NEWT vs. . . ANN COULTER?
There once was a reliable conservative pundit named Ann Coulter. Every Thursday morning this writer looked forward to devouring her online column. She was bright, tough and, did I say, conservative? Then came a startling revelation: if such a person ever actually existed, she no longer does.
The Ann Coulter who still publishes those columns and appears regularly on Fox News has cemented herself solidly among the elite GOP Washington establishment (now nearly indistinguishable from the elite Democrat Washington establishment). We will all get together and schmooz at Kennedy Center galas and try very hard to keep government growing and Washington as the intoxicating center of money, power and influence. Maybe she has actually been there all along. The truly disconcerting thing about this is the amount of company she has. In fact, this article is not about Ann Coulter but her affinity group. She is merely a convenient poster girl.
In addition to the many usual suspects (e.g., John McCain, Peggy Noonan), the affinity group now includes some slightly surprising members: George Will, Charles Krauthammer, nearly everyone at National Review, and even Mark Steyn. [To their credit, Krauthammer and the normally wonderful Steyn may have begun backing off a bit.] This special group has revealed its establishment credentials by joining in a massive Newt-bashing campaign, with actual truth being optional. The members obviously subscribe to the GOP establishment talking-point memos, being granted permission to use copyrighted phrases like “too much baggage” and “resigned from Congress in disgrace.”
The GOP establishment has decreed Mitt to be the 2012 candidate, and anyone who does not know that has been on Mars. Once such a decree has come down, the establishment will not hesitate to use tactics that would make Chicago aldermen or Washington Democrats blush. Mitt has now demanded that Newt “produce all documents concerning his ethics charges.” If Mitt does not know that the entire Report of the Select Committee on Ethics for this matter, dated January 17, 1997, all 1280 pages of it including all exhibits, is on line and has been for quite some time, he is a moron. And if he does know, he is a snake.
Mitt could have found out at any time, with a few mouse clicks, that Newt did not “resign from Congress in disgrace.” The New York Times, never a fan of Newt, published an article on October 11, 1998, headlined Ethics Panel Clears Slate for Gingrich. It pointed out, as none of our establishment friends named above have, that “Democrats had particular animosity toward Mr. Gingrich because in 1987 he brought ethics charges against Jim Wright, the Texas Democrat and Speaker, who was prompted to resign from Congress in 1989. But Republicans saw the case against Mr. Gingrich as an assault on the man who, more than any other, had engineered the Republican takeover of the House, after nearly half a century in the minority.” The Times also noted, as our establishment friends also failed to do, that: “The dismissal of the remaining charges came just days after Mr. Gingrich presided over the House of Representatives as it voted to open an impeachment inquiry into President Clinton, setting off a new round of partisan recriminations.”
So to sum up, Mitt, Ann, and the other suspects named above have been claiming that Newt did not actually accomplish any of the important things he now claims, and eventually was forced to resign “in disgrace” by a non-partisan process. In fact, he did accomplish what he now recounts, arousing “particular animosity” and “partisan recriminations” from vengeful Democrats who filed literally scores of spurious “ethics” charges. The fabled $300,000 “fine” was presented to Gingrich as the cost of conducting the investigation into these scores of charges. Gingrich, in effect, took an Alford plea to the final count and paid court costs.
Is the GOP establishment attempting to stack the deck and short-circuit the voters? Consider the following: it has substantial power and influence not only over national elections, but over the state groups, every member of which aspires to move up to the big leagues. The Washington group parcels out money to the state groups, and dictates many details about how the states carry on business. For example, it tells the states when they can or cannot schedule a primary. This year several states (including Florida) defied this particular mandate, and the national group discussed penalizing such states by stripping them of half of the convention delegates that a primary would ordinarily produce. Now look at the following amazing coincidences:
THE IOWA CAUCUSES: 1) The Iowa GOP establishment declares Romney the “winner.” 2) After days of frantic work by the Santorum people, it turns out there had been “errors” in the tally; Santorum actually has received more votes. Thus, the GOP establishment declares, of all things, a “tie.” 3) After more frantic work by the Santorum people, the GOP establishment is browbeaten into admitting that when one candidate gets more votes it is not normally called a “tie.” In fact, the one with more votes is usually called the “winner.”
THE VIRGINIA PRIMARY: The Virginia GOP establishment writes the primary rules, and apparently changes them whenever it wants to influence the outcome. On this occasion a late rule change simultaneously induces four (4) of the remaining six candidates (Santorum, Gingrich, Perry, Bachman) to file untimely petitions for access to the ballot. Curiously, the only two who managed to meet the new requirements are Romney and non-serious contender Ron Paul.
THE FLORIDA PRIMARY: When Gingrich took the lead in Florida polls, the Washington GOP establishment began talking about enforcing the half-the-delegates penalty referred to above. Now, after two weeks of big money Newt-bashing ads, and establishment dinosaurs like Bob Dole chiming in, Romney has taken a significant lead. Guess what has now happened to the talk of half-the-delegates penalties?
We find ourselves today in a terrible confluence that may destroy this nation. The GOP establishment wants Mitt for one of two reasons: 1) engaging in the ultimate triumph of hope over experience, it believes Mitt will do better than Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, or John McCain; or 2) it doesn’t care, because it doesn’t want the intoxicating power center of Washington to change. At the same time, the establishment media wants Mitt because 1) it can’t wait to begin ripping him apart in the general election; and 2) Obama will beat him. And the Democrat establishment wants Mitt for the same reason – Obama will beat him. This is a powerful array of forces, and it lays to rest, perhaps for the last time, the myth that we have a genuine, 2-party, adversary political system. God help us; the GOP establishment will not.