Democrats couldn’t be more thrilled to see the Republican party turn on Newt Gingrich. And they’re capitalizing on it, politically.
In a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) gave Gingrich a giant bear hug, saying he agreed with Gingrich’s critique of the House Republican plan to privatize Medicare and warning Republicans that rejecting Gingrich locks them into a politically disastrous position.
“Newt and I are considered political opposites,” Schumer said, “but I couldn’t agree more with what he said Sunday about the House Republican proposal to end Medicare…. In a straight shooting way he acknowledged that this is right-wing social engineering.”That gives Republicans — particularly other presidential hopefuls, and members of the Senate who will soon have to vote on the Medicare plan — a stark choice: Side with Gingrich (and now Schumer) on the wisdom of the GOP Medicare plan, or back the proposal.
Republicans wasted no time dumping on Gingrich after his Sunday appearance on Meet the Press, and Gingrich himself has since embarked on one of the clumsiest cleanup jobs in political memory. But the marker’s already been set, and Democrats aren’t pretending it’s not a political gift.
“This is actually very good news for us as Dems in 2012,” Schumer said. “It means that the Republican leadership is not going to be listening to average voters…. It will make their nominee virtually unelectable in the general election.”