March 30, 2011

Run, Newt, Run!

I’ve never had much use for Newt Gingrich, either his politics or his ethics.  But when he was the vanguard of the GOP in the 1990s, you at least had to respect his smarts.  Sleazy Newt may have been, but he wasn’t dumb.

Which can only mean that the past decade or so has wreaked havoc on his brain or he’s trying to out-pander the rest of the 2012 GOP presidential field, which is no mean feat.  First, we had his laughable “explanation” for his serial adultery, which basically boiled down to “the country gets me hard” (Priapisms for Patriots?).  Then we had his ludicrously quick flip-flop on Lybia, made necessary by the current First Commandment of the GOP (whatever Obama does is wrong).  Now there’s . . . well, there’s this (via & via):
I have two grandchildren: Maggie is 11; Robert is 9. I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.
Ahem.  One would think it obvious that a “secular atheist” could not, by definition, be a “radical Islamist.”  You could have secular Muslims, of course, but they’re hardly “radical Islamists” in any meaningful sense.  So is Newt really that dumb, to get such diametrically opposed concepts confused?

Not on your life.  He knows his audience which, in specific was one of those rapture-ready mega churches and, more broadly, is the GOP primary base, which has always been more in the sway of the religious right than the electorate in general.  To that audience, “secular,” “atheist,” and “Islamist” all mean the same thing: evil.  They’re labels slapped onto political enemies.  Who cares if they’re accurate or not.

To be fair to Newt, he’s got quite a task on his hand to stand out a current GOP field of hopefuls that includes Michelle Bachman and Donald “Birther” Trump.  One part of me fears for the country when one of the major party’s hopefuls are so stupefying (and the incumbent’s no catch, either).  Another part of me thinks that, at least, the campaign will be full of lulz.  And they’ll just keep on coming:
Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, known as the 'Ten Commandments judge,' said he's considering seeking the Republican presidential nomination.
It’s almost enough to make me think there is a God.  And that She loves me!

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