Political parties in Washington generally go out of their way to avoid naming a "litmus test" for potential officeholders and nominees -- a prescribed set of standards and policy stances candidates must adhere to in order to be considered viable. But since former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich spoke negatively of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan, the unholy backlash has made clear that there's a new king on the Hill these days.
Gingrich has been forced to quickly walk back his criticism of the House GOP budget plan, signaling that a new brand of fiscal conservatism is now the driving force in mainstream Republican politics these days. This is undoubtedly great news for the tea party movement which helped set this course. But the folks in charge of Obama's reelection campaign are probably happiest of all knowing that someone as influential in the GOP as Newt Gingrich can now be used in to characterize this new direction as "radical."
The real test will come in 2012: Will mainstream Americans place more importance in fiscal discipline or in maintaining Medicare as is?
In the meantime, stay tuned -- Gingrich is going to be speaking to reporters shortly and The Blaze will have all the latest.