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2:20 PM


The GOP: It's What's for Dinner

Newt Gingrich (right) is so close to being a Democrat. Or gay.Photograph by Patrick McMullan

We often hear after Democratic losses that the party's incompetent leaders will attempt to solve their problems by forming "a circular firing squad." What is the appropriate metaphor for Republicans now that they've swapped fortunes with their once bumfuzzled, now mighty opponents?

We suggest the Uruguayan rugby team whose plane has crashed in the Andes. They're already eating each other alive like ravenous snow-bound goalies. The old harmonious on-message lockstep has been replaced by blame-gaming and bickering. There was the barely concealed rage of Bush's jockish, jocular comment during his first press conference that he'd worked harder than Karl Rove on the campaign. And now Newt Gingrich, positioning himself for a presidential run, has harshly criticized the timing of Donald Rumsfeld's resignation. "It's inappropriate to cleverly come out the day after an election to do something we were told before the election would not be done," Gingrich told reporters yesterday. "I think the timing was exactly backwards, and I hope the president will rethink how he engages the American people and how he communicates with candor."

One of the major criticisms following the election is that Bush betrayed the principles of the Gingrich Revolution (small government, balanced budgets, etc). The wistful tone with which rancorous GOP theorists evoked their lost values recalled the way liberal Democrats complained about Bill Clinton's betrayal of the Great Society when he triangulated the Democrats toward the center and starting picking off Republican issues, namely smaller government and balanced budgets. Twelve years away from Newt's glory days, there isn't a tune in the fiscally conservative hymnal Democrats can't sing just as well as Republicans. Then again, it's hard to hear much singing through all that flesh-chomping.

Gingrich Says Bush, GOP to Blame for Defeat [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]