It was an amazing statement from a Republican, and just what Democrats wanted to hear.
It came from ex-Colorado congressman, hard-right foghorn and recently candidate-for-everything Tom Tancredo:
"I firmly believe this … The greatest threat to the country that our founding fathers put together is the man that's sitting in the White House today."
Tancredo was appearing at an event to support Colorado Republican Senate nominee Ken Buck, a tea party darling. His words drew loud applause.
Democrats would thank them both for this kind of rhetoric when Buck lost to centrist Michael Bennett in the Senate race. Meanwhile, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper routed Tancredo and another tea party product, Dan Maes, in a three-man race for governor.
Advantage Dems. Advantage voices of reason. Oh, and thank you, Newt Gingrich.
Before Tancredo let fly with this bombast, Gingrich coined it. In a Fox News interview, he affirmed writing in his book To Save America that the Obama administration was as "great a threat to America as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union." (Maybe so as not to be charged with plagiarism, Tancredo called Obama a greater threat than al Qaida.)
Suffice it to say, then, that thank-you notes go out this week from Democrats thrilled that Newt the Bomb Thrower is at the head of the Republican pack. Talk about an easy target, and we aren't talking girth.
How joyous should the Ds be about this development? RealClearPolitics.com keeps a running cumulative poll: Obama vs. the Republican front runner. For weeks, the RCP average showed Obama leading Mitt Romney by one to 2 points. When Gingrich started outpolling Romney among Republicans (now by an average of 7.5 points nationwide), Obama suddenly had a six-point advantage.
What is the reason for Newt's surge? Clearly, it is the same reason why hard-right Ken Buck was the man who Republicans sent up in the Senate race in Colorado, and Sharron Angle in Nevada, and Christine O'Donnell in Delaware. The tea party is the GOP's life force. He or she who enunciates best what it is thinking and saying will be its standard-bearer.
As in Obama depicting "Kenyan, anti colonial behavior." (Gingrich)
As in Justice Sonia Sotomayor being "racist." (Gingrich)
As in saying the nation was "in danger of becoming a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists." (Yes, Gingrich)
You realize what you are hearing from this man; you are hearing Rush Limbaugh in a better suit. And isn't that the way it's always been?
If Rush got caught playing fast and loose with OxyContin scrips, Gingrich got caught — reprimanded, the first sitting U.S. House speaker so disgraced — for misusing tax-deductible contributions. He was fined $300,000.
Rush, while howling about Godless Democrats and out all those Christian family values he upholds, as well as "defending marriage," has been through several marriages. He is on No. 4. Guess who, at wife No. 3, is playing catchup? Gingrich.
Well, then, Limbaugh never cheated on and dumped his life-mate while she faced grave illness, as Gingrich did wives Nos. 1 and 2. Until death? See you later.
You understand, it's all about Christian principles, as Gingrich stressed to a campaign gathering the other day in a South Carolina church. The congregants seemed less interested, naturally, in Newt's track record as a moral person than with his fealty to anti-choice politics.
Wait, you say: The key reason Gingrich has risen in the polls, aside from right-wingers' discomfort with Romney, is that at times he has appeared to be the only adult in the room during the comedy chautauqua advertised as the GOP presidential debates. It's true.
And the Democrats are sitting in the living-room audience, applauding his every measured word.
When it comes to a paper trail, a list of damaging quotes as long as Lincoln's arm, and a track record of achievement headed by shutting down the government (helping assure Bill Clinton's re-election), well, what better candidate could the opposition ask for?
Unless. Rush, will you run?
Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: email@example.com.