Quote of the Day: Glenn Beck On Tea Partiers Supporting Newt Gingrich
I never thought I would see the day, but here it is: our political Quote of the Day is from Glenn Beck who wonders how Tea Party members can possibly continue to flock to former House Speaker and ultimate Washington insider Newt Gingrich as the possible (and at this point increasingly probable) 2012 Republican Presidential nominee:
“If you have a big government progressive, or a big government progressive in Obama… ask yourself this, Tea Party: is it about Obama’s race? Because that’s what it appears to be to me. If you’re against him but you’re for this guy, it must be about race. I mean, what else is it? It’s the policies that matter.”
It’s not just that, however. NY Times columnist David Brooks nailed the other factor at work here:
Most people just want somebody who can articulate their hatreds, and Gingrich is demagogically happy to play the role.
Our politics is seldom about actual content anymore. It’s prime motivating force is hating the other side, detesting them, suggesting they are mere ignorant pawns, rather than people who believe it or not see things differently through a different political prism. They have bad-intentions, be liars or hypocrites. Our politics is about demonizing the other side, and desperately trying to get someone who can “take it to” X,Y or Z so on election day the winning political sports team can have the satisfaction of seeing the outcome of ballot box political domination, the other side’s humiliation and then use the power to enact policies that those on the other side may not like but will be powerless to halt or even shape. It’s about winning and rubbing the other side’s face in it and obliterating their power.
Once upon a time it was more (but not always) about someone who could best make a case on policy and use all the political tools and manipulations that we’ve seen in American history to put together a coalition and win. Now it is about the angry sound bite, getting that catchy zinger, the quick quote that defines an opponent so those on one side can cheer and the other side starts arguing about its inaccuracy or wildness.
And with blogs, Twitter, talk radio, 24/7 cable news the delay once inherent in the prevalence of daily newspapers and network evening newscast means hot button responses can quickly garner support and snowball — just as political blunders can quickly sink a candidate. The hot button is potent and the most potent of all is the hot button that satisfies the I-hate-that-person-the-moment-I-see-him feeling.
But wait…once upon a time Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney did have key moments when they seemed to favor consensus. Both had “gone moderate” in other incarnations, for varying periods. In fact, some had considered them moderates or at least center-right versus talk radio right. There were voters who liked them in those incarnations.
But that isn’t what wins primaries or will will a partisan election in 2012.
And both Gingrich and Romney know it.
Just as voters who support them know they have not been consistent conservatives. Gingrich — for now — is getting away with it because he pushes the hate hot buttons so passionately and convincing and is a great quote machine.
With Obama part of the opposition is about policy and the contrast between the promise he held in 2008 and the disappointment he embodies in 2011.
And part of it — make no mistake about it — is most assuredly is about hate.
FOOTNOTE: One lingering question: is it too late for another candidate to emerge? Some thoughts HERE.