Last week on my "Hillyer Time" radio show, my opening monologue explained why I think it's ludicrous to think Newt Gingrich could possible win a general-election battle against Barack Obama - analysis that stands regardless of whether one personally likes the idea of Gingrich in the Oval Office if he should pull off the miracle and win anyway. Some people wanted to be able to read what I said.
So, slightly adapted from radio notes for reading ease, here's what I said:
Welcome to Hillyer Time....
For now, I really need to vent. I am absolutely flabbergasted at what I see in the latest Republican polls for president. What I see looks like a mass political suicide attempt -- so determined to commit suicide that it uses too many pills, plus a slit wrist, plus a gun, on the ledge of a 1,000-foot building, just to make sure that at least one of the methods succeeds.
What I'm talking about is the rise of Newt Gingrich to the front of the Republican pack. If this isn't mass suicide, is mass amnesia of a particularly dangerous variety. And, politically speaking, if it continues it will be an absolute guarantee of Barack Obama's re-election next Fall.
Why? Well, for months I've said... ... that Mitt Romney was the only legitimate contender the Republicans could choose who could NOT make a case against Obama's biggest area of weakness, which is Obamacare, because Mitt Romney's Massachusetts health plan was almost the exact model for Obamacare. It doesn't matter how he spins it, Romney can't make a cogent case against it.
But the reason I said Romney was the only one was because I didn't consider Gingrich a legitimate contender. Well, if he is a serious contender, he becomes the second person who can't make a case against Obamacare, especially against its individual mandate. Gingrich has supported an individual mandate for almost 18 years, has written in favor of it as recently as 2008, and even several times this year has defended it in concept.
So Gingrich can't make a case against Obamacare.
He also can't make the case against the liberals on the cause of the housing and banking crises. Why? Because he was selling out to Freddie Mac to the tune of more than a million dollars, and publicly advocating the Fannie Mae the whole time. He was on the wrong side of the system, the side that brought the system down.
So Gingrich can't make the case against Obamacare or against Democratic housing policies. How about the case against all of the global warming alarmism and against corporate favoritism for ridiculous so-called green industries? Nope. Gingrich can't make that case either. He was out there pushing ethanol mandates even after Al Gore himself had backed off ethanol, after the science proved that corn-based ethanol is in many ways more harmful than helpful. But none of that mattered, because Gingrich had sold himself to the ethanol industry as well, to the tune of more than 300 thousand dollars.
So take Obamacare and Freddie Mac and overregulation to fight globaloney for insider profits, take them all off the table. What's left? How about making a real case for market-based entitlement reform?
Oops! Gingrich can't do that. He blasted those reforms as, quote, "right-wing social engineering."
How about education reform, or how about ending racial grievance-mongering? Oops, can't do that: Gingrich toured with none other than the vicious race-baiting felon Al Sharpton to push dubious education policies.
Gingrich can't make the case against Obama's growing ethics problems: As Speaker, he was found liable for ethical violations and fined several hundred thousand dollars.
How about effective leadership? Well, the one time Gingrich was in real power, his own side tried a coup against him in just the third year, in mid-year, and then Gingrich imploded so badly in the fourth year that he was pushed out after near-disastrous election results.
How about attracting independents? Oops: Polls have shown for 15 years that Gingrich's persona badly turns off independents.
How about enthusing Tea Party volunteers, so at least he can have a good grassroots effort? Oops: Tea Partiers don't like him much either: Not only did he support the hugely expensive Medicare prescription drug program without insisting on other reforms, and not only did he spit all over Paul Ryan's free-market Medicare reform plan, and not only did he end up supporting the TARP bailout, but he also nearly nipped the conservative grassroots movement in the bud by supporting ultra-liberal Republican DeDe Scozzafava in a special congressional election in New York over conservative favorite Doug Hoffman.
Gingrich also has supported partial amnesty for illegals, and at one time even supported the Fairness Doctrine that let government dictate broadcast content.
Even on foreign policy, Gingrich can't make a coherent case that Obama will have any trouble exploding. In just a few weeks earlier this year, he shifted from being for military intervention in Libya to being against it, based entirely on which way the political winds seemed to be blowing.
And none of this even touches the megalomania of a man who used to write notes to himself describing himself as "definer of civilization, Teacher of the rules of civilization," - those are direct quotes - and who also would refer to himself, in the presence of other people, as a, quote, "world historical figure."
This is a man who, if he gets the Republican nomination, has less chance of defeating Barack Obama than the Tulane Green Wave football team would have this year of defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Gingrich surge is madness, sheer madness.
And don't think for a minute that doing well in debates will make a difference. It's easy to do well in debates when you are one of eight and none of the other eight is attacking you. Watch what happens when he gets offended in a two-way debate and loses his cool, snapping some snarly remark to Obama. It won't work. And even if it does, it won't matter much because debates will make less difference next fall than they seem to be doing now. Right now, almost nobody is advertising. Next year, Barack Obama will have $800 million to pour into an effort to define Gingrich in the public mind....
Or, rather, to reconfirm the definition of Gingrich that has prevailed for most of the past 16 years, which is that of a brilliant but disagreeable and somewhat smarmy, overwhelmingly cynical political operative.
Yes, folks, start putting the cyanide in the Kool-Aid - because that's what millions of Republican voters will be drinking if they choose Newt Gingrich for their nominee.
So there. Never let it be said that we don't lay it on the line, here in Hillyer Time.
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