Thursday, December 01, 2011


Political Mayhem Thursday: Newt!

The leader of the pack in the coming-up-fast Republican primaries (January 3!) is Newt Gingrich, who appeared dead in the water not so long ago. Of course, that was back in the days when Michelle Bachmann was making news for something more than unfortunate photographs (which I am NOT going to link to).

Nearly everyone seems to say the same thing about Newt Gingrich-- that he is smart, that he has some good ideas, and that there is no way he is going to win. It's pretty much what they were saying two weeks ago about the then-ascendant Herman Cain (except maybe the "good ideas" part). There is kind of a bleak acceptance that Mitt Romney will be the nominee, but no one really is very excited about it.

In the meantime, here are some fun facts about Newt:

1) Before entering politics in 1978 (when he was elected to Congress), he was a history professor at West Georgia college. He was denied tenure (ouch!) at about the time he transitioned to politics. Until I looked this up, I was under the impression that he was actually a prominent historian who entered politics after a distinguished academic career. (Of course, I also recently confused Fredrick Douglas with Stephen Douglas, so I am not in much of a position to criticize him).

2) In 1988 I read Gingrich's book Window of Opportunity, and liked it so much that I tried to lend it to friends (including IPLawGuy).

3) Gingrich's first wife was his high school geometry teacher, whom he married when he was 19-- right after high school.

4) Gingrich was Time's Man of the Year in 1995-- and deserved it, given his important influence on American politics at that time.

So... is there a chance he will be President?

No, I don't think so. He's got a weird streak, and women voters will sniff it out and vote for someone else.
And, by coincidence, I just read Maureen Dowd's op-ed in the Times on Gingrich himself, and she wrote (among other things) this:

"But next to Romney, Gingrich seems authentic. Next to Herman Cain, Gingrich seems faithful. Next to Jon Huntsman, Gingrich seems conservative. Next to Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, Gingrich actually does look like an intellectual. Unlike the governor of Texas, he surely knows the voting age. To paraphrase Raymond Chandler, if brains were elastic, Perry wouldn’t have enough to make suspenders for a parakeet.

In presidential campaigns, it’s all relative."
The guy who cheated on his cancer-stricken wife with that weird albino skeletor lady, converted to Catholicism to please her, then ran up a cool half mil at Tiffany's on whore diamonds?

Yeah, he's exactly what Christians conservatives want.
Newt is the clear choice in the current field:

1. He is the smartest and best-read
2. He has experience at creating a conservative change
3. He has a fun name
4. His flaws have already been exposed
5. He could actually debate Obama equally
6. He has a good demeanor for a president
7. He has a mix of traditional conservative principles and new innovative ideas.
Well, so far there we are quoting Maureen Dowd and referencing specious claims about his personal life (it was his first wife that had cancer not the one he left for "skeletor", and his own children with that first wife dispute her version of events)(also, where do you get "whore diamonds"). So, at least we know people are confronting his policies and raising the level of political discourse around here!

Sure he can be President. The only serious competition he faces is Mitt, and for people like me there are real questions about whether Mitt is a conservative or a "compassionate conservative" with a soft spot for big government in the style of George W. Bush. So, I think he represents the most realistic "conservative" alternative to Mitt (especially given Perry's continued insistance on showing the world what happens when an Aggie speaks in public).

Will he beat Obama? In the immortal words of James Carville, "its the economy stupid!" If things are the same 11 months from now with our economy then a stiff wind could probably knock Obama out of the Whitehouse. No guarantee, but history generally shows that a President doesn't get more than four years when the economy is a wreck.
Pretty much true, RRL. The economy will be the key, and I think you are right about Romney, too. I suspect that social conservatives will never really like Newt, but he probably doesn't let that bother him too much.

I had to look up "Skeletor"...
Newt is all the things that americans say they don't want; 1)He is a Washington insider and has profited from his position. A no no for the tea party 2) He is a corporate insider and has profited from his position. A no no for the Occupy movement 3) A history of bad behavior in his job and family. A no no for most of us.

However, he is a serious contender positioning himself as an alternative for a genuinely good man, President Obama.

That we are actually discussing this incredibly self serving narcissist as a candidate for President of the United States at such an important time in our history just illustrates the dearth of available leaders willing to get involved.
I have a hard time with the integrity issues related to Neuter. I also think he is a closet corporatist. And the only Speaker in history to suffer ethics charges.

A part of me thinks that we are entering a branch of alternative history. And that in all the other universes in the metaverse, Ron Paul became President and re-established the Republic.

He's the only Republican left in the entire party, so why does he always get hosed by the media and the party machine? It's the only thing that would explain the media and the rank and file's behavior.

If only Dean Stockwell could help Scott Bakula jump into our timeline, we would all be saved.

I also have some juicy stories about some of Neuter's Congressional aides, as an old roommate was a Neutron.
"Newt is all the things that americans say they don't want"

This opening line made me think of the famous Pauline Kael quote.

"1)He is a Washington insider and has profited from his position"

I'm good with this, because I don't let taglines, like "Washington insider" scare me or determine how I feel about somebody.

"2) He is a corporate insider and has profited from his position."

In other words, he has had jobs and makes money at them. Again, at least for this American, I'm not persuaded that he is evil.

"3) A history of bad behavior in his job and family."

Well, as far as his family is concerned, I thought Liberals thought that was none of our business. Or is that only when it is your politicians that are cheating on their wives? And the ethics violations are troubling, however his legislative record is something worth championing.

"However, he is a serious contender positioning himself as an alternative for a genuinely good man, President Obama."

See, I don't know if President Obama is a good man. I don't know him. He probably is. But how could I figured that out. This is the problem. We are all flawed. We are all fallen. None of us are perfect. And who gets to decide whot he "good men" and "bad men" are?
First off, I have a hard time believing you read Window of Opportunity ever, let alone in 1988when you were in law school. If you did have time to read that instead of your case books, that just proves the Yale is a twinkie law school.

If you actually did try to get me to read it, I would have reminded you of my firm rule against reading books by or about living politicians. They are all self-serving.

In addition:

Newt's Skelator/Tiffany laden wife is wife #3 (she's been known to use a leaf blower in full regalia -- trust me I know)

He cheated on Wife #2 with wife #3

Not sure if he was cheating on Wife #1, who is still alive, when the discussion of divorce came up while she was in the hospital.

Newt's a very weird guy, (his neighbors have stories) but he does not scare me the way Cain, Bachman, Santorum, Perry and others do.

His ideas, however, are MOSTLY OK with me though. Not all.

What concerns me is his absolute lack of executive ability. He was a great "revolutionary" leading the charge in the early 90's, but a TERRIBLE Speaker of the House. He is not a manager.

At this point, my plan is to vote for Romney in the Virginia GOP primary, but who knows....

I keep Huntsman will emerge, but the clock is running out on that.
Of all those in the "R" field Huntsman (that liberal Governor from Utah - huh...) is probably the most credible candidate.

For some reason, Newt conjurs up pictures of Boris Yeltsin in my head. Aside from looking a little like him I'm sure they did vodka shots together at some point during the glasnost era.

And for those who don't like the lecturing of President Obama, don't you think a former History professor is going to give a few lectures along the way.

He will implode soon; even Ron Paul is taking pot shots at him. And his dealings with Fannie and Freddie (History consultant - right...).

There is more than meets the 'eye' of Newt.

Sorry for the rambling - my head is not clear today.
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