Is It Newt's Turn?
From Germany's Die Zeit:
And now Gingrich is climbing in the Republican popularity scale. Of all people, the dubious Newt Gingrich, who has changed his political hat more often than Romney — who in blind zealousness wanted to overthrow Democratic President Bill Clinton on account of a false statement in the sex affair with Monica Lewinski, but who secretly committed adultery himself. Like hardly any other, Gingrich is the epitome of political doublespeak and double standards. [Emphasis added]
The writer appears to be as shocked and amazed as many of us here in the US. Who'd have thought that the party which goes on and on and on about family values would ever consider a serial adulterer to lead the nation. Stunning, absolutely stunning, especially when the candidate is casting himself as a "Washington outsider" come to save the country from the evil special interests of unions, socialists, and poor people.
In the '90s, Gingrich helped to break the decades-long majority in Congress. He was a hard-nosed fighter and the archenemy of all on the left. Along with ex-President Reagan, Gingrich is considered the trailblazer of the long-standing conservative hegemony. As speaker of the House of Representatives, he extracted painful compromises from Bill Clinton and the Democrats. The austerity policy of the time, the cuts in the welfare system and a balanced budget, are to his credit.
Party members alone make the decision about the Republican presidential candidate — primarily, the dyed-in-the-wool and staunch. They traditionally think more conservatively than the party as a whole and, in any case, more so than the [average] American voter.
This faction of the Republicans desperately seeks a dyed-in-the-wool Republican who is at the same time anti-Romney and anti-Obama. They first held hope for the staunch ideologue Michele Bachmann, then the Texan, Rick Perry, and finally Herman Cain. Now they turn to Newt Gingrich.
While that second paragraph is a little garbled (possibly because of translation difficulties), I read it as referring to the party's base, especially those who have embraced the Tea Party Rebellion. For that reason, given Newt's life after leaving the House of Representatives, particularly his job as a consultant for the feds for which he was paid over a million dollars, it's hard to imagine viewing him as Mr. Outsider and Anti-Government Crusader. And yet, right now, they apparently do. Their dislike of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama runs that deeply.
The party regulars, those who flinched when Gingrich proposed repealing child labor laws so that school children could replace school janitors in cleaning lavatories and grounds and who dropped their jaws at his statement that Palestinians are an "invented" people, must be getting awfully nervous at this stage, especially since Newt refused to back down on either point and even defended the latter at last night's debate. The Iowa caucuses are only a few weeks away, with the New Hampshire primary shortly thereafter. Newt could conceivably win both.
The Germans clearly think we're nuts. And they just might be right.
Labels: Election 2012