Sunday, December 4, 2011

Newt Gingrich

I think Mr. Gingrich stands a strong chance of being the next President of the United States.

We watched/listened to his speech a couple of nights ago, and his oratorical skills match or perhaps exceed Mr. Obama's. (Plus, he's more of a thinker.) He knows how to give a feel-good speech. He invokes Lincoln, Franklin, Jefferson, tells you heartwarming stories about them. He invites us to join him in "rebuilding that America".

Fat chance. That America was two centuries ago; we need a new America that lives up to those ideals. We need to look forward even more than backward.

How to get there? Mr. Gingrich didn't say. There was not a single mention of any of the issues that concern most Americans today. Nothing about the economy or the banking system or Wall Street or the crisis in Europe or jobs or home forclosures or ... well, you name it, he didn't mention it.

I'm all in awe and admiration at such consummate skill in sounding wonderful and saying nothing. He does it even better than Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton and that's saying a lot.

It will be interesting to see if he improves over the course of the campaign.

7 comments:

David Garner said...

Gingrich's problem is not that he lacks vision or a plan. His problem is he is dishonest. I acknowledge he may have repented of that, but unfortunately, when one is running for the highest office in the land, one's burden of proof is higher.

For me, it's Ron Paul or Jon Huntsman. I enjoyed your commentary on Paul, especially as it relates to my comments here about Gingrich.

Ps-Iosifson said...

The problem is he isn't just dishonest with women he's married to, he's been consistently dishonest about the positions he is taking and has taken. Krugman has an interesting view on that in today's column.

Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough (who worked with and under Gingrich in the 90s House) quipped the other morning, "If Newt's the smartest guy in the room, you're in the wrong room." More sharp is the paraphrase, "[Newt's] a stupid man’s idea of what a smart person sounds like." (It's attributed to Krugman, but he simply quoted someone else in an interview. I believe the original was a Republican political operative.)

Ps-Iosifson said...

Ron Paul is a utopian who literally said on The Daily Show that if you cut regulations companies are more likely to do the right thing for society on their own.

No one takes him seriously because most everyone realizes we don't live on the frontier anymore.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Oh, dear, that is distressing.

Newly back from abroad, I haven'thad much chance to scrutinize this year's crop of wannabes, but I will definitely be on the lookout for this utopianism in Ron Paul.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

I do not believe Gingrich is stupid. But dishonesty often appears as stupidity, and people would rather believe the more charitable interpretation of someone else.

David Garner said...

Gingrich is pretty far from stupid. In fact, his intelligence makes him all the more dangerous when combined with his dishonesty.

"Stupid" is unfortunately a label that gets thrown around as shorthand for "I disagree with you." Scarborough isn't exactly a Republican insider anymore, and I attribute his commentary to his own shifting political sand.

Krugman's just a hack. A smart hack, but lets be honest about who we're dealing with.

Ps-Iosifson said...

A Republican critique of a Gingrich candidacy:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/09/opinion/brooks-the-gingrich-tragedy.html?ref=global-home

A Congressman who worked under Newt in the 90s also noted that with Newt, "Everything was always on fire". That goes with the Brooks view

- "that a moderate Republican like himself can win so long as he adopts a bombastic style when taking on the liberal elites",

- "Gingrich has a revolutionary temperament — intensity, energy, disorganization and a tendency to see everything as a cataclysmic clash requiring a radical response", and

- "[Gingrich] has every negative character trait that conservatives associate with ’60s excess: narcissism, self-righteousness, self-indulgence and intemperance. He just has those traits in Republican form."