Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Is Nancy Pelosi waiting to unleash the dirt on Newt?

ABC News reports:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi now says she is not sitting on a trove of opposition research on former House Speaker-turned-GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

In an interview conducted Friday and published Monday, Pelosi hinted that once the time is right she has some juicy stories to tell about her former colleague.

"One of these days we'll have a conversation about Newt Gingrich," Pelosi, D-Calif., told Talking Points Memo. "I know a lot about him. I served on the investigative committee that investigated him. Four of us locked in a room in an undisclosed location for a year. A thousand pages of his stuff."

But this afternoon, Pelosi's spokesman, Drew Hammill, suggested that her comments have been misconstrued beyond the leader's intent.

"Leader Pelosi was clearly referring to the extensive amount of information that is in the public record, including the comprehensive committee report with which the public may not be fully aware," Hammill wrote in a statement.

Yeah, right.

Pelosi and others, not just Democrats but many anti-Newt Republicans as well, have a ton of dirt on Gingrich and will use is as needed over the coming weeks and months, depending on how he does. But, right now, the Democrats, at least, don't need to use it. Because they don't want to knock Newt off his perch as frontrunner and (gasp!) possible (probable?) nominee? No, they want him to win.

Win the GOP nomination, that is, because he'd be much less of a threat to beat Obama in the general election than Romney, who, for all his faults and unpopularity with the GOP base, is fairly appealing to moderates and independents given his reputation as a moderate technocrat who understands business and the economy (that this isn't what he actually is, or is no longer, could eventually turn moderates and independents against him, but at least for now he can ride the perception and avoid the reality).

By "one of these days," then, Pelosi either misspoke, revealing too much when she should have kept quiet, or meant "after Newt wins the nomination, if it comes to that." Or both. As TPM's Brian Beutler put it:

There's no better illustration of how ecstatic Democrats are about Newt Gingrich leading the GOP primary pack than Nancy Pelosi's strategic silence.

Though she wasn't so silent as to avoid providing that glimpse into the future:

Pressed for more detail she wouldn't go further.

"Not right here," Pelosi joked. "When the time's right."

Which is to say that if Gingrich somehow clinches the nomination, there's one hell of an oppo dump coming. 

Pardon me, and so many others, for salivating.


Actually, though, I'm not sure the dirt would matter. The media would dig up the old Newt anyway, and the new Newt really isn't new at all. He's still an arrogant egomaniac who says (and believes) insane things, like how poor (i.e., black) children should be forced to work because all they're good for is criminality.

And if that weren't enough, he's been rather eccentric in his conservatism, promoting relatively humane views on undocumented immigration and even -- yes, even -- responsible views on energy and climate change, two absolute no-nos in today's GOP.

Hey, he even did an ad on climate change with... Nancy Pelosi. And this could be as damaging to him as any oppo research dirt.

How do you think the Republican base will react when this little nugget makes its way around the right-wing insanitarium? The dirt would turn off moderates and independents, to the extent he'd have any such support, but his heterodox positions, past and present, would surely turn off conservatives. He's managing to weather any such criticism now largely because he's seen as much preferable to Romney (and because most people still aren't paying attention), but his record speaks for itself.

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