Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign is not yet a week old, but he's already being brutally smacked around. We noticed Monday that a Republican voter in Iowa told Gingrich, "Why don't you get out before you make a bigger fool of yourself?" Think Progress has posted video of the exchange. The man, Russel Fuhrman, is angry that Gingrich criticized Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to overhaul Medicare, and he tells Gingrich that he's an embarrassment to the Republican party as he's shaking Gingrich's hand.
Watch the exchange:
Commentary's Peter Wehner writes that Gingrich miscalculated Ryan's influence within the Republican Party. "Although he himself is quite a large figure in the history of the modern GOP, Gingrich thought it would be a good idea to launch a withering attack on the Ryan plan—and for his pains he found himself ground to dust in fewer than 24 hours." At Gawker, Jim Newell asks, "does Gingrich make it through the summer?"
Slate's Dave Weigel compares Gingrich to the struggles of Brooks Hatlen to adapt to lift outside of prison when he's paroled in The Shawshank Redemption. "The last time Gingrich was in the arena, in the 1990s, the media climate was tough," Weigel writes. His mistake was not underestimating the press, but "the cheetah speed at which the Ryan Plan became 1) Republican orthodoxy... 2) something all Republican voters were intimately aware of and bought into, and 3) something they'd immediately confront him about. ... As a conservative speaker and author since 2004, he's been remarkably successful in getting pundits and allies to take his new ideas and new frames seriously. But he was in the prison library, otherwise known as 'the D.C. suburbs and the green rooms of cable news.' In the real world, he's getting chewed up."