What the right has -- as Gingrich discovered last week to his chagrin -- is a ruthless identity border patrol, with agents spread throughout the political system. Step over any one of a number of lines, even lines that didn't exist just weeks ago, and those agents will inform you, with all the subtlety of a truncheon to the kneecaps, that you are no longer within the conservative nation. "For Republicans running for president in 2012, there's a new political reality: Support Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan -- or else," wrote the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza. "Newt Gingrich learned that lesson the hard way." And did he ever. "A candidate who is timid on entitlement reforms is not qualified to be president," wrote Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks, a group that trains and organizes Tea Partiers, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. "He's done," Charles Krauthammer declared on Fox News. "He didn't have a big chance from the beginning, but now it's over."
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