So are the unions.
Not literally, of course. But that is both the motivation behind and the effect of the relentless liberal assault on Mitt Romney that has only increased in intensity as Newt's primary support grows.
Here's Boston.com, an outlet that is all too happy to disseminate anything and everything Romney-critical:
Democrats and their support groups are unrelenting in their criticism of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.This comes quickly on the heels of a DNC anti-Romney television ad campaign targeted to six primary states, which ran at the end of November.
The labor-backed Americans United for Change is today unleashing a multimedia campaigning linking Romney, a former venture capitalist, with Gordon Gekko, the fictional, greed-crazed titan from the 1987 Oliver Stone film “Wall Street.”
The effort includes a new website, www.RomneyGekko.com, which offers an interactive quiz challenging readers to decide whether Romney or Gekko uttered a phrase; a fake Twitter account, @RomneyGekko; a plan to station “Romney-Gekko” supporters outside the candidate’s big-ticket fund-raisers; and web videos led by one pivoting off Ronald Reagan’s famed “It’s Morning in America” theme....
Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee is releasing its own web video pivoting off reporting by the Globe and other news organizations about efforts to purge state computers of electronic records as Romney concluded his term as governor of Massachusetts in 2007.
If there is precedent for this level of intensity - and spending - against a candidate who has not yet even secured his party's nomination, I'm not familiar with it.
So which of these possible explanations seems more likely to you? (A) The unions and the DNC have all the money they could possibly need for the general election; so much, in fact, that they need to spend some of it now and chose their target at random. Or (B) The unions and the DNC have a considered preference among the GOP candidates - either as to the candidate they do not want to see emerge to take on Obama (Romney), the candidate they MOST want to see emerge (Gingrich), or both?
Yeah. B - and both. The Democrats' singular attention to softening up Mitt pre-dated Newt's surge, but it has undoubtedly intensified of late. Why? Two reasons.
First, the White House does not want to face Mitt Romney. He is everything the President is not: a successful businessman who intimately understands the private sector and the economy; a relative moderate with both conservative bona fides and demonstrated appeal to independents and conservative Democrats; a cool, competent manager uniquely suited to take the reins of government at this particular moment in our history.
Second, the White House would love (love love love) to face Newt Gingrich. More even than Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry or even Ron Paul, Newt represents the Obama Administration's best possible draw from the Republican primary field - by a long shot. Each of the others remains undefined to the vast majority of general election voters. Newt comes pre-defined, unfavorably. I like him by the way (he's staring at me from a signed photo on my desk, in fact). Most voters don't. Before he could begin to take on the President Newt would have to dig himself out of a deep (and probably unescapable) negative image hole. Like Obama, Newt is a career politician. Like Obama, he is viewed by the center as an inflexible ideologue. Newt's nomination would instantly neutralize ("Newtralize?") the President's job approval weakness, almost certainly guaranteeing him another term in office. Liberals know this. Independents know it too - and cannot believe the Republican party is flirting with such folly.
And so the left is mobilized - in a very serious, focused way - to kill off Mitt and elevate Newt, and positively giddy at the prospect of a Newt nomination.
Don't believe me? Here's our own beloved Barney Frank, on the day of his retirement announcement:
“I did not think I lived a good enough life to see Newt Gingrich as the Republican nominee," Frank said Monday. "He would be the best thing to happen to Democrats since Barry Goldwater."And here's left-wing uber-blog the Daily Kos:
Imagine you are a longtime Republican Party activist just returning to the United States after a year-long vacation abroad. At home you turn on your computer and go to the Drudge Report and see that the Democrats somehow managed to change the constitution and nominated Fidel Castro for President. First, you’d rub your eyes to make sure you hadn’t misread. Second, you‘d jump up and down with glee, as visions of 50 state victory romps dance in your head.
From 1994. Fair? No. A durable impression? Yep.
This is how I feel at the prospect of Newt being the GOP nominee in 2012. If you could take every sin, hypocrisy, and evil put out by conservatives during the last 35 years, then add a layer of caricature, a pinch of hyperbole and then finally wrap it in a thick layer of bacon-flavored cookie dough before deep frying it, you would come up with a Newt Gingrich, even if he didn’t already exist.
As an embodiment of everything wrong with Conservatism, Newt is stunningly perfect. That is why I am urging all Democrats and independents in Iowa, New Hampshire and early primary states to quickly register as Republicans so we can “help” the GOP nominate a candidate of historic proportion.
All of this lefty enthusiasm for Newt is not in and of itself an argument against supporting the former Speaker (and I understand the appeal of the fantasy that he could run and win, thereby sticking it to the left from two directions at once). But it is a factor that my friends climbing aboard the Gingrich bandwagon should pause to consider carefully.