Newt’s Dish Served Cold

The latest fiery arrow aimed at Karl Rove from a fellow-conservative was shot from an interesting bow: that of one Newt Gingrich, who assaults the Boy Genius at the High Orthodox Wingnut altar of Human Events.

Newt doesn’t, however, just go after Rove for the sin of suggesting that excessively rigid conservative ideology might have been a factor in 2012 Senate losses, sacriligious as that might be. In bashing both Rove and former Romney campaign manager Stuart Stevens, Gingrich goes after the very idea of campaign consultants being in charge of political messaging:

Republicans need to drop the consultant-centric model and go back to a system in which candidates have to think and consultants are adviser and implementers but understand that the elected official is the one who has to represent the voters and make the key decisions.

Yeah, you’d have to figure that’s been a real bone in the craw for Gingrich. He was large and in charge of the Republican Revolution of the ’90s, a self-created Philosopher King who did the thinking and the doing, the campaigning and the legislating, the strategizing and the envisioning, babbling incessantly in his every waking hour, acutely aware of his place in history and probably eyeing open spaces in the Washington landscape for his heroic memorial. Yet after his fall from power and expulsion from the Emerald City, it didn’t take long at all before he was replaced as titan of the GOP and of the conservative movement by George W. Bush, who couldn’t even pronounce “strategy,” and was perfectly happy to leave all the heavy thinking to his overtly sinister little friend Mr. Rove.

It’s been just a matter of time before the conservative effort to blame Bush for the GOP’s problems extended to the guy who thought up all the heresies that constituted the 43d president’s “betrayal of conservative principle” and “big government Republicanism”–you know, No Child Left Behind, Medicare Rx Drugs, comprehensive immigration reform, and “deficits don’t matter.” Rove’s conspicuously poor 2012 report card as the GOP’s biggest bag man, and then his recent threats to muddle around in Republican primaries, were sure to bring down the long-overdue Wrath of the Right. But for Newt Gingrich, Rove’s troubles probably feel like an even longer-overdue vindication of his leadership, and a well-deserved comeuppance for the Mayberry Machiavellis.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.