Who knew? Presidential candidate for the GOP nomination, Newt Gingrich is like the family’s crazy uncle that gets let out for family gatherings and then gets sent back to is room. His recent emergence as the “favorite” for the nomination has met with some harsh criticism and not just from the left. Many of the right wing punditry are not happy with Newt Gingrich’s surge in the polls for the nomination. During Newt’s interview on Face The Nation with Bob Schieffer, he said he would have “activist judges” (translation: judges who disagree with Newt) hauled before Congress to answer for their decisions, if necessary arresting them:
SCHIEFFER: One of the things you say is that if you don’t like what a court has done, that Congress should subpoena the judge and bring him before Congress and hold a Congressional hearing… how would you enforce that? Would you send the Capitol Police down to arrest him?
GINGRICH: Sure. If you had to. Or you’d instruct the Justice Department to send a U.S. Marshal.
I have no idea how Schieffer didn’t react with disbelieving “what?” much like Barbara Walters’ response when Herman Cain said he would want to be Secretary of Defense.
Obviously Newt is off the rails and a couple of former Republican Attorney Generals with some questionable constitutional decisions under their belts think so, too. Former attorney generals Alberto Gonzalez and Michael Mukasey, also a former judge, weighed in on Newt’s judicial lunacy to defy the Supreme Court and, if necessary according to Newt, eliminate the courts that disagree with him all together. In appearances on Fox News they called Newt’s ideas “ridiculous,” “irresponsible,” “outrageous,” and “dangerous”:
KELLY: He wants to see the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals entirely abolished, your thoughts on that?
MUKASEY: Ridiculous. . . . to say that you’re going to undo and entire court simply because you don’t like some of their decisions, when there are thousands of cases before that court, is totally irresponsible. It’s outrageous because it essentially does away with the notion that when courts decide cases the proper way to have them reviewed is to go to a higher court. It’s dangerous because, even from the standpoint of the people who put it forward, you have no guarantee that you’ll have a permanent majority. . . . It would end with having a Democratic majority that then decides to abolish the Fourth Circuit and the Eleventh Circuit. And you go on and on and on. And I guess they could then reconstitute another court. It would reduce the entire judicial system to a spectacle.
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had a similar reaction:
GONZALES: The notion or the specter of bringing judges before the Congress, like a schoolchild being brought before the principal is, to me, a little bit troubling . . . . I cannot support and I would not support efforts that appear to be intimidation or retaliation against judges.
Keep in mind that these two men, supported some if the most unconstitutionally egregious of George W. Bush’s policies, including torture.
But poor Newt, he’s even slipping in the polls. According to Public Policy Polling, Rep. Ron Paul has now taken the lead in Iowa:
Newt Gingrich’s campaign is rapidly imploding, and Ron Paul has now taken the lead in Iowa. He’s at 23% to 20% for Mitt Romney, 14% for Gingrich, 10% each for Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry, 4% for Jon Huntsman, and 2% for Gary Johnson.
Gingrich has now seen a big drop in his Iowa standing two weeks in a row. His share of the vote has gone from 27% to 22% to 14%. And there’s been a large drop in his personal favorability numbers as well from +31 (62/31) to +12 (52/40) to now -1 (46/47). Negative ads over the last few weeks have really chipped away at Gingrich’s image as being a strong conservative, now only 36% of voters believe that he has ‘strong principles,’ while 43% think he does not.
Paul’s ascendancy is a sign that perhaps campaigns do matter at least a little, in a year where there has been a lot of discussion about whether they still do in Iowa. 22% of voters think he’s run the best campaign in the state compared to only 8% for Gingrich and 5% for Romney. The only other candidate to hit double digits on that question is Bachmann at 19%. Paul also leads Romney 26-5 (with Gingrich at 13%) with the 22% of voters who say it’s ‘very important’ that a candidate spends a lot of time in Iowa. Finally Paul leads Romney 29-19 among the 26% of likely voters who have seen one of the candidates in person.
Iowa is no predictor of who will get the nomination and the caucuses are an undemocratic form of voting with no absentee ballots and very low voter turn out but Iowa is a predictor for early primary states. However, the recent harsh criticism from right wing politicians and pundits may keep Newt out of the Oval Office. Poor crazy Newt. Back to your room.