When Newt Gets Cranky, Really CrankyPosted: January 5, 2012
One of the most startling events I witnessed during the Iowa caucus coverage was Newt Gingrich [who I lovingly refer to as Eye of Newt] revealing the true depth of his vindictive nature. Gingrich rode the bubble of ‘The Man Who Would King’ for the briefest of moments. Even Herman Cain and his absurd 999 mantra lasted longer than Newt’s claim to fame, his self-anointing as the Republican Nominee.
But after a reported blitzkrieg of negative advertising, financed by Mitt Romney’s Super-PAC buddies, Gingrich’s numbers plummeted. He ultimately finished a limping 4th in the Iowa ugly contest, 13% of the vote.
Oh, how the self-elevated fall!
When I was a kid we were taught the lesson of losing with grace, regardless of what the contest was. It’s one thing to be disappointed, we were told. That’s normal, human. But there was something called being a ‘good loser,’ a certain nobility inferred by shaking the winner’s hand, walking off the field with head held high and chalking it up to . . . life. You win some, you lose some. You go on. [Note to Newt: Hillary Clinton certainly knows how this works.]
Gingrich obviously never learned this valuable lesson. And yes, politics has been called a ‘blood sport.’ But if a candidate is not ready to suffer the slings and arrows that political combat inflicts, then what the hell is he/she doing running for the highest office in the land? Did Gingrich think he was immune to this sort of criticism, these pointed [and I’m sure painful] barbs? Gingrich’s reaction has a certain irony, considering that he helped usher in this generation of ugly political tactics–the nasty personal attacks, the language one uses to inflict the most damage. Politics in America has never been polite but the nasty, personal, take-no-prisoner attacks has been taken to a new level in recent years.
How shall I slice thee? Let me count the ways.
Anger and disappointment are surely typical reactions to a humiliating loss. But hate? What I saw on Gingrich’s face was the sort of rage you’d expect to see on the face of a psychopath. And then the vow. That he would work with his ‘ole buddy Rick Santorum to block Mitt Romney’s nomination.
If he can’t have the prize, he’ll make sure Mitt Romney doesn’t have it either. This is reminiscent of Middle School battles, not Presidential politics.
Which leaves the Republicans where exactly? Santorum? Ron Paul? Huntsman? [Who is a credible candidate but can’t get off the launch pad.] Well, there’s always Rick Perry who has effectively tripped over his tongue in every debate. Rick hasn’t given up, even though he should.
I read Gingrich described elsewhere as a GOP suicide bomber. A startling analogy but not terribly off the mark. Because what I saw in Gingrich’s face the other night, heard in his voice and words was nothing short of a blood feud, a very personal and bitter vendetta, the sort that destroys not only the object of the hate but the hater as well. And anyone standing on the periphery.
The idea that someone so emotionally volatile and hostile is running for President is a scary thought. This is someone who should never be taking those 3 am calls or considered capable of making rational decisions in a stressful moment.
Think of JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Transpose Gingrich’s face.
Now think crispy critters.
The Republican field is in such disarray that a group of fundie conservatives in Texas has scheduled an emergency meeting to find a ‘consensus’ candidate to save the GOP’s 2012 election cycle. It should be noted that this meeting will be hosted by the likes of James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and Don Wildmon, onetime chairman of the American Family Association. Oh yes, I’m sure they’ll come up with a reasonable candidate. It’s been suggested that Rick Perry’s candidacy was, in fact, their brainchild.
After three years of missteps, President Obama should be nervous as hell about his reelection chances. He’s highly vulnerable in the areas of performance, competence and results, particularly in domestic issues [though Obama has continued the Bush/Cheney militaristic postures around the world, even added a flourish with indefinite detention that includes American citizens]. Thank you, Mr. President! Obama has considerable weaknesses with poll numbers to underscore the point. But now? The Administration must be stomping out the Happy Dance in the West Wing.
How this all turns out is up for grabs. We have nine months before Election Day. But assuredly, there will be blood.