Sunday, July 30, 2017

Newt Gingrich and my powers of intuition

Newt Gingrich is, to use a hackneyed phrase often trotted out to nod kindly in the direction of someone with serious character flaws, a complex man. He's a former history professor and was the architect of the 1994 Contract With America, which suited the national mood at the time and allowed the Republican Party to seriously contend once again with a long-dominant Democrat party at the national level. He demonstrated, at least for a brief period, that he could craft policy visions with a Democrat president without losing sight of his principles. On the strength of that, the country's welfare system was reformed and Bill Clinton submitted a balanced budget to Congress in 1999. He was instrumental in setting the stage for the largest capital-gains tax cut in history. Gingrich is a fellow at both the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution. He's made some interesting documentaries on a variety of subjects.

But I've always had a feeling about that guy. Part of it was his flaky marital track record, beginning with marrying his high-school math teacher and later divorcing her. His daughters from that marriage seem to have assimilated that disruption in their lives and now apparently regard their father warmly, but there's no getting around the selfishness of his behavior. He then cheated on his second wife with the woman who became his third. And there was his whining about not being seated near enough to President Clinton on Air Force One on a foreign junket. In his post-Congress life, policy-related inconsistencies began showing up, notably his support for the Medicare Part D prescription-drug benefit. There was his infamous 2011 statement, during a Meet the Press appearance, that he didn't "think right-wing social engineering [was] any more desirable than left-wing social engineering," referring to his opposition to Paul Ryan's plan to phase out direct Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals, a statement he had to try to walk back. One of the most infuriating instances of clouded vision on his part was endorsing Dede Scozzafava, a moderate, instead of conservative  Doug Hoffman in the special-election three-way race in New York's 23rd congressional district in 2009. Hoffman was closing on her in the polls at the time.

The hints were increasing that his wonkery was becoming just plain flakiness.

Then came his early and still-strong enthusiasm for Donald Trump. It's to the point where his frequent appearances on Sean Hannity's FNC show have become vomit-inducing gushfests.

And now a red line has been crossed.

Newt Gingrich is dead to me. He has negated every laudible accomplishment in his curriculum vitae with what he has had to say on John Catsimatidis's radio show:

“President Trump is a New Yorker. He and Scaramucci sort of speak the same language,” Gingrich told John Catsimatidis in a pre-recorded interview on AM970 in New York City that aired Sunday. “And this way he has somebody that makes him kind of comfortable that he’s getting taken care of.”
“Scaramucci is an entrepreneur. He’s aggressive. Trump wants somebody willing to mix it up with the news media, get in the middle of the fight, try to get things done,” Gingrich said.
“I think that Trump is probably very happy with him right now and I think that’s good for Trump himself because part of the reason Trump gets so aggressive is he feels like nobody is defending him and he’s gotta go out and do it all himself,” he continued.
So what did Scaramucci say that Trump so identifies with, he, the one evangelicals to this day say is “God’s man”?
“Reince is a f—— paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said in the interview.
He also went after chief strategist Stephen Bannon, saying, “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own c—,” he said.
“I’m not trying to build my own brand off the f—— strength of the president. I’m here to serve the country,” Scaramucci continued.
And reports are that Trump was quite pleased with the outburst. Gingrich’s comments seem to confirm that.
“Scaramucci is a natural fighter. He likes being in the media, he likes being seen, and I think he’s having a good time, and I think all of that comes together in a way that is very positive,” Gingrich said.
There was nothing positive about how he behaved, what he said, or Trump pitting Scaramucci against Priebus, or anybody else in the White House for his own amusement.
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Newt has lost his mind.
And people with his kind of influence who have lost their minds are dangerous.

History, the subject that drove Gingrich's interest in public policy, will not be kind to this dark figure.

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