Frum on why GOP leaders don’t trust Gingrich

This is from a piece that David Frum wrote for CNN:

“Why liberals oppose a strong American presence in space.”

That was the title of the very first speech by Newt Gingrich I ever attended, all the way back in the winter of 1983. The event was the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

The speech hit the two great themes that have characterized Gingrich’s career to this day: enthusiasm for grandiose ideas — wrapped in rancor, division and name-calling…

… to Gingrich, such substantive issues were not the stuff of campaign politics. Campaign politics was about finding ways to define your opponent as alien, hostile and dangerous. The definition need not correspond to any actual real-world problem…

Frum concluded by saying those who care about the party’s chances — and who know better — aren’t going to sit still and let Gingrich lead the party to ruin:

He is a candidate of talk-show hosts and local activists — and of course of Rick Perry and Sarah Palin — but not of those who know him best and have worked with him most closely. Gingrich may raise more money after his South Carolina win. But prediction: Romney will raise even more, among the great national network of Republicans who recognize that to nominate Gingrich is to commit party suicide.

Of course, Frum wrote that without  having seen the latest Rasmussen numbers out of Florida.

The people who are surging for Gingrich only want to know what the party establishment thinks for one purpose: So that they can do the opposite.

14 thoughts on “Frum on why GOP leaders don’t trust Gingrich

  1. Kevin

    I am kind of like Brad: I get all warm and fuzzy inside when I hear the pronouncements of civically-engaged, establishment-type Rotarians about who should lead our civil institutions. These are the people that the masses of voting rubes should be taking their cues from. That is why when I saw that Bobby Harrell and Bob Royall and Gayle Averyt were supporting Newt, I knew that Newt was the guy for the job.

  2. Mark Stewart


    Who’s to say they didn’t simply have the clear idea that Romney is not the guy to run in the general election?

    What was interesting is that Romney’s presence early on seems to have dissuaded all but the real hotheads – and Santorum – from throwing their hat in the ring. That was a major blunder for someone, anyone, considering a run as a mainstream candidate.

    Romney’s had so long to practice this; if this is his A-game then maybe it is time he simply clear out of the way. Otherwise Newt may well end up the nominee.

  3. Steven Davis

    “civically-engaged, establishment-type Rotarians about who should lead our civil institutions”

    So we should be taking notes from those who have so little to do that they can spend hours each week patting each other on the back talking about how much good they do for the community? I guess if Obama did it, it must work.

  4. Juan Caruso

    These are the people that “the masses of voting rubes” should be taking their cues from. – Kevin

    The callousness with which you have insulted military veterans and others you neither know personally nor apparently appreciate fully makes me wonder if you yourself have ever served in military uniform.

    Veterans typically do not take their right to vote for granted, and they have a better understanding of the U.S. Constitution than mere ‘voting rubes’. Just a thought!

  5. SusanG

    I think the trouble is when people like Bob McAlister (et al) who should know better have themselves decided to support Gingrich for exactly the same reasons that the “rubes” have: they “relish his combativeness” and he didn’t “take any crap from the liberal media”. Where are the grownups?

  6. Kathy

    The GOP establishment didn’t want Reagan to be the nominee. The Democratic establishment didn’t want Clinton to be the nominee. Both were better-than-average presidents. George W. Bush WAS the establishment GOP candidate. Hmm. Wonder why so many people want a candidate NOT backed by the party hacks?

  7. Phillip

    If those business leaders truly favored Gingrich (and are not just hoping to throw this thing into a total stalemate in hopes of simply stopping Romney and allowing for some late entry) then presumably they think that whatever chaos a President Gingrich would unleash (domestically and internationally, given his enthusiasm for war-first options) would only ultimately hurt the lives of people who don’t matter (the lower-middle-class, the working class, the poor) and that their way of life will remain not only unaffected, but enhanced (i.e., accrual of greater wealth) by the changes. Mr. McAlister, while probably a nice man on a one-to-one basis, and the others on that A-list (similarly polite people in person, I’m sure), are simply voting their interests and admitting in a sense that how ever many people in America and on the planet get hurt in the process, well, those are people whose lot in life must be thoroughly deserved. Capitalism, in their view, is not just an economic/political system: it is an infallibly neutral system of morality in which the successful always deserve it and the struggling always deserve their condition as well.

  8. Brad

    Juan and Steven — Kevin was yanking my chain. He was being sarcastic, making fun of me as someone who places great store by Establishment, Rotary-speaker types.

    Right, Kevin?

  9. Brad

    Kathy, W. may have been the Establishment candidate (for lack of a better one opposing him), but compare him to his Dad to see what a REAL establishment candidate looks like.

  10. `Kathryn Fenner

    and Steven just wants to go around yet again with his tired assertion that attending Rotary meetings is shirking, and baiting us to point out that at the level of most Rotarians, sitting in a cubicle isn’t what their jobs are about, and that their employers, who may be themselves, are glad they are going to Rotary…..but I won’t take the bait.

  11. Steven Davis

    Kathryn, when is the last time you held a full-time job that allowed you time off every week to attend a fraternity meeting? It’s easier when it’s Rotary or Judge Judy, but I bet neither pay worth a damn.

    I don’t sit in a cubicle, I have a fairly nice office… with a window and everything.

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