Yes, Virginia, There is a Republican Establishment
Over the past several weeks we've seen the Republican presidential race increasingly framed as a fight between the GOP establishment and conservative insurgents. Following that development, a number of thoughtful critics -- some of them here at Ricochet -- have wondered aloud whether an "establishment" really exists or whether it's just a clever way of caricaturing one's opponents within the party as insufficiently conservative. That was the note that Jeb Bush sounded to Time Magazine when he recently told the publication, "I don't know what the Republican establishment is. I haven't learned the secret handshake, and I don't know where to go for a membership card."
While it's true that there's no shadowy cabal meeting in a safe room under the Lincoln Memorial, anyone who doesn't think there are party grandees trying to impose their will on primary voters is deluding themselves.
I say this by way of introducing a bit of information I received yesterday from a very well-placed source. A veteran member of the House Republican Caucus recently received a phone call from within the RNC (it was not disclosed to me who placed the call) soliciting his help in convincing Newt Gingrich to step aside and clear a path to the nomination for Mitt Romney. Whoever cooked up this idea was not exactly firing on all cylinders, since (A) the member in question, despite considerable seniority, is far from influential and (B) attempting to stand athwart Newt Gingrich's ambition is like sticking your head in a howitzer.
Remarkably, the member actually agreed to place the call. Gingrich's response? Well, it was a three-word phrase that began with "go" and ended with "yourself." I'd say Newt's insurgent bona fides are still intact.