Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Newt Gingrich is obviously in a position where he thinks he has to throw the kitchen sink at Mitt Romney. He also obviously thinks he has to get Tea Party zealots to forget his many years in Washington and make him their insurgent champion.

But it’s getting a little out of hand, as reflected in this report from Nevada by Benjy Sarlin:

After using the Occupy Wall Street playbook to attack Mitt Romney last month, Newt Gingrich is cribbing from the Tea Party’s anti-Obama files, identifying his rival as yet another co-conspirator in a vast leftist plot to destroy capitalism itself. Not a great sign for those Republican strategists who hope Romney’s Florida victory will quickly unite the party.

Addressing fired up supporters in a cowboy-themed Vegas bar on Friday, Gingrich offered a new depiction of Romney as a tool of George Soros who doesn’t respect the Founding Fathers and is little different from Obama himself.

Gingrich mentioned Soros, who gave an interview in Switzerland last week saying he expected Romney and Obama to pursue similar policies, more than a half dozen times in his speech. The billionaire financier received boos and jeers at almost every mention — one supporter shouted out “The Devil!”

I really wish Hunter Thompson, the author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, could have lived to write about this scene. Or since this was a cowboy bar, maybe Sacha Baron Cohen could have shown up as Borat and warmed up the crowd with a few verses of “Throw the Jew Down the Well.” [EMPHATIC NOTE TO THE HUMOR-IMPAIRED: No, I am not accusing Gingrich or his fans of anti-semitism; just of being receptive to some lethal intentions towards one particular Jew named Soros. If this reference is troublesome, we could substitute “Throw the Muslim Down the Well,” which would definitely work for a Gingrich crowd.]

Don’t know what Newt will try next, but don’t think he’s gotten around to associating Romney with ACORN just yet. Maybe next week.

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.