Friday, January 21, 2011

Newt, not ready for 2012 or '16 or '20. . .

From American Thinker:

First let me say, I like Newt Gingrich, or at least, I've tried to like him as he's morphed into a political chameleon who talks out of both sides of his mouth. Gingrich is articulate and shrewd, but the author of To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine might want to go back and read himself, because lately he's sounding a lot like Richard Lugar.

Initially, there was Gingrich's Hispanic "outreach" in which he warmed to amnesty on the Laura Ingraham Show and seemed taken aback by her argument against it. Laura knows the difference between "legal" and "illegal" and is perhaps the first person Newt has encountered who put a sock in his blow-horn. Gingrich, who espouses Puerto Rican statehood, seems to want it both ways, fantasizing that if only we make citizens of law-breakers, they'll join the Tea Party.

But his "principles" are in question. The old GOP paradigm that political expedience trumps conviction finds a taker in Newt, and the more he speaks, the more paradoxical he becomes, equivocating as he straddles a rickety fence.

Now he's praising the man on whom he's feasted and who revived his career. Tucson solved everything-the healing words, the steady voice. Newt, on Good Morning America, parroted the choir re-exalting Obama as the second coming of Lincoln. Every president plays Comforter-in-Chief, and it's good politics, but the trouble is that Newt, in adopting a civil tone, is accepting what he rejected: hypocrisy.

It was Obama who said, "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun," "get in their faces," "punish your enemies," and whose boot fell to "the neck" of B.P. as flailing bureaucrats exacerbated the oil spill. Pivoting from the Secular-Socialist mantra to praise its inspiration, Gingrich turned the color of his chair, defining "phony" for the audience, while agreeing that Obama's high approval-rating is "deserved."

But what about ObamaCare? The soaring debt? Surely, Gingrich doesn't believe that the president was transformed by speech. No, Newt is playing to the public, softening his tone secondary to violence and a nation in-tune to "vitriol" on the air. Angry Newt is less so when anger isn't popular.

And, of course, there's "Green Newt." At the peak of hysteria on global warming, when Cap-and-Trade seemed a certainty, Gingrich embraced what was then "settled science." In fact, he made a video with Nancy Pelosi, urging the U.S. to "act fast." The author of To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine said that "Everyone agrees, we must address climate change," though failed to point out that it's Marxist at its core.

All of which points to Gingrich, the actor. True conservatism doesn't test the wind. It doesn't re-do itself. And it's not a chameleon. Gingrich's talent is his eloquent tongue, but the more it flutters, the greater the confusion, and the harder it is to believe in its noise.

For a politician to reach high office, especially an apex position like President of the United States or Speaker of the House, he or she must have at least one very highly honed political skill or talent.  Ronald Reagan had the ability to speak directly to the people in a compelling way.  Clinton had the ability to project a false empathy which made people believe that he truly understood their problems and "felt their pain".  Obama has his ability to read a speech (as long as someone else writes it for him) and Newt Gingrich has a very sensitive finger.

Newt's finger is so sensitive that he can moisten it and stick it in the air and it can detect slight changes in the direction of the prevailing political winds sooner than any other politician.

This is how Gingrich knew back in 1994 that the American people were frightened by the massive overreach represented by HillaryCare and disgusted by the corruption which had become institutionalized in a congress that had been ruled by one party (the Democrats) for four decades (embodied by the House bank and House Post Office scandals).  Newt read the earliest stirrings of public opinion and realized that the people were going to toss the Democrats out of office in an historical landslide.

Gingrich then started running in the direction which he had deduced that the American people were going to stampede while shouting "Follow Me" at the top of his lungs.

Thus was born the myth of the "Gingrich revolution".

When Newt realized his goal of becoming Speaker of the House he found himself at the heart of a hurricane in which his finger was not nearly as reliable a guide.  He also found himself in political battle with a president whose ruthlessness and casual willingness to lie through his teeth and a media which dedicated itself to his destruction through all means fair and foul.

He was not up to the challenge.

Since his fall from power Newt continued to rely upon his magic finger but he was only familiar with using it to get him through political campaigns. There the fickle wind of popular opinion you have chosen to ride only needs to blow long enough to get you through the next election.  For an out of power politician trying to earn respect and gain a following that can be ridden back into power it is necessary to build up a record of being consistently right and consistently consistent.

Newt's political butterfly act has not served him well.  Latching onto the global warming bandwagon when it seemed that was the wave of the future has left him out in the cold now that AGW has been revealed to be not just a mistake but a gigantic hoax.  Same for his periodic condemnations of Rush Limbaugh whenever the finger tells him that the media's latest hysterical pile-on seems, for the moment, to be gaining some traction.

Then the latest criticism of Sarah Palin.  For a brief time the finger said that she was going to be fatally damaged by the fallout from the Tucson tragedy (also she is his number one rival for the 2012 GOP nomination if both of them decide to run).

Newt is a man who largely lacks a core and therefore largely lacks honor and integrity.  He is a pretty good writer and a pretty good teacher.  Let him stick with those and give the finger a well deserved retirement.