Bill Quick’s mind is boggled that Republicans are attacking Newt Gingrich and defending Colin Powell. As I note in his Comments section, I agree that Newt deserves a lot of credit for the Republican takeover in Congress and that Powell is a pain in the butt.

Conservatives don’t much like Newt, though, because he is a moral sleazebag and a hypocrite. Conservatives always come down hard on their own who fail them. Further, while Newt was a great revolutionary, he was a horrible Speaker. He quickly turned a rout in 1994 into a Clinton re-election in 1996 by making everything about him and letting Clinton outmaneuver him on domestic politics through the triangulation ploy.

Powell, on the other hand, gets a pass for several reasons. First, everyone knows he’s not really a conservative, so conservatives aren’t that hard on him. Second, he’s one of the handful of prominent blacks in the Republican Party. That gives him a lot of clout and affords him kid gloves treatment. Third, he’s a retired four-star general. It’s hard for Republicans to get too upset with someone with his credentials. Finally, we pretty much expect diplomats not to accomplish much. They have the little dance they dance but, at the end of the day, we know it’s a game.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.