Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Man Who Will Never Be President, Take Two

In April of this year, I outlined why Newt Gingrich will never become President. Now it is December, and after the implosion of several Republican candidates for President in varied and fantastic ways, we see something which makes me wary of the true intellectual capacity of the American voter: Mr. Gingrich at the top of the polls, challenging Mitt Romney for supremacy at the top of the GOP heap.

Perhaps it has been too long since he last held the national spotlight, and maybe you who have thrown yourselves in his camp have forgotten, so let me bring up a few things about the peripatetic Mr. Gingrich which you might deign to consider before you continue to support him...

  • We can start, of course, with everyone's favorite peccadillo, the divorce of his cancer-ridden wife for a new model, punctuated by his coming to her hospital bed to discuss how the divorce would proceed. Though much hyperbole has been attached to this happening, the bottom line remains the same: Newt was busy "trading up" as his current wife lay sick in her hospital bed. Mind you, this is the same man who so zealously pursued impeachment against President Bill Clinton for an ill-advised White House dalliance.
  • We could mention -- if it is not too inconvenient -- that he was and is the only Speaker of the House to be brought up for ethics violations
  • We might note the peculiarity of his taking millions of dollars from Freddie Mac for consulting work, an agency he spent a good deal of effort trying to close and which used to suggest that certain members of Congress be arrested and tried for malfeasance because of their support for it.
  • It may be noted that for someone who has taught history and claims to be steeped in it, his historical knowledge is many times, to put it politely, badly flawed.
  • Even one of his strongest character traits -- his ability to buck GOP convention -- becomes a weakness, because he is too willing to change course for the sake of pandering. Look at how he called out Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan for what it was, bad, and then proceeded to apologize when the party backlash became too strong.
  • For every cogent theory that he manages to come up with (health care reform), there are several that defy description (ending child labor laws). He is, in essence, a slightly less cantankerous, slightly less insensitive version of Ron Paul, with better bona fides in the Republican Party.
Now, probably about the only person other than a Gingrich supporter who is happy to see Newt at the top of the polls is President Obama. It would not be much of a stretch to say that the ethically-challenged former Speaker and his wild-and-wacky roadshow would be easy meat for the cerebral and well-spoken President. Still, if the GOP ultimately manages to install Newt Gingrich as its 2012 Presidential nominee, it will be solid proof that the Grand "Old" Party has lost complete touch with modern reality. Dragging up a GOP icon of the 90's with questionable personal and political ethics and using a patchwork agenda that relies on tired tropes of the same era, Republicans might be better served attempting to reanimate the fetid corpse of Ronald Reagan.

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