Make no mistake; this special election in New York is not just one mere congressional race. As Erickson himself Tweeted, for conservative activists it is “a hill to die on.” And Human Events reporter Jon Gizzi wrote that the race had become “a top priority among conservatives nationwide.” In many ways, the race is serving as a proxy for the war going on between grassroots conservatives and establishment Republicans over the future direction of the Republican Party. Gingrich has sided with the establishment. But although online conservatives are threatening to hold a grudge against the former speaker, I believe it is unlikely that Gingrich will suffer for his endorsement. The blogosphere’s splenetics notwithstanding, Gingrich is the only person who could pull this off without doing long-term damage to his standing in the conservative firmament.
After all, his past actions have not harmed him a bit. He is still cheered on when he appears on Fox News or when he speaks at meetings like the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). For a movement that seems trigger-happy to excommunicate “traitors,” Gingrich repeatedly gets a pass. There are several reasons for this.