Conservative intellectuals are still trying to kill Newt Gingrich’s campaign.Almost all of them from George Will to Ann Coulter has unloaded on Gingrich in the recent past.
Apparently conservatives believe they now have a “not-Gingrich” candidate that they can make the “not-Romney” candidate: Rick Santorum.
National Review, which holds itself out as the voice of the conservative movement, has a stunning editorial today telling Gingrich to make way for Santorum.
It is not clear whether Gingrich remains in the race because he still believes he could become president next year or because he wants to avenge his wounded pride: an ambiguity that suggests the problem with him as a leader. When he led Santorum in the polls, he urged the Pennsylvanian to leave the race. On his own arguments the proper course for him now is to endorse Santorum and exit.
While the editorial gives a perfunctory compliment to Gingrich as an “asset” the unspoken terror behind it is that Gingrich’s undisciplined intellect and slashing style could be a disaster for the conservative cause.
It’s not clear to me that the argument for dropping out is persuasive. Gingrich is still polling well in Southern states, and once we get more Republican debates, he could reassert himself again. His campaign is currently choking without media oxygen.
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