You should not be surprised by Hume's statement. Gingrich, after all, made a lot of enemies within his own party when he was Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 1990s.
Many of those were members of Congress whose toes he stomped on to get his "Contract With America" rammed through the House. (The Senate did not approve of the Contract however, and with President Clinton's vetoes the Contract was actually defeated.) Conservatives in the House of Representatives were so upset with Gingrich, in fact, that they challenged Speaker Gingrich's method of bullying members in a resolution.
"The truth is, nobody actually likes Mr. Gingrich," writes Charles Hurt in The Washington Times today. "They just really don’t like Mr. Romney or Mr. Santorum, and they are a little worried about Rep. Ron Paul." Hurt calls Gingrich "the king of drama," who sometimes plays "the soul-searching Hamlet and at other times the destructive King Lear."
Indeed, many conservative voters are fearing a replay of 2008, in which mealy-mouthed RINO John McCain was pitted against the smoother, hipper Barack Obama. Three years ago, most of us on the Right held our noses and voted for McCain. Others (stupidly) refused to vote for him because he was too moderate or liberal on various issues.
The Contract "set the Republican agenda, which included curbing spending and cutting government waste, opening committee meetings to the public, and reining in the budget," and is credited with helping Republicans to achieve their first majority in the House in 40 years. (Mitt Romney, running against incumbent Ted Kennedy for U.S. Senate in 1994, opposed the Contract.)
In December of last year, former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) said that Newt Gingrich "lied to the president of the United States" during budget negotiations with George H.W. Bush. Simpson has some bitter memories of the battle for the Contract With America. His story got minor media attention, then quickly faded. It may well surface again before the Republican National Convention.
"Now," wrote Boston.com's Michael Kranish, "many members of the Republican Party establishment are watching Gingrich’s rise with trepidation, fearing a repeat may be at hand. In response, some Republicans have aligned with Mitt Romney, and even those who have not made an endorsement, including Simpson, are hoping to remind voters of Gingrich’s record."
In late January of 2012, we find ourselves looking at four remaining candidates, with Gingrich and Romney, both RINOs, as the front runners.
Let's face facts: Neither Rick Santorum nor Ron Paul stand a chance of winning the GOP nomination for president in 2012. While Santorum is a stiff social conservative, he's uninspiring, bland, and was the only Republican who to defend the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which threatened Internet freedom until public outcry defeated it last week. Paul, a Libertarian isolationist appeaser who is trespassing in the GOP primaries by posing as a Republican, is frightening to many would-be Republican voters. He doesn't stand a chance of getting the nomination, either, but he has left open the option to run as a third party candidate. (Is it any coincidence that Ron Paul has same initials as Ross Perot? In 1992, conservative Perot siphoned off enough votes from George H. W. Bush that Bill Clinton won the election.)
We conservative voters are left, then, with the prospect of reliving the nightmare of 2008, but with a few extra boogie men in the cast. Santorum, considered "too conservative" by many. Ron Paul, considered too loony by most. Romney, considered by many to be too liberal and now weakened by the South Carolina Gingrich Primary Landslide. Gingrich, the current front runner but also considered too liberal by many.
Of all of them, Gingrich gives the most powerful performance in a debate. That seems to be the one thing that Republicans and conservatives can agree on about him. It's just too bad that what Gingrich says so powerfully has so often sounded like it came from the mouth of a progressive liberal.