Gingrich Hustling Gingrich

John H. Richardson’s profile of Newt Gingrich: The Indispensable Republican is up on the Esquire website, and it’s one of the most terrifying things I’ve read in years. Richardson thinks Gingrich intends to run for President in 2012 (“Will Newt Gingrich really run for the presidency? A lot of people think he’s not really serious, that he just likes the power and attention and the opportunity to get free publicity for his books… the answer seems glaringly obvious: Newt Gingrich wants to be president so bad, he can taste it.”).

As to whether this would be a good idea, for Gingrich or for the rest of us in this Rethuglican-battered nation, well… As a reporter, I’ve always believed that everyone has some kind of inner coherence. No matter how inexplicable their behavior may be, there is always logic somewhere. This proved true with a multitude of subjects, from murderers to movie stars. Until Newt Gingrich.”

Please read the whole article. I’ve been extremely scornful of the idea of Gingrich actually running for President, as opposed to fan-dancing (or stripper-poling) a perennial round of first-class speaking junkets and high-visibility media appearances calculated to preserve the Gingrich(tm) brand’s valuable shelf-space in the Wingnut Welfare Walmart. But Richardson’s reporting suggests that the person most bedazzled and mislead by the non-stop hustling might just be Newton Leroy Gingrich, and that’s a dangerous thing indeed, because there is much further confirmation here that Gingrich is a bullet point on the Powerpoint timeline of Weirdly Charismatic Rightwing Sociopaths, probably the most significant version between Richard Nixon and Sarah Palin. Richardson includes stories of Gingrich’s unsettling behavior just before he resigned the Speakership that read like an opera bouffe version of Nixon during Watergate, and aggregates details of his personal and professional life that make Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes look like a rough draft:

It’s been twelve years since his extraordinary political career — the one in which he went from being a bomb-throwing backbencher in the seemingly permanent Republican minority to overthrowing the established order of both parties — collapsed around him. And yet, stunningly, in all that time Newt Gingrich hasn’t been replaced as the philosopher king of the conservative movement. And as the summer rolled on, a revivified Gingrich sat atop the early polls of Republican presidential contenders, leading the field in California, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Texas and polling strongly in Illinois and Pennsylvania. This year he has raised as much money as Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee combined. He is in constant motion, traveling all over the country attending rallies and meetings. He writes best sellers, makes movies, appears regularly on Fox News…
__
He thinks of himself as president, you tell her. He wants to run for president.
__
[Ex-wife Marianne Gingrich] gives a jaundiced look. “There’s no way,” she says. She thinks he made a choice long ago between doing the right thing and getting rich, and when you make those choices, you foreclose other ones. “He could have been president. But when you try and change your history too much, and try and recolor it because you don’t like the way it was or you want it to be different to prove something new … you lose touch with who you really are. You lose your way.”
__
She stops, ashes her cigarette, exhales, searching for the right way to express what she’s about to say.
__
“He believes that what he says in public and how he lives don’t have to be connected,” she says. “If you believe that, then yeah, you can run for president.”
__
Sitting on a bench, she squints against the light. “He always told me that he’s always going to pull the rabbit out of the hat,” she says.

He’s the first person you’ve ever met who speaks in bullet points. In fact, he sometimes more resembles a collection of studied gestures than a mere mortal, so much so that he gives the impression that everything about him is calculated, including the impression that everything about him is calculated. Which can make him seem like a Big Thinker but also like a complete phony — an unsettling combination.
__
The failure of the Republican leadership under George W. Bush created an opening for him, he says. Obama’s “radicalism” made that opening wider. Now a lot of Republicans are starting to ask, What Would Newt Do?
__
Or, he puts it another way: “The underlying thematics are beginning to be universalizable in a way that has taken years of work.”
__
At minimum, he expects to be a “sort of a teacher/coach/mentor.” At maximum, a leader who may yet assume the role he has prepared a lifetime for —
__
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, he says. The next couple of years will answer that question.

It is a startling trait that you witness over and over again as he meets with different groups of conservative activists: When Gingrich — the godfather of the leveling attack and the politics of apocalypse — is surrounded by doomsayers and radicals, he takes the long view and becomes the very soul of probity. But a reasonable and sober Newt Gingrich would never have gotten anywhere. Hence his ability to be scandalously extreme with great ease. This incoherence is at the heart of today’s conservative movement, and no one embodies it more than Gingrich. He is both sides of the divided Republican soul in a single man.
__
“I’ve known Newt now for thirty years almost,” says former congressman Mickey Edwards. “But I wouldn’t be able to describe what his real principles are. I never felt that he had any sort of a real compass about what he believed except for the pursuit of power.”

“Will he run?” Marianne asks. “Possibly. Because he doesn’t connect things like normal people. There’s a vacancy — kind of scary, isn’t it?”
__
One thing is certain — Newt Gingrich loves the question. “That’s up to God and the American people,” he tells you, in the serene tone of a man who already knows what God thinks.

One thing I haven’t been able to figure out: Richardson mentions Gingrich’s adolescent “obsession with a character in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation who “plotted the social and economic trends” of his world and figured out how to manipulate mass psychology by inventing a fake religion.” But is he talking about Hari Seldon… or The Mule?

(h/t Jim Newell at Gawker)






68 replies
  1. 1
    John Cole says:

    I read that over lunch. If that profile does not bury him, I’ll be stunned.

    Although the idiots in the Beltway will probably be in awe at how he has reinvented himself and has so many ideas.

  2. 2
    wmsheppa says:

    @Anne Laurie my money’s on the Mule.

  3. 3
    DougJ says:

    That profile looks fascinating. Thanks!

  4. 4
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    as the summer rolled on, a revivified Gingrich sat atop the early polls of Republican presidential contenders

    Does that mean he got 10% while his competitors got single digits and “none of the above” got 65%?

  5. 5
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Weirdly Charismatic Rightwing Sociopaths

    Can I just say I’ve never understood this appeal? Someone like Sarah Palin, whom I loathe, I can clearly understand why some people would fall for her. But Gingrich I don’t even see the hypothetical charisma. What makes his unhinged, petty, ignorant fascism stand out from the rest of the GOP?

  6. 6
    aimai says:

    That was a weird article. Weirdly written, I mean. It just seemed to refuse to take the next logical leap: there is absolutely something holding this “character” together, that makes sense of everything. He’s an incredibly selfish asshole, with a wounded inner child, who is making up for a hideous childhood by attempting to control and dominate everyone and everything around him. He likes money, too.

    Is there anything else? Its not really inexplicable. And the article reads like its inexplicable. He lies about his childhood. He uses and discards women. He is corrupt and in search of money and power. He doesn’t care about consistency, principle, or honor. And he’s surrounded by a crowd of paid friends and real friends who will help him continue to raise money and destroy the country regardless of how little honesty, or honor, or sense. Marianne Gingerich herself continues to be a right wing nut and support groups like the tea baggers even though she was right there, at the center of power, while Gingerich was screwing the country and her marriage.

    aimai

  7. 7
    Chad S says:

    Newt has too many scandals to be taken seriously. God knows how many affairs and financial issues. Maybe if he moved to the center and tried to go after Obama from the left on foreign policy(like ending afghanistan without conditions) he could have a chance, but he would get creamed in the primaries. He’s also got Fred Thompson syndrome: lazy.

    JC is right though, this profile destroys him.

  8. 8
    Comrade Mary says:

    So does this mean I actually have to try to read the Foundation series again?

  9. 9
    gwangung says:

    @John Cole: I’d be stunned if this profile DOES bury him.

    This is a country where a sizable portion of the population thinks Palin is a credible politician.

  10. 10
    Beauzeaux says:

    I could just be hallucinating this, but I’m fairly certain that some time 15 to 20 years back I read an article detailing how the more the American public saw and heard Newt Gingrich, the less they liked him. It was the Palin effect before anyone ever heard of Sarah Palin.

  11. 11
    beltane says:

    My ex-father-in-law was a very conservative Republican, almost a wingnut really. He also thought Gingrich was “too extreme” and “out there”. Other than the beltway media, Gingrich does not have much of a constituency. The teabaggers will always love Sarah best, the religious fundies will always love Huckabee best, and the big money crowd will always love Mitt Romney best. John McCain is getting old, Newt’s best bet is to wait around until he too can have an “exclusive” weekly appearance on MTP.

  12. 12
    matoko_chan says:

    “God and the American people” sums it up.
    America’s god is dying.

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer thus got it right when he characterized American Protestantism as “Protestantism without Reformation.”
    That is why it has been possible for Americans to synthesize three seemingly antithetical traditions: evangelical Protestantism, republican political ideology and commonsense moral reasoning. For Americans, faith in God is indistinguishable from loyalty to their country.
    American Protestants do not have to believe in God because they believe in belief. That is why we have never been able to produce an interesting atheist in America. The god most Americans say they believe in is just not interesting enough to deny. Thus the only kind of atheism that counts in America is to call into question the proposition that everyone has a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    even with Jeffersonian separation of church and state, religiousity flowed right through to shape american policy to fulfill WEC agendas.

  13. 13
    R-Jud says:

    I read this profile earlier. Before I had finished it, I could already imagine my wingnut relatives gushing about this power-hungry twunt over Thanksgiving turkey.

    @John Cole:

    Although the idiots in the Beltway will probably be in awe at how he has reinvented himself and has so many ideas.

    Yeah, he’s like their Madonna or something.

  14. 14
    JGabriel says:

    At minimum, [Gingrich] expects to be a “sort of a teacher/coach/mentor.”

    If he can’t be President, Gingrich wants to be Dick Cheney to Sarah Palin.

    Palin/Gingrich 2012!

    .

  15. 15
    wengler says:

    It’s going to be Tim Pawlenty. He is an empty suit’s version of an empty suit. And gosh darn it white people are gonna like him. A lot.

  16. 16
    Sentient Puddle says:

    As a reporter, I’ve always believed that everyone has some kind of inner coherence.

    Now this strikes me as a dangerous assumption. Or inasmuch as it’s true, it’s something that ain’t grounded in rationality, reality, or sanity, which means that coherence doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. Thus, it’s probably going to be another fluff pie-

    Until Newt Gingrich.

    Hot damn, now I have to check this shit out!

    But seriously, I think I heard about this piece earlier this morning. Something about how one of his former wives said she could bury his political career with one interview, and how this piece was apparently it. I really do need to check it out.

  17. 17
    kth says:

    Gingrich’s brand, insofar as he has one, is that he’s some kind of wonk. He isn’t, and his policy fluency is vastly overrated. But more importantly, that’s never been a winning Republican formula. If it were, Jack Kemp (who, unlike Gingrich, was generally sunny and likable) would have been the GOP’s nominee at some point.

  18. 18
    R-Jud says:

    @JGabriel:

    If he can’t be President, Gingrich wants to be Dick Cheney to Sarah Palin. Palin/Gingrich ’12!

    CHILLS. I have literal chills.

  19. 19
    birthmarker says:

    Palin/Gingrich..I may have to become that ex pat I’ve been threatening to become… Enjoyed this, BTW, Anne Laurie.

  20. 20
    mr. whipple says:

    “He’d just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he’d given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.
    __
    The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, “How do you give that speech and do what you’re doing?”
    __
    “It doesn’t matter what I do,” he answered. “People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.”

    I think Newt is onto something.

    I’m convinced that conservatives and/or rr voters don’t really care or expect that their leaders will be moral and decent. That’s why they don’t care about hypocrisy. To them, the most important thing is people spew this stuff in public. They like the talk, and don’t care about the walk.

  21. 21
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @wengler: It’s going to be Tim Pawlenty. He is an empty suit’s version of an empty suit.

    And with that bridge collapse he does have a proven track record of preferring anti-tax ideology to actual human life, which has to be a big plus with the base (both the rank-and-file one and Bush’s top 0.1% “base”.)

  22. 22
    srv says:

    You know who else was a huge fanboy of Hari Seldon?

    PAUL KRUGMAN

    That’s why he became an economist, it was the closest thing to psychohistory.

    Probably Tom Friedman too. If we didn’t have Tom and Newt, where would all the ideas come from?

  23. 23
    StevenDS says:

    Let’s not forget that when he held power Gingrich was tremendously unpopular with the average voter – recall the ’96 Clinton campaign airing commercials of Dole and Newt appearing together. A couple years later he resigned (somewhat) in disgrace.

    Since he resigned he has done nothing to reinvent himself or broaden his appeal. However, he does have a unique talent to stay in the media and to get people to take what he says seriously, without ever saying or doing anything of value.

    So, if he does run for the Republican nomination, he would get more votes than a Santorum or Sharpton, but even in the crazy republican party, he tops out at 20% of the primary vote.

  24. 24
    El Cid says:

    Gingrich might like to think he’s The Mule, but I think An Ass would be more appropriate.

  25. 25
    R-Jud says:

    @birthmarker:

    Palin/Gingrich..I may have to become that ex pat I’ve been threatening to become

    If that happens, I will not be making an ex-ex-pat of myself, so you can come stay on our floor.

  26. 26

    The Mule didn’t found a religion, so it has to be Hari Seldon.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    chopper says:

    if gingrich can get past his personal life, palin can get past her utter retardedness. hell, any gooper could get past anything.

    he’ll never be a viable candidate. this shit will come back to haunt him. his love life has always been his achilles heel. fine for being on the hill, where everyone has at least one mistress and a pile of skeletons but the WH is a place for people who can hide shit behind closed doors.

  29. 29
    folkbum says:

    “The underlying thematics are beginning to be universalizable in a way that has taken years of work.”

    I’d like to see anyone try to refudiate this.

  30. 30
    JGabriel says:

    Chris Gerrib:

    The Mule didn’t found a religion, so it has to be Hari Seldon.

    Asimov predicted a sociopathic mentalist, and instead we get a sociopathic wanna-be psychohistorian. Ironic, that.

    .

  31. 31
    malraux says:

    I don’t see why people think any republican’s past adultery would matter. John McCain was the last presidential nominee. Vitter is probably going to be re–elected. Weird stuff (by which I mean gay stuff) is really the only thing that matters.

  32. 32
    dmsilev says:

    @malraux: Maybe true, but McCain didn’t campaign on a “family values” platform. His was more a “vote for me, I was a POW” campaign.

    dms

  33. 33
    Citizen Alan says:

    @beltane:

    John McCain is getting old

    In the sense that Ronald Reagan is “getting dead,” I suppose.

    The thing that always leaves me gob-smacked about Newt’s supposed Presidential viability is that he is always associated with his nemesis, Bill Clinton, and yet he clearly demonstrates every negative trait that Republicans supposedly hated about Bill Clinton, plus he’s mean, greedy and stupid. Or do Republicans consider being mean, greedy and stupid positive characteristics sufficient to outweigh serial adultery and evading Vietnam through questionable means?

  34. 34
    Dave Fud says:

    Anne Laurie, the character they are referring to is Salvor Hardin.

    The second Seldon Crisis arises when Anacreon, under Prince Regent Wienis, the power behind the throne of the soon to be King Lepold I, builds up Anacreon’s battle fleet. By using the masses’ belief in the Foundation’s “religion” against him, Wienis is defeated and commits suicide, and Lepold signs a treaty that is very favorable to the Foundation. Hardin also begins to show the advancement in Foundation technology when he wears a personal force-field to deflect blaster fire; such fields had not yet been seen in the history of the Galactic Empire.

    The Mule and Hari Seldon are a bit too titanic even for Newt.

  35. 35
    Hebisner says:

    I believe the Foundation reference to constructing a religion is to the first mayor of Terminus, Salvor Hardin. If memory serves, Hardin monopolized knowledge of science and technology by making it a theology controlled by a priesthood loyal to the Foundation. When would be conquorers decied to attack the Foundation, they realized that the priesthood controlled their ships and technology, and Hardin controlled the priesthood.

    Wow, I haven’t thought about that book since I was a teenager.

  36. 36

    @John Cole:

    If that profile does not bury him, I’ll be stunned.

    Why? He’s a hypocritical moralizer with insanely simplistic foreign policy views who knows how to say whatever he thinks will work best for him at the time. When did these qualities become negatives for a Republican?

  37. 37
    Sly says:

    “The underlying thematics are beginning to be universalizable in a way that has taken years of work.”

    Alas, I fear the overarching discourse will be consumed in neo-material dialectics. This is paradigmatic of all post-narrative, non-didactic totalities.

  38. 38
    Citizen Alan says:

    @mr. whipple:

    They like the talk, and don’t care about the walk.

    This. Most Republicans will never turn against one of their own because of some form of hypocrisy because most Republicans are complete hypocrites in one way or another. Condemn Clinton for his affairs while having multiple affairs. Malign the Vietnam era service of vets like Kerry and Gore despite having a succession of questionable deferments. Attack the legitimacy welfare for the poor while collecting millions in federal aid through farm and/or corporate welfare. It is not possible to be a Republican unless you are a hypocrite about some issue of national importance.

  39. 39
    Toast says:

    Ol’ Newt sounds like a perfect case study in Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

  40. 40
    birthmarker says:

    @R-Jud: Thanks! Can you tell me what continent I will be on, so I can know how to pack?

  41. 41
    Citizen Alan says:

    @srv:

    That’s why he became an economist, it was the closest thing to psychohistory.

    That actually makes me sad. I detest most economists because of their infantile collective belief that the future conduct of entire populations can be reduced to simple economic equations (essentially psychohistory by another name). Asimov himself rejected that idea in the third book which made it pretty clear that psychohistory was actually quite flawed and that the only reason the Seldon plan worked at all was because some of his followers had perfected telepathic mind control techniques and were secretly manipulating the leaders of the declining empire to ensure that they followed the script Seldon wrote. Oh, and then the later books revealed that the whole scheme was really the idea of Asimov’s robotic Mary Sue.

  42. 42
    BombIranForChrist says:

    He’s not going to run.

    He and Palin are playing the same game. Tweak the nipples of the media to keep those speaker’s fees and book deals rolling in.

    Neither one of them is dumb. They are both very canny. Thinking they are dumb or psycho is playing to their strength: creating a product that is salable to the customers they attract.

  43. 43
    Toast says:

    @BombIranForChrist: Dude, Sarah Palin may have a clever knack for milking her stardom and her two-dimensional appeal, but she has the IQ of paste.

  44. 44
    bkny says:

    people just need to be reminded of this:

    http://www.toobeautiful.org/newt_baby.jpg

  45. 45
    hilzoy says:

    Naive little me expected Newt Gingrich to be, if not buried, then completely discredited back in — was it 1994? — when he blamed Susan Smith’s killing her two kids on liberalism. I mean: that was so completely obscene; it wasn’t in the same universe as the kind of political nastiness that was standard then. It was the sort of thing that makes you think: only a sociopath could say something like that, and only a sociopath, with no human emotion at all, could think that it would actually work politically, since all non-sociopathic human beings, regardless of their political views, would have to be repulsed by something like that.

    Ah, for the days when I actually thought things like that.

  46. 46
    The Other Chuck says:

    I just have to say it:

    Leeeeeeeeroy Giiiiiingrich!

  47. 47
    The Other Chuck says:

    @hilzoy:

    You were right. You just didn’t realize how many sociopaths there are in this country.

    I still think people are going to remember why they booted him and his entire cadre out the first time. Plus he has a name like a Charles Dickens villain (when I’m not making World of Warcraft jokes upon discovering his middle name that is)

  48. 48
    Mike in NC says:

    Naive little me expected Newt Gingrich to be, if not buried, then completely discredited back in—was it 1994?—when he blamed Susan Smith’s killing her two kids on liberalism.

    Newt’s a slimy maggot who’ll make a big splash with the media over the next couple of years with his alleged presidential aspirations, only to finally step back to laugh and count all the money he’s pulled in.

    He knows he’s too old and too hated to have a snowball’s chance in Hell of being elected, but his ego won’t hold him back and the Village loves him.

    Then he’ll go around to Chamber of Commerce and Club for Growth meetings, as an intro speaker for George W. Bush. You can never be too picky when it comes to collecting wingnut welfare.

  49. 49
    Comrade Baron Elmo says:

    I’m betting on Newty-Newt-Newt to not only run, but scoop up the GOP nomination, basically as 2012’s McCain: The Last Man Standing. Too many goopers despise Romney, enough that I anticipate an Anyone But Mitt faction to emerge (also, he’s easily as obnoxious as Gingrich but much more phony about it); Huckabee hasn’t been putting in enough effort to indicate that he plans to run (he may just be biding his time until 2016); Palin will crash and burn on the primary trail, getting shellacked in every debate (besides, the big money Repubs don’t trust her enough to fuel her campaign); Pawlenty is a mayo sandwich on Wonder Bread, much too dull for these hysteria-fueled times; and Rick Perry – well, it’ll take at least another decade, if that, for America to accept a pallid copy of Bush the Lesser.

    Granted, Newt has a scandalous past, but Republicans have a remarkable ability to forgive moral shortcomings from their own… as long as the dreaded gay isn’t involved, anyhow. (See Vitter, David.) I think their position is that Jesus has forgiven the Newts, Vitters and Giulianis of the nation… while the Clintons, Spitzers and Edwardses, being Democrats, were already impaled on Lucifer’s fork in the name of aborted fetuses everywhere.

    And don’t forget, Old Man McCain’s treatment of his first wife was damn near as shabby as anything Newt laid on his earlier spouses – and how much coverage did that get in the 2008 election media blitz?

    Romney might still spend enough of his money and bullshit enough Americans to win the nomination, but my chips are still on Newt in the final stretch.

  50. 50
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    So does this mean I actually have to try to read the Foundation series again?

    I read the original trilogy back when Watergate and Helter-Skelter were front-page news. So I remember Seldon as an altruistic (read “fatally internally contradictory”) version of Ayn Rand, and The Mule as Charles Manson’s wildest fantasy. (Yeah, I know Manson was more of a Heinlein fan. Never thought that spoke well of Heinlein’s later work, either.)

    Stylistically, I agree with the critic (Pohl?) who said “If only Asimov had been a worse typist, he’d have been a better writer.”

  51. 51
    Anne Laurie says:

    @R-Jud:

    Yeah, he’s like their Madonna or something.

    Interesting analogy. Does that make Palin Brittany Spears, or Lady GaGa?

  52. 52
    JGabriel says:

    @bkny: Shhh! Not until he’s on the ticket!

    .

  53. 53
    JCT says:

    I read this over lunch and needed a serious anti-emetic afterwards.

    What a wretched shithead.

    I think McCain got a pass for his treatment of women because it was so long ago and he got to play the knocked-around ex-POW and much as it pains me, I suspect some women voted for him because of the vile snowbilly.

    But in all honesty, I have a hard time believing that any woman who read that article or heard the details of his behavior towards his wives would ever vote for this guy. Way off the tolerable scale. I’d love to see his polling among women.

  54. 54
    Cat Lady says:

    Fat is Newt’s Achilles heel – the article points that out. Americans won’t vote for a fat politician. One of the things that made me crazy during the primaries was the right wing’s knee jerk characterization of Hillary’s weight, and considering the reverence for Rush, it was absurd. Which explains why Rush is made for radio, only.

  55. 55
    Mike in NC says:

    @Comrade Baron Elmo:

    Newt has a scandalous past, but Republicans have a remarkable ability to forgive moral shortcomings from their own… as long as the dreaded gay isn’t involved, anyhow.

    Amen, brother. Of late Newt’s been baring his soul (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) about his past infidelities and begging Christian forgiveness. The Bible thumpers will eat that up.

  56. 56
    The Other Chuck says:

    Americans won’t vote for a fat politician.

    Bill Clinton wasn’t exactly trim when he was elected. But he had actual charisma, whereas Newt is down there in Cheney territory.

  57. 57
    JohnR says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    What makes his unhinged, petty, ignorant fascism stand out from the rest of the GOP

    I think it’s pretty self-evident: he’s Smart, S,M,R, I mean S,M,A,R,T. He’s a home-grown Intellekshull counter to the sneering librul elites that proves that the TeaBagPartiers/Birthers/Birchers have A Serious Intellectual Basis. Those guys like Jonah and Ann are really smart and all, but they’re kind of “parent’s-basement”, if you know what I mean (and I think you do). Uncle Newt (I think he’d like the “Uncle Joe” comparison) is a College Egghead who thinks the Right Things. He’s like Creationism, embodied in a person – a definitive counterargument to the idea that right-wing thought is crackpot craziness. Of course they love him. Although whether they love him more than they love The Divine Sarah? I wouldn’t put down a bet on that.

  58. 58
    TuiMel says:

    @John Cole:

    has so many ideas

    I hear tell it’s at least five before breakfast!

  59. 59
    TuiMel says:

    @aimai:
    Pretty fair book report.

  60. 60
    SciVo says:

    Newt will be an also-ran because he’s unpleasant to look at and doesn’t display enough alpha male traits. As far as I can tell, those are the two main things that most Republican presidential primary voters actually care about; everything else is just tiebreakers.

  61. 61
    Marmot says:

    @aimai:

    It just seemed to refuse to take the next logical leap: there is absolutely something holding this “character” together, that makes sense of everything. He’s an incredibly selfish asshole, with a wounded inner child, who is making up for a hideous childhood by attempting to control and dominate everyone and everything around him. He likes money, too.

    Maybe you’ve had this experience, maybe not. I’d heard about sociopaths and personality disorders and such, but when actually faced with a person whose long-term behavior and thoughts could not be explained by anything other than crass self-interest, I still found myself thinking: “No, there must be some reasonable explanation. Certainly it can’t be so obvious and simple as that! What about all those rationalizations this person offers?”

    It’s hard to think the worst of people who seem otherwise intelligent and thoughtful, and Newt comes off that way at first. But hell, it’s been a couple dozen years now; it’s time for everyone to recognize how common some personality disorders are in politics.

  62. 62
    P KDZ says:

    Al Giordiano sees a Gingrich nomination as more than possible:

    “And what happens if both Palin and Huckabee take a bye year in 2012? The odds for Newt Gingrich – also as smart as he is crazy, but he can’t wait until 2016: He’s 66 now, will be 72 then, thus 2012 represents his last shot. He also really doesn’t care as much about whether he can beat Obama in November of that year: Newt is, in that sense, more Goldwater than any of the others: the true ideologue who will damn the torpedoes and propel himself right smack into an iceberg if it means saving the ideological “purity” of his party.”

  63. 63
    catclub says:

    John Thune.
    Tall, thin, bland.

    Already being fellated in various magazine profiles.

  64. 64
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    @folkbum:

    Sounds like a job for Professor Irwin Corey.

  65. 65
    Meg says:

    @Marmot: I think everyone should read the book ” The sociopath next door.”

    According to the book, the first thing to do to protect oneself against sociopath is to believe that they do exist (and there are a lot of them in this country) and what they are like. They don’t have conscience or normal emotions like most people so you cannot use your everyday reasoning to explain their behavior. But self interest and seeking grandiosity can explain a whole lot about them.

  66. 66
    mclaren says:

    The article seems to try to compare Gingrich’s comeback with Nixon’s in 1962. But that won’t wash.

    Nixon did a superb job of covering up his sociopathy and corruption. Hardly anyone had any idea of the depth of Nixon’s duplicity and sliminess back in 1962. But Newt’s sadism and corruption are on public display. Too late to cover up now.

    No one’s going to vote for Newt. The rock has long since been yanked up and everyone has seen the maggots and slugs wriggling around underneath. I have yet to meet anyone, Republican or Democrat, who doesn’t know about how Gingrich forced his first wife to sign a divorce agreement while she in the hospital for cancer.

    Nobody wants an asshole like that as president.

    Reagan and Nixon did a superb job of covering up their sociopathy. Dubya must’ve had a whole crew of private eyes cleaning up after him — the missing documents, the witnesses bribed or threatened into silence…it’s an amazing display. But Gingrich?

    The news footage of him spewin venom is all over the place. He shrieked “To the liberals, I blame you!” after the Columbine shootings on national TV. People have footage of that insane evil clownishness. There’s no way he can bury that now.

    So Gingrich isn’t going anywhere in politics. To have a chance we would’ve had to maintain a much cover on his viciousness and sadism, the way Ronald Reagan did. No one today recalls that Reagan urged onlookers to murder anti-war demonstrators 3 months before Kent State. No one today recalls that Reagan was head of the Hollywood Blacklist and during the 50s and early 60s, Reagan held sway over the Screen Actors Guild in a reign of terror where he forced everyone to bribe him or kowtow to him or abandon roles he wanted or offer him sex when he demanded it in return for not being blacklisted. No one today remembers that Reagan met his second wife because she was on the blacklist and he required her to fuck him in order to get her off the blacklist. That kind of sadism and corruption was something Reagan carefully avoided revealing in public. Even today, hardly anyone knows about this stuff. But Newt wasn’t as careful. Now everyone knows about Newt’s pathologies and corruptions, and it’s done him in as a politican.

  67. 67
    Indie Tarheel says:

    Sometimes, a Newt is just a dick.

  68. 68
    Robert Waldmann says:

    I never ever expected to read “Charismatic … Richard Nixon.”

    Look I know it’s rude to ask a lady her age, but I infer that you are much younger than I am. I remember Richard Nixon, and I can’t think of a less charismatic carbon based life form including underachieving slime molds.

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