Newt Gingrich shocks by ripping Florida GOP blogger registration bill: 'The craziest timeline'
Newt Gingrich speaks to ABC News (screen grab)

One-time Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) earned some predictable criticism — and surprising praise — Sunday after he slammed an "embarrassing" GOP Florida bill demanding that bloggers writing about politicians register with the state.

"The idea that bloggers criticizing a politician should register with the government is insane," Gingrich tweeted. "It is an embarrassment that it is a Republican state legislator in Florida who introduced a bill to that effect. He should withdraw it immediately."

State Sen. Jason Brodeur's Senate Bill 1316 regarding "Information Dissemination" would require anyone who is paid to write “an article, a story, or a series of stories” about the governor, lieutenant governor, a state Cabinet officer, or any member of the Florida Legislature to register with the state Office of Legislative Services or the Commission on Ethics.

The bill would impose fines on any blogger covering politicians who refuse to register up to a maximum of $2,500. There would be an additional $25 daily if the fee isn't paid.

Several Republicans — and even some Democrats — hailed the tweet by Gingrich, long considered right-wing and just the kind of politician who might have supported mandating writers to register with the government. Many long-time critics, however, also blamed Gingrich for pushing Republicans down this predictable path.

Conservative pundit attorney George Conway retweeted Gingrich's message in support. One Twitter wag responded to the post with a meme saying: "The worst person you know just made a great point."

Democratic Florida Rep. Anna Eskimani agreed with Gingrich in a tweet that "this bill is truly ridiculous and an attack on First Amendment rights." But, she added, "there are a lot of other terrible bills by Florida Republicans to also highlight and we welcome criticism on all of them."

Popular Twitter commentator Jeff Tiedrich blamed Gingrich for where his party is today. "Pity poor Newt Gingrich, doomed to wake each morning into a world he helped create, " he tweeted.

Vanity Fair reporter Molly Jong Fast noted, "when you've lost Newt Gingrich," implying that it's not going well.

"You know you’re living in the craziest timeline when you find yourself agreeing with a tweet from Newt Gingrich (see also: the stopped clock analogy)," tweeted activist Tara Dublin.