Washington’s right wing pundits already have their knives (or pens) out for Newt Gingrich, and now they’re being joined by many of their peers in talk radio. Michael Savage has offered Newt a cool $1 million just to drop out of the race, and Glenn Beck has also amped his rhetoric.
Speaking on Friday to Fox News’ Judge Napolitano, Beck had some harsh words for the tea partiers who are now apparently rallying to the former House Speaker’s side in the wake of Herman Cain’s implosion.
“I issue a challenge to the tea party members,” Beck said. “You look at his record, you read his words… see what he believes.” If they do, he claimed, they would see “this man is a progressive, he knows he is a progressive.” His conclusion seemed to startle even Napolitano:
“So if you’ve got a big government progressive or a big government progressive in Obama, one in Newt Gingrich, one in Obama, ask yourself this Tea Party: Is it about Obama’s race? Because that’s what it appears to be to me. If you’re against him but you’re for this guy, it must be about race. It’s the policies that matter.”
Beck has long made it clear he disapproves of Gingrich, whose main sin in Beck’s eyes appears to be citing Theodore Roosevelt as one of his favorite former presidents. Beck regards Roosevelt as the true founder of the dreaded “progressive movement” that did so much to move the country away from what he sees as the founding fathers’ principles. The pair recently clashed over this on Beck’s radio program.
Bizarrely, in his Fox interview Beck attributes Gingrich’s sudden rise in the polls to “the establishment in Washington,” saying they are “clawing for power, just clawing for power.” Given that most of the right’s pundits are reacting to the possibility of a Newt nomination with undisguised horror, this doesn’t seem to be an accurate reading of the underlying dynamics. But those dynamics certainly are making for an interesting race as the Iowa caucuses rush nearer and nearer.