Responses to presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s recently articulated position on illegal immigration rolled on into the weekend on conservative talk radio.
Though not as severe as the backlash against Texas Governor Rick Perry’s “heartless” comments at the Republican debate on September 22nd, reactions on the AM Dial have been largely negative.
However, a small number of voices have stood by the former house speaker’s support for allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the US as permanent legal residents.
Airing on New York’s WABC 770 AM this Saturday, Larry Kudlow heaped praise on Gingrich during his Money/Politics segment with John McIntyre of Real Clear Politics.
Indeed, Kudlow attempted to portray Gingrich’s performance at the presidential debate as a seminal event in Republican politics.
“I’m going to argue John McIntyre this is a turning point not only for Gingrich but the entire Republican campaign.” Kudlow proclaimed before criticizing others in the GOP field.
“Romney gives the usual mealy mouth oh you’re for amnesty, which Gingrich is not. And Bachmann gives the usual mealy mouth oh you’re for amnesty,” he protested.
“That’s the old far right Republican politics which has cost them election after election. That’s why Gingrich is so good.”
S.E. Cupp begs to differ
Broadcasting on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 94.3 WTRW-FM this Wednesday, the Glenn Beck Show offered a dramatically different perspective on the former house speaker when political commentator S.E. Cupp joining the first hour of the program.
Though she acknowledged Newt Gingrich’s intellectual brevity, she criticized his penchant for flirting with progressives on policy issues.
“I think he’s been more interested in making weird and nuanced intellectual arguments that are counterintuitive – for the sake of it, to see if he can – rather than being interested in maintaining conservative principles and hewing to [the Fredrick Hayek] principles that he says he stands on.” Cupp argued.
“When you’re a really smart guy I think that’s what you do.” she later elaborated.
“You give yourself logic puzzles and riddles to figure out. And that’s interesting. But I don’t think it makes for good policy, and it doesn’t make me trust him. I don’t know what he’s going to do next…”
The doctor of democracy
Beck affirmed S.E. Cupp’s assessment of Newt Gingrich on his own program, and Rush Limbaugh seemed to express a similar sentiment later in the day.
Speaking on Philadelphia’s WPHT 1210 on November 23rd, Limbaugh noted, “This is a bold proposal. There’s no question. But it was snuck in there, a bold proposal that trickled into the debate. You don’t just come up with idea after idea and throw your ideas out as policy.”
“There’s a big difference in having an idea and having the idea become official policy.” He continued. “This is what got Newt in trouble with the individual mandate [on healthcare]. Out of the blue, ‘Oh, yeah, I think everybody ought to be forced to have skin in the game’.”
An intellectual Achilles heel
Putting aside the specific issue of illegal immigration, both S.E. Cupp and Rush Limbaugh raised Newt Gingrich’s broader pattern of brainstorming policies for bold change and then failing to foster popular support for the first stage of their implementation.
As Larry Kudlow’s support shows, there will always be some proponents for these ideas.
However, Gingrich’s chronic failure to first lay out a case for his arguments to engage the general public has once again turned his proposals into target practice for his political competitors.
There’s no doubt Newt Gingrich is the smartest man in the room.
But at the end of the day he can’t be the only man in it.
Part 1 of “Larry Kudlow supports Gingrich on immigration; others not so sure” is available here
Follow John Goodman on Twitter @ Literalville here
A free podcast of the Larry Kudlow Show is available here. The Money/Politics segment appears at the end of the podcast
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