Thinking about Newt is exhausting—-all those policy reversals, all that profiteering from disguised lobbying, all that adultery while impeaching Clinton, all those crackpot gimmicks posing as intellect. Yet, there are many hands on both sides of the political spectrum to do the heavy lifting of deconstructing him.
Maureen Dowd takes a whack at it: “His mind is a jumble, an amateurish mess lacking impulse control. He plays air guitar with ideas, producing air ideas. He ejaculates concepts, notions and theories that are as inconsistent as his behavior.
“He didn’t get whiplash being a serial adulterer while impeaching another serial adulterer, a lobbyist for Freddie Mac while attacking Freddie Mac, a self-professed fiscal conservative with a whopping Tiffany’s credit line, and an anti-Communist Army brat who supported the Vietnam War but dodged it.”
From the other side, GOP Sen. Tom Coburn weighs in: “I am not inclined to be a supporter of Newt Gingrich’s having served under him for four years and experienced his leadership. Because I found it lacking often times...
“There’s all kind of leaders that have one standard for the people that they are leading and a different standard for themselves. I will have difficulty supporting him for president of the United States.”
Conservative columnist George Will hits harder, noting that Newt “embodies the vanity and rapacity that make modern Washington repulsive. And there is his anti-conservative confidence that he has a comprehensive explanation of, and plan to perfect, everything...
“There is almost artistic vulgarity in Gingrich’s unrepented role as a hired larynx for interests profiting from such government follies as ethanol and cheap mortgages. His Olympian sense of exemption from standards and logic allowed him, fresh from pocketing $1.6 million from Freddie Mac (for services as a ‘historian’), to say, ‘If you want to put people in jail,’ look at ‘the politicians who profited from’ Washington’s environment.”
From the center, Times columnist Frank Bruni notes that “Romney seems newly shaken, Newt-ly spooked. It must be wearing on him to stand as long as he has with his chest thrust out, waiting for his corsage while the electorate casts around for some better date to the prom. No wonder his knees, to judge by his own Fox News appearance last week, have gone a little weak.
“Romney’s wobble gives Gingrich a window. Just watch him squeeze through it, pontificating all the while about the nature of portals and the history of glass. That Republicans don’t mind a lecture is reassuring. That they’re so open to this particular lecturer isn’t.”
Even with a Gingrich endorsement by the Union Leader, former GOP Sen. John Sununu of New Hampshire writes an op-ed in the Boston Globe to downgrade him and endorse Romney
In the White House, just as Jon Stewart on The Daily Show did, they must be praying that Gingrich turns out to be The One. There will be an oversupply of political harpoons to spear this Great White-haired Whale.
Update: In another dazzling display of bad judgment, Gingrich visits New York to pay court to a former frontrunner, even as leading Republicans express dismay at the so-called Donald Trump “debate” as potentially damaging to the party.
With Newt’s talent for making the wrong friends, he doesn’t have to worry about enemies and critics.