Monday, May 16, 2011

Newt the Loser

I haven't been enthusiastic about Newt Gingrich since about 1995. He had his chance at leadership and didn't shine as Speaker as he got batted around by Bill Clinton. Then we found out about his cheating on the wife he married after cheating around on his first wife all while leading the GOP during the impeachment of Bill Clinton. The guy had no self control either in his personal life or in his political utterances. And now he has the temerity to blame his messy personal life on how hard he was working for the country.
"There's no question at times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate."
Oh, yuck! That quote alone should disqualify him from gaining the GOP nomination.

In my classroom I have a mural of covers of Newsweek since about 1996, and there is still the 1998 cover of Newt after the 1998 election with the title "The Loser."
Not to use Newsweek as my political guide for Republican politicians, but I think they'll be able to haul that cover out of the vault for Newt's presidential hopes for 2012. If Newsweek is still publishing, that is.

For Newt to spend his first Sunday show appearance after declaring that he's running for president by going on Meet the Press to bash Paul Ryan's health care plan and to endorse the individual mandate is to cross him off the list for any conservative. He described Ryan's plan as "right-wing social engineering." Lovely. Now every Democratic opponent of a Republican congressman has a ready-made line to quote Newt during the campaign.

Deroy Murdock rehearses many of the reasons why Newt was a failure in his leadership of the House after he passed the Contract with America.
Among other things, he rescued the notorious sugar program and let Republicans launch their disastrous expansion of earmarks. Just last January, Gingrich defended ethanol subsidies and complained that a pattern of "big city attacks" on ethanol "hurts the farmer. It hurts rural America, and it's fundamentally unfair to America's future." Rather than advocate ending ethanol mandates, Gingrich wants a new one: a federal requirement enabling all cars to consume ethanol or methane.

Gingrich's man-crush on Bill Clinton made him falter in legislative negotiations with the former president.

"I melt when I'm around him," Gingrich purred in January 1996. "After I get out, I need two hours to detoxify. My people are nervous about me going in there because of the way I deal with this."

Gingrich also ensnared himself in needless controversies such as an ill-conceived, multi-million-dollar book deal and a hissy-fit regarding the utter humiliation of deplaning Air Force One via a rear door. As The Wall Street Journal editorialized, "It's time for him to finish growing up."
If remembering those golden oldies from Newt's past, how about some of his recent actions? Quin Hilyer reminds us of these cringe-inducing moves.
Gingrich's other lamest hits include his commercial with Nancy Pelosi lamenting global warming; his pathetic pandering to Iowans by endorsing even greater ethanol subsidies or use than already exist; his brazen flip-flops this spring about whether the U.S. should take arms against Moammar Ghadafi; his 1983 call for "very activist government': sucking up to Al Sharpton;
And now he's tried to court elite opinion by bashing Paul Ryan at the kneecaps while endorsing the idea of an individual mandate. I agree with Hilyer, there is absolutely no reason for "a single conservative should ever take him seriously again."

Oh, and if his bashing of Paul Ryan's plan on Meet the Press wasn't enough to irritate any conservative, how about this gem? Jay Newton-Small at Time Magazine repeats this endorsement of Ryan's plan from a couple of weeks ago on a New Hampshire radio show.
So, I asked if he would advocate replacing it with Paul Ryan’s plan.

The former speaker sang Ryan’s praises for being a “brave” “man of ideas,” like Gingrich himself.

“But would you have voted for Ryan’s plan?” I pressed.

“Sure,” Gingrich replied.

“Do you think it would actually save the health care system?”

“No, I think it’s the first step,” Gingrich said. “You need an entirely new set of solutions.”
Ah, foolish consistency - I guess for Newt, he's just following Emerson in seeing it as "the hobgoblin of little minds."

Newt, please go back to your loveseat with Nancy Pelosi.