Setting a new bar for campaign retorts, Newt Gingrich's spokesman Rick Tyler offered a blindingly colorful defense of his boss Wednesday, capping a week during which he was battered by the right over his criticism of Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare plan.
Gingrich has already conceded he made a "mistake" in choosing to describe the House Budget Committee chairman's proposal as "right-wing social engineering" in an interview over the weekend. But Tyler, pressed for reaction by The Huffington Post to the media coverage Gingrich endured, offered what looked to be an excerpt from an epic poem starring the ex-House speaker, trudging through a world of Cyclopean Sunday show hosts and editorial writers.
Excerpting it does little justice, so here is the response in full, as published in The Huffington Post.
From Tyler: "The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding. Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment's cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won't be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces."
And so it was written.
Tyler was driving home the point, made clear in Gingrich's follow-up comments this week, that the 2012 presidential candidate will not be cowed by the backlash to his early missteps in the race. Gingrich said as much during an interview with Fox News Tuesday night, claiming he would recover from the less-than-stellar week by "laughing at it." That was after he apologized to Ryan and had a cereal boxful of glitter thrown on him.
Gingrich claimed everyday Americans are, for the most part, not talking about "the kind of thing that seems to fascinate the Washington literati."
Cue Tyler. With Donald Trump bowing out, the 2012 field needs some characters. Tyler's part-Hunter Thompson, part-Don LaFontaine treatment of the week's media coverage signals he could become this cycle's Mark Salter, the ex-John McCain confidant known for blasting out scathing "Saltergrams" in the direction of his boss' foes.
Asked whether he would be sustaining this level of discourse in future statements, Tyler asked FoxNews.com in an email: "I can do pablem (sic) too?" (See definition here.)