‘The literati sent out their minions’

If Newt Gingrich wants us to stop making fun of him, he’s going to have to stop being so ridiculous, at least for a little while.

After several days in which Gingrich has literally become a laughingstock, his campaign has a new explanation for the worst beginning for a presidential campaign in modern political history. Here’s what Gingrich press secretary Rick Tyler told the Huffington Post‘s Michael Calderone:

“The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding,” Tyler wrote. “Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles.

“But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces.”

As best as I can tell, this is entirely legitimate, not some kind of satirical take on what a pompous blowhard might say after realizing he’d jumped on a ship destined to sink. Press secretaries don’t usually write press releases that read like poorly-written epic poems, but the Gingrich campaign is — what’s the word I’m looking for — special.

I won’t unpack the whole thing, but a few angles jump out here. For example, why would Gingrich’s team whine about the “literati,” given that Gingrich has written several books?

For that matter, characterizing Gingrich as a Washington “outsider” is just laughable — the guy was elected to Congress in the late 1970s, worked his way up to Speaker of the House, has lived inside the D.C. beltway for decades, appears in D.C. media as a talking head on a nearly daily basis, and is a fixture on the “establishment’s cocktail party invite list.” Gingrich practically defines “Washington insider.”

But I’m especially impressed by the statement lashing out wildly at the literati’s “minions” and their “cowardly” attacks. As best as I can tell, the “minions” include prominent Republicans like Paul Ryan, Nikki Haley, and Rush Limbaugh, while the “cowardly” attacks mainly consist of people quoting what he said on national television.

Given the past few days, I didn’t think Gingrich’s campaign could get more pathetic. I stand corrected.