If You Like Political Grandstanding…


You gotta love Newt Gingrich—or not. Last night, Newt got a standing ovation from the red-meat crowd as he tossed ’em a juicy steak, a diatribe about he was “appalled” and “astounded” at the “despicable” idea that John King would begin a presidential debate by throwing out such “trash” as to ask Newt about his second marriage and the things that his ex-wife said in an ABC interview. You can watch if you can stand it:

Newt Gets ‘Em Going in South Carolina

Frankly, it doesn’t take much parsing to see through Newt’s protestations. His taking-to-task of CNN comes off as rehearsed, at least to me; it doesn’t take much of a brain to figure that Newt had to know it was coming at some point, and he used it, predictably, as a camera-ready opportunity to bash the press. Yes, the mainstream press needs some bashing; fine. But his words are a very convenient dodge; there is nothing inappropriate at all about him being asked such questions. Yes, Newt, every person is touched by pain; we get that, but get this, spud: you caused her pain. And the pain of your first wife (who is even a more sympathetic figure; this second wife was, apparently, culpable in the first divorce. Hard to feel terribly sympathetic toward her, come to think of it). You carried on a long-term affair (or two). You are to blame. Are you forgiven by God? Hope so, but that’s not the issue. Are you a conservative? Some of the time, but that’s not the issue. Can you be trusted to lead? Absolutely not; we’ve seen enough of you that we all ought to know that. And your grand telling-off of John King is a pathetic attempt to mitigate your indiscretions, a nice sleight-of-hand trick to take the focus off the very legitimate issue of character.

Now, it’s fair enough to say that it’s hard to trust Flip Flopney because of his, shall we say, “fluid” approach to convictions. Flip isn’t my first choice by any means, and if I do pull the lever for him this fall, it’ll be with a clothespin on my nose, perhaps literally. But we know what your convictions are, Newt, and what they aren’t; we’ve seen enough of you to know that it would be a crying shame if America had to choose between you and President Obama. It would leave this American searching for the best third-party choice he could find.

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