"I was very surprised by it. Callista posted my statement on her Facebook page and was amazed at some of the intensity -- some of whom came back three, four and five times repeating how angry they were."
-- Newt Gingrich on CNN today, talking about the outrage that his praising of Nelson Mandela spawned among conservatives
Here's what Gingrich said about Mandela last week, following the social justice icon's death:
"President Nelson Mandela was one of the greatest leaders of our lifetime. When he visited the Congress I was deeply impressed with the charisma and the calmness with which he could dominate a room. It was as if the rest of us grew smaller and he grew stronger and more dominant the longer the meeting continued."
And, predictably, here are just a few of the responses he was inundated with:
While a lot of people have pointed out the revisionism from some in establishment conservative circles -- the people who once kept Mandela at arm's length and regarded him in much the same way the yokels above do but who now embrace him without denouncing their previous opinions -- to me it's much more entertaining to watch guys like Gingrich be confused by exactly who their fans are.
Really, Newt? You're "surprised" that your supporters out there in the American conservative wasteland are a bunch of ill-informed, reactionary assholes who can't see Mandela as anything more than a "commie terrorist?" Seriously? This shocks you? Who the hell do you think perpetuated this kind of thinking among them and who's profited from their blind, incoherent rage and clueless provincialism? These are your people. This kind of stupidity is your bread-and-butter. Without it -- without them -- you'd have no career. You exist solely because of them and therefore serve at their pleasure.
As someone who's both encouraged and benefited from the hate, bile, and rank stupidity of this nation's dwindling demographic of terrified white conservatives, you don't even get to pretend to be surprised that this is how it reacts to your praising of Nelson Mandela.
Although maybe there is something to be said for these people's ferocity in calling you out for such naked hypocrisy.