Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Vain Leading the Stupid

(Cross-posted at The Blue Herald)

After the growing disaster that is the Bush presidency, we really need good leadership in the White House. Who will answer the call? Who will work tirelessly for a better America for average citizens and not just for corporations and the rich? Who can rise above partisan politics to be a uniter, not a divider?

Gingrich Slams Current Election Politics

By MIKE BAKER, Associated Press Writer
Thursday 5/17/07

RALEIGH, N.C. - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says the 2008 White House candidates are "demeaning the presidency" by focusing on the race rather than ideas.

"We have shrunk our political process to this pathetic dance in which people spend an entire year raising money in order to offer nonanswers, so they can memorize what their consultants and focus groups said would work," Gingrich said.

In a speech to the John Locke Foundation, a conservative think tank, the prospective Republican candidate said he will not consider running until he has created a wave of reform.

He plans to spend the next several months preparing for a series of workshops that he will coordinate. They begin Sept. 27, exactly 13 years after he and other GOP leaders released the "Contract With America" that helped their party regain control of the House. Ten Republicans and eight Democrats have declared their candidacy for president. Gingrich took particular issue with how they have presented their ideas in crowded debates.

"This idea of demeaning the presidency by reducing it to being a game show contest ... is wrong for America, and I would never participate in it," he said.

Gingrich told reporters there is room for a him in the race.

"There's a tremendous vacuum of leadership willing to stand up and talk to the country in clear ways about what we have to get done to create a generation of opportunity and what we have to do to avoid a generation for bureaucracy and problems," Gingrich said.

Hahaahahaahahaa. No, seriously.

It's amusing how Gingrich's mammoth ego and ambition surge through even in such a short piece. He would like us to believe there's some groundswell of support for him. He would like us to believe he's a man of principles and ideas. In between the reign of Lee Atwater and Rove/Cheney, Gingrich was probably the single most partisan, divisive, underhanded hack around, bringing new levels of toxicity to American politics in the modern era. In case you're wondering, Gingrich might announce a run for the presidency come November. In the meantime, he's playing coy, perhaps counting on how pathetic the announced Republican candidates look.

Leave aside Gingrich's hypocrisy in leading impeachment hearings against Clinton — against the will of the people — while he was cheating on his second wife. Leave aside the petty vindictiveness that also fueled Gingrich's move. Leave aside his deliberate attempts to use deceptive language and pre-empt honest debate. Leave aside what an awful human being he is (ever hear the tale of his first and second divorces?). Taking just his behavior of the past few months, that still leaves us his desire to keep the rabble out of the public discourse, his bigoted pandering to xenophobia, his willingness to lie about leading Democrats (with a massive dose of hypocrisy, no less), his warning that free speech should be curtailed for national security, and his contemptible keenness to blame the Virginia Tech shootings on liberalism. He can't go a month if even a week without saying something inaccurate, partisan and stupid. Just this past weekend, Gingrich warned Liberty University graduates about "radical secularism," told them how persecuted Christians were in America, and chided that “This anti-religious bias must end." (See takes on this by Melissa McEwan and Norbizness. I also covered some of the underlying issues here.)

Every time I hear Gingrich, or read his assertions, or see him on TV, I have the same reaction: who the hell cares? Why the hell are they wasting time with this vile man? He occasionally spouts sense, but never says anything someone else couldn't say. I agree with Robert J. Elisberg when he relates:

I have a friend who keeps trying to convince me how smart Newt Gingrich is. He doesn't agree with Gingrich's politics - it's just that he keeps saying, "But you have to admit, he's a brilliant guy, the smartest politician out there."

My answer is always the same. No, I don't.

Gingrich is on because he's an eager pundit, and TV needs talking heads. He's known. Were TV bookings decided solely by merit, he'd rarely be on. However, the same is true of many conservative pundits, and media outlets need to book somebody, I suppose. (Of course, having more sane, insightful voices on TV would be a good thing but would put much of the old guard out of business.)

There is not a situation in America or the world that Gingrich would not make worse. He's smarter than Bush, of course, but that's setting the bar awfully low, and he shares quite a bit in common with Cheney and Rove. For the past few years he's roamed about trying to sell a veneer of respectability, but not everyone is stupid enough to buy it. Gingrich is a force driven by towering personal ambition and destructive partisanship, not some thoughtful scholar or public intellectual. Putting Gingrich into any position of political power would be akin to putting an unreformed arsonist in charge of the Fire Safety Board.

There's one good thing I can say about Gingrich, and that's based on his analysis of the 2006 November midterm elections on 11/28/07:

I’ve been talking all week about the “four Cs” – competence, candor, corruption and consultants. They are the four reasons Republicans lost so overwhelmingly in the midterm elections. Today we will focus on corruption.

Hmm, forget anything? Gingrich isn't the only Republican who's wary of discussing Iraq if not outright blind to its importance to the American people. But if all of Gingrich's "ideas" are this brilliantly obtuse, it can only help the Democrats in 2008, and I must echo the wish of Digby and many other liberal bloggers in saying: Run, Newt, run.


Adorable Girlfriend said...

Thanks for stopping by RoD. Like I said over there, I'm enjoying the show. If he thinks he can do any better than Mitt the Twitt, then let 'em run! Then we can make some popcorn and sit back. It's going to be amusing.

pissed off patricia said...

If they get Newt or Fred Thompson, it just shows what a shallow well they have to dip from. If you set aside all of Newt's problems, you have nothing left but a big loud mouth. I don't think America wants that right now.

thepoetryman said...

Gingrich is a smart fella, just not the kind of smart that is productive or healthy for the constitution or government or the country or the world. Egomaniacal only scratches the surface with this toad.

Set aside Fred Thompson and you have...well Fred Thompson, a man with as much charisma and honesty as...well Newt.

LET'S TALK said...

Newt would fit in well with the crowd they have on the line right now.

They are so into actors that Fred Thompson will be their choice when he comes blazing to their rescue.

So for me, the Republicans have already picked their man, they are waiting now for him to find a blunder for the camera man to just say action and Fred Thompson will come riding into the scene.

tas said...

It's amusing how Gingrich's mammoth ego and ambition surge through even in such a short piece. He would like us to believe there's some groundswell of support for him.

I thought the same thing and wrote off Newt until I went to the Conservative Political Action Conference this past year [as a roving reporter for Raw Story] and saw the way the conservative base reacted to the presence of the Newt. He drove those people wild. He got the biggest and most continued ovations of any author or politician I saw speak there during that whole weekend, and even made it to second in CPAC's presidential straw poll despite the fact that he's supposedly not running. Since then, I've come to believe that if Newt jumped into the GOP primary he would win the nomination.

I mean, let's face it.. The only two official Republican candidates who have a shot right now are Romney and Rudy. Romney is just an empty suit, and worse, he's Mormon; and Rudy isn't going to win over the moral values crowd. These candidates are so weak that Republicans are looking towards Fred Thompson to be their savior, and his biggest claim to fame is that he was on Law & Order. And have you seen the way Rudy and Romney have performed in the debates? Newt could clean their clocks without a sweat in such a forum.

At this point, the only thing I'm surprised about is that Newt hasn't jumped in yet.