and rapid rate.
As we continue to monitor Rinotosis and measure the degree of its lethality, the midterm elections last year serve as an important case study (See: Arlen Specter, Mike Castle, and Trey Grayson).
Judging by the continued salience of economic issues today, the 2012 election likely will prove the resiliency of the Tea Party movement as it enters phase 2.0.
This seems to be the natural course of events when you consider that our nation still faces a looming debt crisis – including an additional $1.645 trillion dollars in debt this fiscal year.
And the biggest long-term driver of debt is entitlement programs – specifically Medicare which presently is underfunded by $30.8 trillion. That’s why Gingrich’s attack on Paul Ryan creates a daunting challenge to the survival of his campaign.
The biggest problem for Gingrich is that his Medicare analysis falls into the false dichotomy created by the left in this country: Leaving Medicare unchanged versus making substantial reforms to the program.
The do-nothing approach is not a real option. Yet, taking a page out of Chuck Schumer’s playbook, Gingrich made this statement about Congressman Ryan’s proposal, "I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don't think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate."
This comment totes the line of the liberal public relations campaign against the Tea Party. It is an attempt to paint substantial and fiscally responsible policies as extreme and radical. But what is more radical than doing nothing while staring $30.8 trillion of underfunded obligations in the face?