An impression of Bumble the Beadle is Newt Gingrich’s latest turn in a one-man show of Dickens impressions as he tells Harvard students that he wants to turn schools into workhouses by hiring poor kids as janitors:
"You're in a school that is failing with a teacher that is failing...Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the schools.”
With his doughy countenance, Gingrich is ideally suited for the roles of Fagin, Pecksniff et al for Tea Party tastes that run to 19th century melodrama. (They loved Eric Cantor as Scrooge after Hurricane Irene, holding out for tax cuts to offset disaster relief.)
Gingrich, who now pronounces the Republican race as a contest between Mitt Romney and himself, crystalizes all of Victorian hypocrisy, with a 21st century correction for inflation—-a six-figure tab at Tiffany, a mid-campaign Greek cruise that prompted his now-returning staff to quit and, most recently, the $1.8 million he earned as a “historian” consulting for Freddie Mac, the mortgage bank whose failures he now denounces Obama for.
Those Victorian critics who charged Charles Dickens with sentimentality and implausibility would be astonished at Gingrich’s new web site that lists a long string of accusations against him and explains them away with all the deftness of the Artful Dodger.
Ever alert for a turn in political fortunes, even mainstream media are now joining in the Newtster’s self-rehabilitation as the Washington Post debunks “aspects” of the story that he “ended his first marriage by serving his wife with divorce papers while she lay in a hospital bed dying of cancer.”
By the next GOP debate, Newt Gingrich may show up dressed as Tiny Tim.