S.E. Cupp says she's not one to question Sarah Palin's instincts, but Newt Gingrich?
She says popular Palin could be using her sway to support a more viable GOP candidate
She says many of Gingrich's attributes run counter to what Palin has said she stands for
Cupp: If Palin has a plan that makes squandering support on Gingrich logical, it's not obvious
Editor’s Note: S.E. Cupp is the author of “Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity” and co-author of “Why You’re Wrong About the Right.” She is a columnist at the New York Daily News and a political commentator for Glenn Beck’s GBTV.
Far be it for me to offer unsolicited advice to Sarah Palin. She’s built a very successful career out of going rogue and certainly doesn’t need any tips from me.
And, as an occasional pundit, a political influencer and a private citizen, she’s free to throw her weight behind anyone she wants.
But I just have to say it: Newt Gingrich? Really?
Now, I’m not in the camp of conservative elites who think she’s seen her best days and should politely retire to obscurity. If anything, the premiere of “Game Change” on HBO on Saturday is proof that she’s still relevant; she’s got considerable influence over a certain wing of the party.
And so with great power comes great responsibility. Is Newton Leroy Gingrich the most responsible pick?
Of all the remaining candidates, in fact, the one that makes the least sense is Newt. Mitt Romney I could see, if she wanted to bring the party together. Rick Santorum I could see for his social conservatism, strong Christian faith and similar family stories. I could even see Ron Paul for his “throw the bums out” and “end the Fed” rogue-isms. But Newt?
When rumors first started swirling that Palin might back the former House speaker and self-appointed “cheerful” candidate, Gingrich was surging then. She said she’d vote for him in South Carolina if she could. She wanted to keep the primary alive, she said. And, playing to Newt’s strength at the time, she urged “more debates” and “more vetting of candidates.”
But now, with Newt’s ham-fisted campaign out of mojo, and no debates on the horizon, it would seem like a good time to jump off that train and get behind Romney or Santorum.
Instead, she doubled down Tuesday, telling Fox Business Network that she voted for Gingrich in the Alaska caucuses, where he finished dead last. And why? “I have appreciated what he has stood for,” she said. “He has been the underdog in many of these primary races and these caucuses.”
Again, Palin’s free to like any candidate she wants, and those would be valid arguments, if they were true.
What Newt has stood for, both during his political career and during this campaign, sits in total contradiction to what Palin has stood for since becoming a public figure. She’s for small government; he’s shown a disturbing penchant for big government solutions. She champions Washington outsiders and rails against the establishment; he’s the epitome of establishment, and has been firmly encamped inside the Beltway for decades. The very people who appreciate Palin should be the same people who despise Gingrich.
And he’s hardly been an “underdog.” With the backing of billionaire financier Sheldon Adelson and the benefit of serious name recognition, he’s enjoyed the money, media attention and opportunity that other GOP candidates didn’t. If Newt’s been an underdog, I’m sure Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann would have been happy to switch places.
The truth is, Newt isn’t the “little guy” in any sense of the word. And if that were truly Palin’s criteria, there are actual little guys, such as Buddy Roemer and Gary Johnson to champion.
Or even better, she doesn’t have to support any of them.
Maybe Palin’s got a master plan in which she makes a late run at the presidency and puts Newt on her ticket. Still, it seems like an incongruous pick and waste of her considerable influence among far-right conservatives.
But I’m sure she knows what she’s doing.
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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of S.E. Cupp.