Full Unconcealed Panic

That was David Frum's phrase for what the GOP establishment would be feeling at a Newt Convention. I'd say it's clearly what they're thinking already, given the pro-Romney Super-Pac ad above (that was pulled at the last minute). The two grandees of conservative Washington punditry, George Will and Charles Krauthammer, have not minced words. Will:

"There is almost artistic vulgarity in Gingrich's unrepented role as a hired larynx for interests profiting from such government follies as ethanol and cheap mortgages." 


"[Gingrich is] possessed of an unbounded need for grand display that has already led him to unconservative places even he is at a loss to explain, and that as president would leave him in constant search of the out-of-box experience." 


[Newt] has every negative character trait that conservatives associate with ’60s excess: narcissism, self-righteousness, self-indulgence and intemperance. He just has those traits in Republican form.

Tom Coburn:

Gingrich had "one standard for the people that [he's] leading and a different standard" for himself.


The real issue for religious conservatives isn’t whether they can trust Gingrich. It’s whether they can afford to be associated with him.

Coulter FWIW:

Since Gingrich was forced out of the Speakership, he "occupied himself having an affair, divorcing his second wife and making money by being the consummate Washington insider — trading on access, taking $1.6 million from Freddie Mac and palling around with Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi and Al Sharpton."

Then there's Ron Paul's totally awesome ad. That pretty much covers the bases, doesn't it? You've got Mr Tory, Mr Neocon, Mr Hamiltonian, Mr Tightwad, Mr Theocon, and Miss Thing in rare agreement. But Fox News viewers and many many others in the base want none of it, at least so far. And so we have a fantastically interesting crisis in which the Republican establishment is trying to persuade the base to drop the candidate who now has commanding leads in four of the five first votes.

I'll have a large popcorn and a Coke Zero please.