Our good friend Tom P. Baxter, Business Visionary (or as he's more popularly known, Disgraced Former Speaker Newt Gingrich), is back in the news again, this time having taken to the pages of the Washington Post to dispute Norm Ornstein's sensible op-ed, in which Ornstein noted that Barack Obama is obviously not imposing socialism on America by means of a "socialist-secular machine" (gosh, our Newt sure does love his words) or otherwise.
Marc Ambinder does a valiant job taking apart Newt's claims, but really, it's sort of beside the point, isn't it? You don't stop a snake-oil salesman by outarguing him; once you realize that the guy's a total fraud, the actual questions are whether, and if so how, to keep him from fleecing the yokels.
The rubes in question here are not swing voters (or, it should go without saying, Democrats), all of whom can't stand Newt Gingrich and really never could stand Newt Gingrich. No, the relevant yokels here are people inside the conservative closed-information loop, the people who listen to Rush and Beck and Palin, who are Newt's current most prominent competitors, I suppose. As far as I'm concerned, the best response is to say tough luck, yokels...but I suppose that conservative leaders might disagree. Might, but as far as anyone can tell, don't. Or at least, don't if they want to remain conservative leaders -- or maybe it's just don't, if they want to stay on the gravy train. It is possible that conservative leaders are foolish enough to believe that Newt's hocus-pocus will help them on Election Day, but one would think that the 1996 and 1998 cycles (and a little more careful reflection on the 1994 cycle) would have cured them of that.
I suppose there are also some rubes in the press corps who somehow or another are able to see through the Sage of Wasilla's ordinary hockey mom pose but are still mesmerized when Newt waves around his latest set of books that you just have to read and then you would understand everything and his latest words -- the man does love his words. I'm afraid that if they haven't figured it out yet, there's just no hope for them.