Gingrich the Bully

Think Progress' Igor Volsky has posted a great video of Newt Gingrich promising to answer reporters' questions at an event, only to disappear and leave his aide to inform them, "No more questions!" Well, refusing to answer questions will make for a fun campaign!

I was even more interested, however, in Gingrich's response to a reporter who asks him (at 0:20), in reference to his six figure tab at Tiffany's, "Do you feel like working families will be able to relate to you when they hear about the Tiffany account?" Gingrich replies, "No, I feel like you are far more fascinated by that than most Americans. Normal Americans ask about jobs; they ask about energy; they ask about all sorts of things that affect their lives."

"Normal Americans." A group of which the press—at least members of the press who ask him questions he doesn't like—are not a part.

Let us also recall that Gingrich is no fan of citizen participation in the public sphere when it does not suit his purposes, either.

The Othering of ideological opponents, or responsible media, as "not real Americans" or "not normal Americans" is hardly a new habit, especially among conservatives, but Gingrich is truly audacious in his naked hostility toward anyone Not Like Him. And why not?—it's a keen and effective silencing strategy, especially for managing the Villagers, who fear not just discontinued access to highly placed sources but also being branded part of a liberal media, not a normal American, if they cross a power-player like Gingrich.

He may well be right that "normal Americans" don't ask about his extraordinary account at Tiffany's, though I daresay it's not because they don't care about such things, but because they virtually never hear about them—thanks to a media largely populated by people obliged to keep secrets in exchange for a place at the table.

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