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The wisdom of…Newt Gingrich?

Newt Gingrich’s rhetorical tics are well-known – his fondness for the word “frankly,” his eagerness to frame even the most mundane development in dramatic world-historical terms, and his eagerness to accuse his enemies of practicing “machine” politics.

So it’s tempting to dismiss the broadside he leveled against Karl Rove and his Conservative Victory Project earlier this week as typical Gingrich grandstanding. And to a degree, that’s all it is. In a Human Events Op-Ed, the former House speaker and failed 2012 White House candidate accused Rove of employing “the system of Tammany Hall and the Chicago machine.” Anyone who’s been following Gingrich for a while is surely familiar with this line of attack; here, for example, here he is in the summer of 1993 castigating Bill Clinton and “the Democratic machine” for forcing a tax hike bill through the House (a bill that ended up playing no small role in the balanced budgets of the late ‘90s – but that’s a story for another day).

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