Opinion Brief

Newt Gingrich vs. Elena Kagan

The former House Speaker is slamming the Supreme Court nominee for her "anti-military" views — but is he, indirectly, trying to promote her?

Newt Gingrich has waded into the Supreme Court debate, demanding that President Obama withdraw Elena Kagan's nomination because of her "anti-military" views. Gingrich, the former Republican House Speaker, has seized on Kagan's decision to bar military recruiters from the Harvard Law School's official career center in 2004 because of concerns over "don't ask, don't tell." But since Republicans have said they won't block Kagan's nomination, what is Gingrich hoping to accomplish? (Watch The Week's Sunday Talk Show Briefing about Kagan's clean record)

Nothing. He's just happy to be on TV: If Newt's "clownish" soundbite sounds familiar, says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly, it's because he demanded that Obama's last pick, Sonia Sotomayor, be "forced to withdraw," too. No wonder TV hosts invite the irrelevant Republican hack back — he "says crazy things on a fairly regular basis.""It's like deja vu all over again"

Gingrich is preaching to the choir: Other GOP leaders are making this dubious "anti-military" case against Kagan, too, says Steven L. Taylor at Outside the Beltway, but who cares apart from those "predisposed to oppose any Obama nominee"? In hindsight, Kagan's opposition to "don't ask, don't tell" hardly seems radical.  "The politics of Kagan and the military"

Gingrich is actually trying to promote Kagan: Gingrich's criticism — and he has a point — is only "giving [Kagan] a boost" among "waffling" liberals," says Boston Herald editor Jules Crittenden in his blog. And that's not an accident: Gingrich knows she's "probably the best conservatives could hope for" in an Obama nominee."Advanced gotcha calculus"

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