Leave it to Newt Gingrich to take a dump over his entire party and the whole conservative movement in his unhinged efforts to find some way, any way, to fulfill what he sees (delusionally) as his destiny of being a world-historical figure. I have no idea what the latest bizarre political calculation it is that he thinks he is making, but it's absolutely idiotic politically, it's horribly wrong philosophically, and it give solace and succor to President Obama by undercutting the argument (an absolutely valid argument at that) that the individual mandate to buy health insurance is impractical, immoral, and unconstitutional.
So what has me exercised? Gingrich today strongly endorsed the individual mandate, absurdly (and meanly) blasted Paul Ryan's Medicare plan as "right-wing social engineering," and otherwise made an absolute jackanapes of himself.
Why does any conservative even give this guy the time of day anymore? Deroy Murdock gives all sorts of good reasons to oppose Gingrich at any cost. Then there is his habit of spouting off at conservatives not just with disagreements, which is everybody's prerogative, but instead with utter vitriol. Remember how when he endorsed Scozzafava in that special election in New York over the conservative Hoffman (another huge mark against Gingrich)? He wasn't content just to endorse her; instead, he absolutely trashed conservatives for backing Hoffman.
Then, of course, there was the way he absolutely screwed up the 1998 elections, after screwing up both the budget negotiations that year and the impeachment-inquiry procedures. Then there was his mercurial, untrustworthy, push-the-GOP-in-one-direction in the morning and then take-a-nearly-diametrically-opposite-position himself in the afternoon routine while he was Speaker. While it always was in incredibly stupid idea for a bunch of Republican underlings in 1997 to try to engineer a coup to overthrow Gingrich mid-term (changing horses in mid-stream, or mid-term, is a recipe for disaster), it was nevertheless an understandable impulse, because Gingrich was such an egomaniacal, bullying, inconstant leader.
Gingrich's other lamest hits include his commercial with Nancy Pelosi lamenting global warming; his pathetic pandering to Iowans by endorsing even greater ethanol subsidies or use than already exist; his brazen flip-flops this spring about whether the U.S. should take arms against Moammar Ghadafi; his 1983 call for "very activist government': sucking up to Al Sharpton; claiming that he carried on what by some accounts was a six-year-long affair because he got too caught up in trying to save the country (just lie back and think of America!); his ethics-related rebuke by the House; and, going way back, his work on behalf of the presidential campaign of Nelson Rockefeller in 1968.
But this -- this takes the cake. The Republican Party and the conservative movement right now are invested in the Ryan plan. (And for good reason: In most particulars, it is a great plan.) To blast it the way Gingrich did today is inexcusable.
This post has nothing to do with whether or not Gingrich should be president. It has everything to do with whether a single conservative should ever take him seriously again. Answer: No.
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