Sarah Palin has thrown her political clout behind Newt Gingrich and angered many of her own supporters in the process.
As Romney and Gingrich continued their slapfight in Florida, last Friday Palin posted a Facebook diatribe attacking Newt's antagonists titled "Cannibals in GOP Establishment Employ Tactics of the Left."
Essentially, she's concerned that Romney is favored by the "old guard" and wants to ensure that the eventual nominee has the "blessing of the grassroots." Because clearly it's been quite some time since we saw a candidate as independent and fresh-faced as… Newt Gingrich. While she admitted, with some understatement, that Newt is "an imperfect vessel for Tea Party support," she urged her 3 million plus Facebook fans to throw their support behind the voluble Speaker. And they're not happy about it, taking to her page to say things like:
My wife and I used to be big fans of Sarah. But we're disappointed in her judgment by endorsing Gingrich. Not exactly the true conservative he claims to be and Newt would get pummeled by Obama. I know Sarah wants to remain politically relevant in this crusade, but her brand has been damaged a little on this debate. We desperately need a need a businessman in the White House to create jobs, not another career politician with bold but impractical ideas.
I can't vote for a person with the personal ethics of Newt. I thought conservatives were for values. He walked out on two wives, without even a lame excuse. He broke two sets of marriage vows, then asks us to trust him? Sarah, its hypocritical of conservatives to scorn Bill Clinton, then claim Gingrich is OK.
I am very disappointed in your support of Newt. I am a life long conservative that could never vote for a serial cheater. He has a character flaw, plain and simple.
We the people will never support Newt. He was a corrupt joke of a speaker and a corrupt joke of a husband. WE WILL WRITE IN RON PAUL.
The reaction is less than surprising, since Palin has industriously cultivated her status among small government Tea Partiers and religious conservatives who are much more keen on Paul and Santorum, respectively, than on Gingrich, the hefty lothario with a fondness for announcing huge government initiatives like "moon-states."
So why is Palin going out on a limb for Newt? Because he'll scratch her back. After Palin sent some boosting praise his way during the South Carolina primary, Gingrich took to the airwaves to say he'd want her to "play a major role" in his administration. In short, there's some intense, mutual bread-buttering going on here between two consummate opportunists who keep shoe-horning their way back into national politics with a wink or a sly grin. They're not so different, Sarah and Newt. And it makes sense that they'd eventually join forces in an unholy union of mama grizzly and Cheshire cat.