Debate performances, rising polls recall Britain’s turn to a leader once spurned.
(Page 3 of 4)
One can almost hear the chorus of Gingrich critics shouting as one: Brilliant, OK fine. A fountain of ideas… sure, sure, sure. But….
Without missing a beat surely they would immediately go, doubtless unknowingly, for many of the Churchill negatives. Gingrich, they would say, — perhaps citing Gingrich’s early campaign misstep over Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan’s Medicare plans which, alas, even in this space was seen as a campaign crippling misstep — is unable to harness that high powered brain. He would be labeled with the “genius without judgment” assessment, as a man who is “impatient, arrogant, unfeeling” and so on. In fact the English description of Churchill as “unfeeling” was once thoroughly Americanized in application to Newt, with a play on the Dr. Seuss character — making of Newt shortly after the earthshaking 1994 GOP congressional victory of which he was the architect “The Gingrich Who Stole Christmas.”
Not to be forgotten is what Fox News commentator Juan Williams, recently sitting next to Gingrich on the set of Special Report with Bret Baier, delicately referred to as the former Speaker’s personal “baggage.” By which Williams means the Speaker’s three marriages, the extra-marital business and all the rest. The famous myth of the first Gingrich divorce is discussed here by Gingrich’s daughter Jackie Gingrich Cushman, who was present at the time. Surprise, surprise — fact, says Ms. Cushman, is different than left-wing fiction. The first Mrs. Gingrich, a private person, is very much still alive, present and accounted for and not deceased as is the tale. The story runs roughly that the dastardly Newt took divorce papers to his dying wife’s bedside when she had no idea a divorce was in the offing, shocking her as she lay dying. In fact Mrs. Gingrich, says her daughter, had herself requested the divorce long before Gingrich entered her hospital room. The story, says Cushman, is fiction from start to finish. Gingrich’s political mistake was not understanding that such a personal moment would be distorted and used by liberal opponents. Out of such a moment perhaps comes the Newtonian understanding of the need for a political rapid response team whose sole purpose is to flag political untruths on the spot. Be that as it may, this tale shows the endurance of a political Bigfoot tale, the political equivalent of the fictional monster repeatedly spotted but mysteriously never actually captured because, of course, in fact it doesn’t exist.
The interesting irony of what is shaping up as political reality in the 2012 Republican campaign is that those who may well be troubled by Gingrich’s personal life are more troubled by Romney’s flip-flopping political life and apparent dedication to management over principle.
Undiplomatically put, if front-runner Romney is a man without personal blemish and all manner of political warts, conservatives may prefer the man with the consistent political life and the long-known once thoroughly inconsistent personal life. A personal life that now in fact seems what it is, that of a securely married 68-year old grandfather. Indeed, this story from the Washington Times says this Romney/Gingrich personal versus political phenomenon is already in play in Iowa, with evangelicals tilting to Gingrich for just this reason.
But if all this is true, and Gingrich’s personal life is fading as an issue superseded by his political life, there is one distinctly Churchillian question that would revolve around a slight refashioning of Bernard Shaw’s statement about Churchill. To wit:
“The moment we got a good fright, and had to find a man who could and would do something, we were on our knees to Newt Gingrich.”
If Republican voters are in fact in the process of turning to Gingrich in the same fashion the British once turned to Churchill — what exactly is it that is giving them what Shaw termed “a good fright”?
Why the rise of Newt?
And that question is easily answered.
To make no mistake, no one is making some dopey comparison of Obama to Hitler. Please.
While it was indeed Hitler who gave the British a “good fright” — in fact a “good fright” is not an uncommon occurrence in history. All manner of events in American history from 9/11 to the economic turmoil and Iranian hostage crisis of the 1970s on back through the assassination of John F. Kennedy to the Cuban Missile Crisis to the attack on Pearl Harbor to the Great Depression to the prospect of Civil War have given Americans a “good fright” — sending them running to political figures they once doubted or rejected such as George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
The turn to Newt Gingrich is not hard to understand.
Americans have now seen the Obama Left in action. Hell-bent on imposing on our country a European-style socialism on their country, a nation that culturally and politically is built on a tradition of opportunity, liberty, freedom, hard work, and entrepreneurship — the direct opposite of socialist principles. On top of which it sees an American government seemingly paralyzed as the virulently anti-Semitic Mahmoud Ahmadinejad patiently goes about the building of an Iranian nuclear bomb that could easily launch a nuclear war in the Middle East. All of which is leaving millions of Americans with Shaw’s “good fright” — and damn mad on top of that.
In this atmosphere the Republican candidates in these televised debates are being carefully vetted.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?