I have to share Dana Milbank’s sentiment in his open love letter to Newt Gingrich this week. It would be a real shame to lose Newt (and he thinks the liberal east coast media elite hates him! Au contraire!). Mostly I would be saddened by the thought that the ghost of Saul Alinsky would then have to go back to his usual haunts on the south side of Chicago and abandon the national stage.
For those who visit this blog, you know that I had my own hunch as to why the incessant bringing up of Alinsky without context or explanation might not be so good for Newt with the Jews (though it seems to have made no difference to the one Jewish family who really mattered to him). But I was glad to read yesterday that David Brooks of The New York Times at least concurred on the question of that particular reference falling more than a little flat.
David Brooks: Newt Gingrich never should have messed with Saul Alinsky. All across Florida old geezers were hearing Gingrich rage against Alinsky and they were thinking, “Alinsky, Alinsky, I think that’s the guy I play bingo with in Boca. Seems like a perfectly nice fella. If Gingrich hates him, I think I’ll vote for Mitt.”That’s my first takeaway from the Florida primary. Don’t mess with Saul Alinsky. I’d lay off Gus Hall too, just to be safe.
Gal Beckerman was a staff writer and then the Forward’s opinion editor until 2014. He was previously an assistant editor at the Columbia Journalism Review where he wrote essays and media criticism. His book reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review and Bookforum. His first book, “When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry,” won the 2010 National Jewish Book Award and the 2012 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, as well as being named a best book of the year by The New Yorker and The Washington Post. Follow Gal on Twitter at @galbeckerman