The Washington Post, ever the establishment paper of record, will probably never get it. In a piece about how the presidential “losers” are recasting themselves in respective swan songs to the electorate, David A. Fahrenthold chose today to spotlight perennial loser Newt Gingrich, who is so blind to his own narcissism at this point that he was holding — no joke — “Newt U” before a “quiet crowd of about 100” during the Tampa Republican Convention.
Gingrich has one more bell to ring — a speech he is delivering with his wife Callista Thursday night at the convention, “before the networks tune in” the WaPo notes. Instead of addressing American jobs and energy independence (both “core electives” at Newt U), or old standbys like how Sharia law is taking over the American judiciary, however, the couple plans to break new RNC ground by instructing the Republican faithful who might have skipped the class about “applying the principles of Ronald Reagan to 2012.”
Gingrich has been most comfortable pontificating in this academic conceit. He has built an enterprise around it. Made — and spent — a lot of money with it. But as he is doomed to find out, playing professor all the time can be a lonely perch on which to set one’s fading laurels.
Meanwhile, the Post appears keen on reducing Paul to the same caricature. The day before Newt U hit campus, Fahrenthold writes:
(Paul) had convened thousands of supporters in a basketball stadium in Tampa. He spoke for about an hour, dissecting the history of the 20th century and describing where others had gone wrong. But the site of Paul’s speech — 10 miles away from the convention itself — emphasized that Paul himself was still far from influencing that history.
Far from influencing the Republican convention, for certain — the party made sure of that — but in fairness, Paul’s supporters have managed to shape a couple of planks in the GOP platform. They also rallied movement conservatives against the committee’s plans to change its rules mid-stream, prompting an announcement today that Paul will make a surprise appearance on the convention floor (he was asked to speak but declined because — sticking to his guns — he refused to endorse Mitt Romney).
Fahrenthold also fails to mention that unlike the former Speaker of the House, Congressman Paul managed to draw an estimated 8,000 people to his rally, and another several thousand came out to celebrate him at the Tampa Fairgrounds for the P.A.U.L Festival.
He did not need to “convene his supporters,” they had been waiting for a year or more to be there for him — just like they were in 2008 and for numerous freedom rallies and marches before that. Paul is not an enterprise, but a movement, a movement that will likely go on, perhaps without his signature impish face and blunt, homespun rhetoric, but with a spirit that inspired fans of all ages to crash recent Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) events in Washington, as well as local GOP conventions, to eek out delegates for their man in this week’s Tampa confab.
He leaves this campaign on a wave of goodwill and devotion and pledges to carry on the fight. Gingrich is leaving, quietly, as the Post points out, his enterprise bankrupt. It’s a bright line that cannot be ignored — though the Post would never bring itself to make the distinction. Gingrich might be a peacock, but Paul — at least to the establishment press — is ever the crazy old bird.