How does he do it? How does Newt Gingrich pull off being a legitimate politician? We’ve covered Newt’s history before in our contender series, but up until recently it appeared that he was falling off the radar. His campaign staff had quit, his poll numbers were in single digit territory, and from all appearances; like Herman Cain, Donald Trump, and Sarah Palin, it looked as if he was just embarking on a glorified book/promotional tour. Everybody had written him off as a serious contender. That is until the whole field of Republican candidates began to implode and suddenly Newton Leroy Gingrich started to look like the next anybody-but-Mitt Romney candidate flavour of the month. Herman Cain thinks of himself as Black Walnut flavour so I guess that makes Newt vanilla flavoured. Actually, since Newt is wealthy we should probably make him a fancier French Vanilla flavour. With a breakfast at Tiffany’s. Newt is now showing up in some polls ahead of Romney.
And Newt doesn’t even appear to be seriously campaigning. He’s spent more time at book signings and cruises in the Greek Isles with his third wife, Callista; a former staff member who it appears is a Nexus Six model replicant escapee from the Tyrell Corporation (shout out to Sci-fi fans of Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic Blade Runner).
But here’s the rub; what does Newt Gingrich actually do? He actually hasn’t held a real job since the late-nineties. He left his speaker of the house position after a years long witch hunt trying to destroy Bill Clinton and the Democratic party and instead wound up resigning under a cloud of controversy and ethics violations to the tune of a $300,000 fine. He led the charge to impeach Bill Clinton for sexual infidelity while simultaneously engaging in an affair against his second wife with a campaign staffer half his age. Consequently, the Republican party suffered a devastating public relations defeat.
David Korn, an editor at Mother Jones who did a recent exposé on Gingrich’s financial activities since he was ousted from Congress in 1999 calls Gingrich a worse flip-flopper than Mitt Romney. He refers to Newt as a gyrator, a whirling dervish of political opportunity willing to say anything that garners him positive numbers.
Gingrich himself was critical of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while simultaneously taking in over $1.6 million from them as an ‘historian’ (shorthand for lobbyist). He received $37 million from the health insurance industry and the Chamber of Commerce requested $120,000 per year to have dinner with Newt. Mr. Gingrich has been basically unemployed for the last decade or on retainer as a consultant to big business.
It’s understandable that Newt is being given serious consideration. The Republican field is in a serious state of disarray. The average shelf-life for a candidate has been seven weeks. Bachmann, Trump, Perry, Cain; they’ve all peaked and flamed. According to Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, Gingrich’s fifteen minutes are up as well.
But here’s a deeper question: can we actually trust Newt Gingrich? Newt has repeatedly shown that he will break pledges if it suits his purpose. His infidelities, for example. He claims to have asked forgiveness for his past indiscretions but while God may forgive him, I’m not convinced that the rest of us should. His indiscretions are indicative of an underlying pattern of self-indulgent narcissism. Would he make decisions based on the best interests of the country or the best interests of Newt?
More recently, Newt made some disturbing comments on ‘Face the Nation’ saying he would seek to abolish courts and eliminate, and even incarcerate, activist judges. Setting aside the prospect of just who gets to decide what an ‘activist judge’ is, let’s examine the motivation behind that statement. Societies under economic duress often resort to extreme stances. In this case, during the great recession, the most conservative policies of the right are coming to the forefront.
It is irresponsible to bandy about the term fascism these days, but this stance taken by Gingrich of abolishing elements of the judiciary seems to be one of the steps necessary in deconstructing a Democracy. Author Naomi Wolf outlines ten steps to destroying the democratic character of a nation in her book The End of America.
This outrageous claim by Gingrich leads to the question posited previously on this blog; are any of these candidates serious contenders or are they all just self-serving promotion seekers? Is Newt just saying this stuff to whip up publicity or is this actually how he intends to govern? Palin, Trump, Cain, and Gingrich have all been pushing books or TV shows during the campaign season. Is the Presidential campaign merely a promotional tool to them? Both Cain and Gingrich seemed relatively surprised and unprepared for their rise in the polls. It’s possible that no one in the Republican party seriously expects to oust the incumbent President from office and therefore the Republican nomination represents a circumstance of opportunity to increase book sales.
It is amazing that conservatives have such short memories and forget all the things Newt did in the nineties. Though, to ne fair, many Republicans have vociferously declared they will not back Gingrich as the Republican nominee. Regardless of what segment of Newt’s life is examined; his personal, professional, or political, one cannot escape a thread of continuity between them; and that is a glaring absence of integrity. A narcissism and self-serving, egomaniacal personality that borders on sociopathy. These are characteristics that do not belong anywhere near the executive office of the United States.
- Is Newt Gingrich’s Surge Already Over? (alternet.org)
- Newt Gingrich Fading In The Polls? (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Romney Blasts Rival, Predicts Tea Party Betrayal (huffingtonpost.com)