Newt's historical life

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Esquire's interview with the second Mrs Newt Gingrich, Marianne, is surely more revealing that Newt would have wanted. "He was impressed easily by position, status, money," she says. "He grew up poor and always wanted to be somebody, to make a difference, to prove himself, you know. He has to be historic to justify his life." Richardson chronicles Newt's political rise and fall, nothing that a recent resurrection has seen "a revivified Gingrich... 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.

Richardson is less than enamored, saying that Newt is "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.

This phoniness surfaced after some verbal sparring during an interview, where Richardson stated that Gingrich "is known for his rhetorical napalm and is not accustomed to acknowledging that he often deploys it for its own sake, facts and gross exaggeration be damned." Richardson writes that Gingrich displays "a startling trait...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.

Nowhere, perhaps, is this more evident than in his popular books full of boilerplate BS about "the Obama secular socialist machine" and other phantasms that pass for substantive intellectualism on the Right these days. Newt's craving for validation, however, seems to be leading him down the path that ensnared him into a record-setting $300,000 fine for violating Congressional ethics. Richardson notes that Gingrich's "American Solutions for Winning the Future" is a 527 PAC "which can accept unlimited contributions as long as it doesn't promote the interests of a specific candidate." There is also Gingrich's "Center for Health Transformation" and his involvement in Citizens United, which Richardson mentions is "the fourth-largest political-advocacy organization in America." All of which is background for Rich Galen (a former Gingrich advisor) to observe that Gingrich is "making more money than he ever thought possible, and doesn't have to tell everybody where it's coming from."

Perhaps he's planning an expensive upgrade to Wife 4.0?

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on August 11, 2010 1:43 PM.

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