Newt Gingrich CPAC Rock Star

CPAC2010Over at C&L’s Video Cafe, Heather is upset that Newt Gingrich received a warm welcome at CPAC.

Good grief. Newt Gingrich was treated like a rock star at the CPAC 2010 Convention. He entered the auditorium with “Eye of the Tiger” playing and the audience gave him a standing ovation and pats on the back as he made his way to the stage. For a party that trashed President Obama as a “celebrity” these people sure do like their fanfare don’t they?

There are a lot of reasons to not cheer Newt Gingrich but his celebrity status among conservative activists is certainly earned:  He brought down the Democratic leadership that had held on to the House of Representatives for decades, using innovative guerrilla tactics and taking advantage of a changing media landscape.  He was the chief architect of the 1994 “Republican Revolution” and is an articulate spokesman for the conservative message.

The “celebrity” meme as applied to Obama during the 2008 campaign, by contrast, was based on the idea that Obama was wildly popular for giving good speeches and being charismatic on television.  While undeniably accomplished for a youngish man, Obama simply didn’t have the resume one expects of a president:  His only major office was United States Senator and he’d held that office something like 5 minutes before launching a presidential campaign.

While that charge had some validity and resonated with a large number of people — including a large number of Democrats who preferred other candidates — it obviously wasn’t a deal breaker, as Obama went on to comfortably win the election, beating out much more seasoned candidates for the nomination and then the general election.  And it’s a charge that is moot at this point; no one that the Republicans could plausibly nominate in 2012 will have more relevant experience than Obama at that point: He’ll have been president for nearly four years.

(It’s worth noting that a variant on the same charge was tried and failed with regard to George W. Bush, who’d been governor for six years of a very large state but one in which gubernatorial powers are unusually limited.  But, again, by 2004 it no longer mattered.)

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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.


  1. spago says:

    Some pretty ugly comments over there

    These losers have to get a life. Sat, 02/20/2010 – 17:38 — Truthseeker12
    I wish everyone of those MFers would just head south and start their own hell hole country and leave us alone.

    Hooray for Douche PigBitch! Sat, 02/20/2010 – 16:06 — bilhelm-x
    World’s finest douchebag!

    These desperate racist fucks would support… Sat, 02/20/2010 – 16:14 — LeftandLeft
    …Charles Manson, Dennis Rader(the Btk killer), Theodore Kaczynski(Unabomber), Richard Ramirez(The Nightstalker), Ted Bundy(If he was alive), Anybody over that N****r President.

    Treating Gingrich like “a rock star” is another cry for help.

    Republicans don’t deserve to participate in government. Sat, 02/20/2010 – 16:19 — project
    They do not have the moral or intellectual maturity to be an adult.
    These people are nothing but petulant children unable to make rational decisions. They do noot have the maturity to even vote much less be in charge.
    republicanism/conservatism is a mental illness!

    and then the soup du jour:

    What the hell is wrong with these morons? Sat, 02/20/2010 – 20:13 — ferk berfel
    If they want less government and balanced budgets they should be voting Democratic! Pop quiz: Of these Presidents which one shrank the size of government and balanced the budget?

    1. Reagan
    2. GHWB
    3. Clinton
    4. GWB


    Of these 4 who grew the deficit the most on a percentage basis? (most to least)

    1. Reagan (R)

    2. GWB (R)

    3. GHWB (R)

    4. Bill Clinton (D)

    It’s really beyond words…for a group of people who make the claim that conservatives are immoral and stupid, the least they could do is understand how the government that they salivate over works…

  2. Highlander says:

    Rock Star treatment or not,”Newty” is a slack gutted old man, and his political day has come and gone.

    But I must admit,he can still spill out endless streams of highly entertaining BS.

  3. Alex Knapp says:

    At the risk of sounding elitist (again), I have to say that Gingrich should be forced to hide away from the public in shame by virtue of writing the world’s worst sex scenes in his novels.

  4. Stan says:

    “At the risk of sounding elitist (again), I have to say that Gingrich should be forced to hide away from the public in shame by virtue of writing the world’s worst sex scenes in his novels.”

    It’s his private life I deplore. When he was leading the charge during the Clinton impeachment proceedings he was cheating on his second wife (after divorcing his first wife as she was recovering from cancer). When I think of Newt Gingrich as the leader of the oh-so-pious Republican party I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  5. tgtg says:

    You know……you who lean left will be so upset when there is NOTHING LEFT because you let your pals sit around watching cable TV and send the bill to the government who then takes it from my pay check…
    I am the child of a sinlge parent household…a high-school drop took some time but i figured it out…Went broke many times,,MANY TIMES…and did not quit and did not say I give up BECAUSE I DO NOT GIVE UP

    I appreciate your good will for those of lesser means but to QUIT and jsut wait for thegovernment check as a way of life is WRONG…It shows no purpose…..HArsh BUt True