“You’re an embarrassment to our party.” – Iowa Republican voter chastising Newt Gingrich, Monday, in-person, for his “undercutting” Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) Medicare proposal on this week’s “Meet the Press.”
What Newt Gingrich, and the GOP tomato throwers who have targeted him the last two days, have demonstrated so perfectly is that there is no room for intellectual thought , discussion or debate when it comes to a proposal that the party has sold to its activists. If an aspiring Republican politico wants to win anything party-wide, unflinching allegiance to the party line is what’s required to run with the elephants. Otherwise, you’re a RINO, and they won’t even look at you.
This disgruntlement is not merely a provincial, Joe-the-Plumber reaction from the plebes. Besides Ryan himself, GOP leaders in Congress, like House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor (R-VA), as well as the party’s rising stars, like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, have voiced their disapproval of Newt’s “right wing social engineering” characterization of the Wisconsin representative’s budget proposal.
According to The Hill, Cantor told a Chicago radio station that Gingrich calling the Ryan budget, which almost every Republican in the House voted for, a “radical change,” was ” a tremendous misspeak.” Haley told CNN “Newt absolutely cut him [Ryan] off at the knees.”
The majority leader went on to urge the former speaker to “get back on board with what we’re trying to do.” But what are the GOP “trying to do?” Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (R-UT) told Politico, “the Ryan plan shows such a difference with Barack Obama. Holy cow!” Is it really that simple?
Another Republican, former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), thinks “Newt really stepped into it this weekend,” and admits that the Tea Party and other elements in the GOP caucus have made it so that any politician swaying from the conservative “path in the future is in trouble.”
“I think [Gingrich] hurt himself,” Hoekstra said in his statement to Politico.
Cantor seemed to agree, implying the wound may have been fatal. “Many have said now he’s finished,” he told WLS radio, but admitted that he “probably would reserve judgment on that.”