Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary! This is the craziest! And at this rate, he may well win in Florida. (Part of me hopes that he’ll win the nomination, because there’s no way he could beat Barack. The other part of me is depressed that this could even happen.) This, it seems, is the natural result of American conservatism’s shift to extremism fueled by fear and hatred.
What a political movement gets when it spends years marshaling more demagoguery than sound arguments against its opponents, what it gets when its intellectuals are deposed by its entertainers, what it gets when Roger Ailes and Rush Limbaugh are its agenda-setting personalities; what it gets when all these factors and more prevail, is a Newt Gingrich victory in South Carolina, where the voters, having been trained to elevate emotion and style over substance, didn’t even realize that they’ve chosen as their champion a man who is neither conservative nor capable of leading anyone.