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Inside the Beltway
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When in doubt, go “insurgent.” Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has now reinvented himself as a grass-roots “insurgent,” says Time magazine and several other news organizations as he continues to face down rival Mitt Romney’s aggressive uber-campaign. “Insurgent” fits Mr. Gingrich, what with his bold dialogue, tea party love and badgerlike presence on the campaign trail; some critics say it’s a last-ditch effort to stay in the race.
Yeah, well. It all boils down to how long the money lasts. Mr. Gingrich, meanwhile, is not the only politician to go “insurgent.”
The potent term was first used in 1765; contemporary political analysts say it connotes a candidate who is anti-Washington, an underdog and outsider who wants to challenge party establishment.
The press first got cozy with “insurgent” in the mid-1960s, when it was used to describe Barry Goldwater. It has since spanned the political and ideological spectrum. Over the years, other insurgents have included Eugene McCarthy, Jerry Brown, Pat Buchanan, Ross Perot, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, Donald Trump, Jesse Ventura, Bill Bradley and Sen. John McCain. The Arizona Republican was a self-described insurgent as early as 2000.
“I am a proud Reagan conservative. I love the Republican Party. It is my home. Don’t fear this campaign, my fellow Republicans — join it,” Mr. McCain told his followers at the time. “This is where you belong, in the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.”
So says “American Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe in an invitation to the president via Twitter, following Mr. Obama’s mellifluous rendition of “Let’s Stay Together” during a campaign appearance at the Apollo Theater. Lythgoe is serious, and he said Tuesday he’s contacting Mr. Green about the possibilities; the event could draw millions and millions of viewers. And much free campaign publicity.
But there’s some bias with a beat here. Mr. Lythgoe was not so kind to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who offered a heartfelt version of a most patriotic tune during a campaign stop in Florida.
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