The GOP's resident pseudo-intellectual, Newt Gingrich, has once again demonstrated his utter lack of principle--this time over Libya. A few weeks ago, Newt was all for the idea of a no-fly zone over Libya to punish Qaddafi's dictatorship. When asked "what would you do about Libya?" Newt's answer was forceful:
Exercise a no-fly zone this evening. ... We don't need to have the United Nations. All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we're intervening.
As soon as Obama took action, though, Newt abruptly changed his mind:
I would not have intervened. I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Qaddafi. I think there are a lot of other allies in the region we could have worked with. I would not have used American and European forces.
Newt is spinning furiously, but the truth is clear: he is driven far more by political opportunism than by principled intellectualism.
Gingrich on Neil Cavuto, 9/17/04: "You can't flip-flop and be commander-in-chief."
Gingrich on Hannity & Colmes 9/27/04: "I think Kerry's problem is one of identity... He can't quite decide, you know -- and so I think what you're going to see more likely with him is a kind of schizophrenia. And if the moderator's at all serious with Kerry, and puts Kerry on the spot as saying, now, you said a, and you said b. Which is it? I think Kerry's got a big problem."
Gingrich on Hannity & Colmes, 5/5/04: "I think maybe the pretzel should become the symbol of the Kerry campaign, because he kind of twists himself into a pretzel trying to fit every group he shows up in front of and trying to appeal to each group on the national issues. I'm beginning to think it's not such a shock he's running for president. It's a little bit of a shock he survived as a Senator."
As always, IOKIYAR.
update 2 (3/25):
TPM has more examples of Newt's reflexively anti-Obama rhetoric, showing that he flip-flopped not just on the no-fly zone and humanitarian justifications for it, but also on the issues of air-power efficacy and the propriety of Obama's personal involvement.
I'm not sure if Newt has enough popular support to make it in today's GOP, but he certainly has the pandering down to a science.
update 3 (3/26):
It's not just Newt who's busy pandering to the Right's reflexive anti-liberalism. As shown by Salon's Alex Pareene in flowchart form (h/t: Bluegal at Crooks and Liars), there's a soundbite for every right-wing pundit.