Maine Writer

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Newt Gingrich on Meet the Press Now "Trumps" all GOP 2012 Candidates

Please don't misunderstand me, I don't mean trump as a noun.

I mean to say, the Meet the Press interview by David Gregory on May 15, with 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich created a trump of Republican candidates.

Gingrich and his non-defensive answers to Gregory threw Newt's "flame thrower" style political personality into the limelight. During the interview, Gingrich effectively sucked the oxygen out of Sarah Palin and all the other Republican who I cannot remember.  In other words, he's a captivating personality.

Therein is the usefulness of Newt Gingrich.  By officially entering the presidential race, he finally ignited some energy into a ho-hum Republican presidential race, enough so that news programs can put substance into their campaign hype. Otherwise, without Newt, the campaign coverage was (yawn) lackluster, at best. News viewers, pre-Newt, were no doubt switching cchannels to the shopping stations where electronic mattresses and garden statues were more interesting to watch.

Therein is the danger of Newt Gingrich.  He cannot be taken for granted despite his personal and political failures.  Thankfully, Mr. Gregory was completely blunt with Gingrich, asking him about his adulterous affair (maybe affairs) and three marriages.  Newt didn't get defensive.  He's ready for the heat. As a matter of fact, as a flame thrower, he seemed poised for a boomerang.  Poor Mrs. Gingrich (if that's her name). What woman would want to hear her husband admit to adultery on national television? Nobody!  Even President Clinton had the good sense to deny infidelity.  Call it a lie, sure, but think about the wife, "hello"?

Therein is the slyness of Newt Gingrich.  He believes people will forgive him his sexual hypocrisy because he asked to be forgiven, but where's the penance for past sins?  Forgiveness, as he asks for it, begs penance and Newt still has lots of explaining to do, as far as I'm concerned.  I wish he'd work as a social worker in Detroit for a year before announcing his intention to be President.  I'd consider voting for a repentant sinner. But, vote for somebody who simply asks for forgiveness with no penance attached? President Clinton had plenty of public penance and we don't even know what torture Hilary put him through.

Therein is the attraction of Newt Gingrich.  He can be a sympathetic person. But watch out! Gingrich has yet to be truthful with the American people.  He speaks in sound bites without substance.  When asked if he intended racist comments against President Obama in some recent remarks he made, Mr. Gingrich brought up the subject of Detroit.  "Are we in favor of food stamps in Detroit or jobs?"  Rhetorical questions with racist overtones are unbecoming a man who asks to be forgiven. Of course, he understands the value of sound bites, doesn't he? 

But the overall value of New Gingrich for President 2012 is his ability to trump Sarah Palin and all the rest of those wanna-be candidates who people cannot remember.  Gingrich will ignite interest in an otherwise emotionally sagging Republican party.  He knows his sound bites are unsustainable as far as being intellectually accurate, but given the right set of circumstances, with a stroke of luck, he could well become the candidate of choice for Republicans and Independents who are tired of paying over $4 a gallon for gas.

And therein is the problem.  What would Mr. Gingrich do to bring down the price of gasoline?  Would he insist the people in Detroit finally produce more fuel efficient cars?  Will they even listen to him as President if he labels them as food stamp abusers? 

Newt Gingrich is like the cliche Ground Hog Day political candidate who could one day see his shadow.  Therein is the real problem.  Newt might be a political flame thrower but he can also ignite a deja-vu era of irresponsible sound bite politics.