The former House speaker got his anger-bear on yesterday:
Newt Gingrich has finally found a politician he considers even worse than the president he calls socialist, anti-colonialist and radical. That would be his fellow Republican Ron Paul.
"I think Barack Obama is very destructive to the future of the United States. I think Ron Paul's views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American," Gingrich said Tuesday in a CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer.
Could he vote for Paul? "No." If it came down to Paul vs. Obama? "You'd have a very hard choice at that point."
"As people get to know more about Ron Paul, who disowns 10 years of his own newsletter, says he didn't really realize what was in it, had no idea what he was making money off of, had no idea that it was racist, anti-Semitic, called for the destruction of Israel, talked about a race war—all of this is a sudden shock to Ron Paul?" he asked. "There will come a morning people won't take him as a serious person." […]
Gingrich said Paul's "total record of systemic avoidance of reality" makes him unthinkable as a president. He is, Gingrich said, "a person who thinks the United States was responsible for 9/11, a person who … wrote in his newsletter that the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 might have been a CIA plot, a person who believes it doesn't matter if the Iranians have a nuclear weapon."
The Paulite reaction:
"Frustration from his floundering campaign has Newt Gingrich showing who he really is: a divisive, big-government liberal," Paul Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton said. "Newt has a long record of standing against conservatives dating back to his support for liberal Nelson Rockefeller over Barry Goldwater, so this sort of childish outburst is nothing new."
My hunch is that in order to make the newsletters a going concern during the Republican primary season (which David Weigel says it hasn't been yet, at least as measured by polls in Iowa), Paul's competitors are going to have to do like Gingrich here, and try to tie them into a broader and similarly objectionable worldview and set of active modern-day beliefs. But it's been more than four years now since front-runner Rudy Guilani and his fanclub thought they were ejecting Paul from the circle of all decent people for his "totally outside the mainstream" views on U.S. foreign policy, so I'm not that sure tying Paul's critique of anti-Iran hyperventilating to the Ron Paul Survival Report is going to do the trick, in a season when people are fed up above all with economic policy and results.
Speaking of which, here's the latest Ron Paul ad:
Reason on Gingrich here, on Paul here, and on Paul's newsletters here. Jacob Sullum took Gingrich seriously enough to declare him a "profligate authoritarian" two weeks ago, then defended Paul's foreign policy last week.