Pete Wehner isn’t having this pro-Gingrich narrative that says all the “establishment” conservatives are against Newt because they fear his revolutionary potential. Excerpt:
The reality is that conservative/”establishment” opposition to Gingrich generally falls into three categories. One is that if he won the nomination, he would not only lose to Barack Obama, but he would sink the rest of the GOP fleet in the process. A second area of concern is that Gingrich is temperamentally unfit to be president –he’s too erratic, undisciplined, and rhetorically self-destructive. A third area of concern is the suspicion that the former House speaker is not, in fact, a terribly reliable conservative, that he is not philosophically well-grounded (see his attachment to Alvin Toffler for more).
I suppose his serial marital infidelity would fall somewhere between the first and the second area of concern.
What’s something of a mystery to me is why so many of the Palin-type conservatives, many (but not all) of whom are Newt backers, are so sold out to bad faith as the only reasonable explanation for why people would oppose Gingrich’s candidacy. As Wehner puts it, “If you’re for Gingrich, so goes this story line, you’re for ‘genuine’ and ‘fundamental’ change. If you oppose Gingrich, on the other hand, you’re for ‘managing the decay’ of America.”
Ron Paul diehards — not all Paul supporters, mind you, just the diehards — tend to do this too. They so identify with their candidate that they can’t imagine any good reason why anybody would oppose the Doctor. If you do, it can only be because you lack virtue. Paul has highly countercultural opinions about foreign policy, the general thrust of which I agree with; if I voted on foreign policy alone, I’d be in the tank for Paul. But come on, most Republicans are strongly against Paul’s views. Paul has unorthodox views on monetary policy, and a host of other issues. These put him out of step with the GOP mainstream. Hell, that’s why so many people feel passionately about him! But to say that the only reason anybody opposes Paul is because they’re bad people is not only inaccurate, it’s unfortunate — unfortunate, because it’s to consign oneself to a kind of epistemic closure.
Being wrong and being bad are not necessarily the same thing.
Anyway, who do some politicians inspire this reaction in their most committed followers, and others don’t? I think it must have something to do with the extent to which those politicians inspire messianic passions.