Think it’s only those squishy, Chardonnay-swigging, elitist Republicans who are opposed to a Gingrich nomination? Not necessarily. Yesterday two prominent, right-wing talk show hosts launched into controversial anti-Newt diatribes, and both for very different reasons.
First, here’s Glenn Beck, who caught a lot of heat for the following comments, made on Fox Business:
If you have a big government progressive, or a big government progressive in Obama… ask yourself this, Tea Party: is it about Obama’s race? Because that’s what it appears to be to me. If you’re against him but you’re for this guy, it must be about race. I mean, what else is it? It’s the policies that matter.
Beck’s remarks caused a firestorm on Twitter, with some conservatives saying that he used the “race card” as an attack in the same way that the left does. But it doesn’t sound like Beck was trying to smear Tea Partiers as racist here. He was making a slightly different point that gets lost under the hyperbole, which is that Gingrich’s policies are supposedly so similar to Obama’s that there’s no reason to vote for one over the other.
Of course, that’s self-evidently untrue. Gingrich may be a centrist in a lot of ways, but he’s to the right of Obama on a number of things, most notably foreign policy and social issues. There are plenty of reasons for a Republican to support Gingrich over Obama that have absolutely nothing to do with race. Beck may be right that Romney is more of a conservative than Gingrich, but he certainly could have framed it in a better way.
Meanwhile, radio host Michael Savage made a very different case against Gingrich, this time attacking the former speaker as “unelectable.” In order to ensure that this information was picked up by the mainstream media, Savage decided to offer Gingrich $1 million to drop out of the race in the next 72-hours. Instant publicity.
Here’s Savage’s press statement (caps lock is his; apparently he wanted to make sure he conveyed his anger):
NEWT GINRICH IS UNELECTABLE. MITT ROMNEY IS THE ONLY CANDIDATE WITH A CHANCE OF DEFEATING BARACK OBAMA, AND THERE IS NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN THAT FOR FUTURE HEALTH, SAFETY, AND SECURITY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THEREFORE, I AM OFFERING NEWT GINGRICH ONE MILLION DOLLARS TO DROP OUT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE FOR THE SAKE OF THE NATION.
Ridiculous media ploys aside, Savage’s comments have a lot of truth to them. Gingrich really does have serious electability problems, and would be much more vulnerable than Romney in a general election. And beyond the race card controversy, Beck had some good points, too – Gingrich is hardly the true conservative in the race. Others have been making both these arguments for awhile now. If more conservative talk show hosts start picking these points up, that could eat into Gingrich’s support from the base.
That is, unless Gingrich saves them all the trouble by taking Savage up on his offer at some point in the next 72-hours. The clock is ticking.