An Ode to Newt Gingrich – The Last Man on Earth
Okay, I don’t do odes, so that part was rhetorical. As for the “last man on Earth,” that pretty much was what you would hear from political pundits when asked about former Speaker and serial philanderer Newt Gingrich’s chances of becoming President. As in, “Newt won’t ever be President even if he was the last man on Earth.”
And that was from the Republicans.
These last few days the airwaves have been filled with media pondering the magnificent “back from the dead” resurgence of Newt Gingrich into the lead of many polls. Which proves that the media all have that disease that won’t remember yesterday (I forget what the disease is called). Think about it. The reason that Newt Gingrich is suddenly in the lead for the Republican nomination is pretty obvious. And it ain’t rocket science folks.
So here is an ancient proverb I just made up: “When all the other boats are sinking, they raise the only boat remaining that doesn’t have a gaping hole in its hull.” Call it a political version of Archimedes principle. Or something.
In any case, the rise of Gingrich is directly related to the sinking of the other tea party saviors of the week. It most certainly isn’t due to anything that he has done. Let’s recap.
In the beginning there was Sarah Palin. Remember her? Yep, Palin was the first choice of the tea party and they begged her to run. Eventually they begged her not to run, but early on she was the “The One.”
While waiting for Sarah Godot Palin the tea party decided to play a Trump card. Why? Because Trump played the birther card and immediately grabbed the attention of the bigots in the tea party. And so Trump actually moved to the front, or near the front, of polls. Donald Trump. Reality TV “star” and user of other people’s money to enhance the millions that his daddy handed him. The guy who conveniently went bankrupt just before each of his last two divorces. The guy who has Chapter 11’d so many casinos that you wonder just how the tea party could look to Donald Trump, self-promoter in chief, to fix the economy. Yeah, that Donald Trump.
Then there was Michele Bachmann, or Palin-Lite (or Palin-Heavy depending on your viewpoint). She was the next tea party savior. They saw her as the best conservative Presidential option. No, seriously. The tea party actually thought Bachmann was Oval Office material. Just as long as no one asked her what the shape of the Oval Office was or the color of the White House. Bachmann surged to the front of the pack on the strength of her Iowa birtherism and lack of command of pretty much every issue. She won the Iowa straw poll and her star rose to the lofty heights of the tea party for all of several hours before Rick Perry declared his candidacy the very same day. Bye bye Michele.
So in comes Perry. And he surges to the top. And at the top he stayed until the first debate in which he participated. That didn’t knock him out completely (I mean, he couldn’t be that bad, could he), but the next couple pretty much showed where Perry’s skills were. And that is hypocrisy (“Secede from the Union” but “send me federal funds for education and disaster relief”). Oh, and when you have thought through your central policy position so deeply that you have no clue what the third Department you would eliminate could possibly be, well, friends, you’re screwed. [Note on that – anyone can forget a name, especially during a high pressure situation like a debate. The fact that he couldn’t describe his rationale for getting rid of that forgotten named Department (or the other two) means that he was given this sound bite by his handlers and he simply memorized it without even thinking about it. That’s not a president, that’s a mynah bird.]
Okay, so Perry sinks to the bottom. But wait, there’s more!! Don’t forget Herman Cain. The Koch-supported guy who was a corporate CEO who made the corporation profitable by closing half of its 900 stores and laying off thousands of people. Yep, therein lies a great job creator. Then he was head of the regional Fed, and we know how much the tea party likes the Fed. Oh, and he was the head of a huge lobbying organization. Perfect. Just what the tea party was looking for. Too bad all those women showed up reminding us of the harassment charges they filed against him all those years ago, and that one with the 13-year affair that he denies as he quickly rushes to the exit. Sorry, Cain is not Able.
You do see a pattern here, right. There is a whole lot of surging going on by a succession of tea party “saviors.” One person floats to the top because the tea party thinks he or she is the best thing since sliced bread. A savior is declared and that person suddenly is rushing up the polls. Then he or she speaks, and sinks like a stone. But have no fear, because that person sinking just raises up the next person. And then the next. And then the next.
And now there is Gingrich. Perhaps appropriately for a man named after an amphibian, Newt has floated to the top. He’s basically the only one left. He tread water while the others drowned themselves (mostly because the debate questions tend to go more to the “frontrunners” so Gingrich didn’t have much chance to shoot himself in the foot yet). And with all the previous saviors gone, the tea party has turned to the only man standing.
Gingrich has the twin advantages of having no one else the tea party can turn to, and having not much time left before the Iowa caucuses. Not that it matters much.