It's grey outside in my basement office. There's a pile of damp and rapidly molding ski pants dumped on the laundry  floor. I have a bag of gym clothes waiting with good intentions by the front door. I have a blue sticky note of  errands that need to happen this morning. Well, let's ignore those pressing matters for a moment and talk about Newt. 


Why did Newt destroy Mitt in South Carolina? Is it because he killed in the debates last week, and people want a candidate that they think can out debate Obama? Is there really a backlash against party elite? Is Mitt in trouble, because of a populist backlash against anyone who has reeks of Wall Street? Is because Mitt has not convinced social conservatives that he's a real conservative? 

UPDATE: And in response to popular demand….


The thought of an open marriage with this newt doesn't make us vomit a little in our mouths.


24 thoughts on “Newt

  1. Nobody I know of passionately, senselessly loves Romney, and some people do feel that way about Gingrich. That’s not to say Romney won’t eventually win (see GHWB).

  2. I think the Mormonism issue is becoming more and more of an issue as he gets closer to the nomination. It may not even be a conscious thing.
    I was sort of hoping the post would be about an actual newt.

  3. What, her picture is not of an actual Newt? Gingrich gives me ultimate slime vibes, and when I said that my son thought it was very funny that a slimy politician was named Newt.
    I do think my slime vibes are not completely tied to a political scale, though I won’t argue that they’re orthogonal, either.
    It’s interesting to imagine that some are perceiving Newt (ex speaker of the house, 3 million dollars in income, married to an ex-congressional staffer who lives in the greater Washington clime) as being the “anti-elite” candidate.

  4. I’ve always said I don’t care what someone is doing/did in their personal lives, I care how they govern.
    I am now starting to wonder if there is a validity to a “moral compass.” Really, if you make bad choices involving the people you supposedly love, what about those of us that are nameless and faceless? How easy are we to sacrifice? Gingrich makes me very nervous on this front.
    But then again, I don’t see compassion oozing from any of ’em.
    Newt winning South Carolina makes it much more interesting when you look at politics as entertainment.

  5. I agree. Biological amphibians please! No facsimiles!
    I do have to wonder if anti-Mormon sentiment might still be an issue. Otherwise I might think it’s just: no one’s happy with anyone, save the people who get invited to primary-night parties. So whoever’s seen as ahead gets smacked down.
    In other words, what you get when there are no good choices.

  6. Just saw this morning’s poll numbers. Newt up 8 or 9 points in Florida?
    The thought of Newt actually winning the nomination is giving me a lot of nervous energy, in that it simultaneously makes me giddily excited that Obama will be re-elected easily, while simultaneously panicking that Gingrich might actually win the general election, since you really can’t write off a major party candidate.

  7. Blecch! For both newts. And what a choice in the election: two nutcases, utterly without executive experience (unless you count the policy triumphs of the past four years), each convinced that he is a world-historical genius.
    On the bright side, there’s a lot of ruin in a nation.

  8. “I am now starting to wonder if there is a validity to a “moral compass.” Really, if you make bad choices involving the people you supposedly love, what about those of us that are nameless and faceless? How easy are we to sacrifice? Gingrich makes me very nervous on this front.”
    I haven’t studied Gingrich deeply, but it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to say that the emotional immaturity that fueled his erratic personal life is the same emotional immaturity on view during his famous political meltdowns. But at the same time, he’s a very, very smart person. This combination of intellectual brilliance and disorganization is not uncommon in politics, I think–Clinton had the same combination of very high intelligence, and lack of organization and discipline in all sectors of his life. The Clinton example is interesting because (contrary to the nostalgic rewriting of 90s history that’s gone on the past few years), Clinton was not much of a leader (see for example the spectacular failure of his health care reform). He was good, however, at getting to the head of the parade once he’d figured out where it was going. I’m not sure how much of that applies to Gingrich. (I see from Wikipedia that like Obama, both Clinton and Gingrich were raised without their biological fathers around. Interestingly, both Gingrich and Obama were conceived by teenage mothers.)
    Gingrich seems to have matured quite a bit over the past few years, but you have to wonder about somebody who only seems to have grown up in their 60s. He also hasn’t held elective office since the late 90s.

  9. A friend of mine, a Democrat non-fan of Obama (hates his education policy) in a Republican-leaning family (despite the membership of almost the entire family in teachers’ unions), told me Thursday that she preferred Gingrich to Romney. Gingrich is a slimy newt, but you know that and he’s fairly open about it, plus, you know where he stands. Romney is kind of fake, and what does he believe in?
    To me, the Republicans aren’t about governing. They’re about putting out a face behind which the real powerbrokers will govern. They’ve been doing that since Reagan, with a small exception for Bush 1 who probably was part of the MIC.

  10. I also have always said personal life doesn’t matter to me. But, the egotistical selfishness does bother me, because one does have to worry that it extends beyond just the way one treats one’s wives (any info on how newt treats his friends and employees?).
    Clinton does give me the same slime vibes (though he gets anti-slime points for Hillary, while newt gets extra slime points for Calista, who is also morally slimy, having had an affair with a married man for years).
    In the reports from SC, I sensed a certain antagonism based embrace of newt. That is, if they really thought about him (and his wife) independently, they’d see the slime, too, but that they are defending themselves for not liking the other guy, which requires embracing, and not just accepting. It’s kind of like saying you love beer when someone else says that beer is low-brow and that wine is the only thing to drink (even though you don’t really like beer). But now that you’ve said you love it, you have to love everything about it.

  11. Here’s some more Mitt vs. Newt discussion at Ace of Spades:
    Wendy said:
    “Bush 1 who probably was part of the MIC.”
    I’m googling, but I’m not seeing any plausible explanation for MIC. Macquarie Infrastructure Company? Motorcycle Industry Council? Minimum Inhibitory Concentration?

  12. “…having had an affair with a married man for years…”
    I give him a partial pass for Callista. He was cheating with her on his second wife, with whom he’d cheated on his first wife (the one who had cancer). So it’s pretty rich that Marianne (the second Mrs. Gingrich) is going around doing the wronged spouse routine. Gingrich married his first wife (his former teacher) when she was 26 and he was 19. So, if he did get annulments to marry Callista (not sure if he did), I can actually see why he got them.
    It will make a heck of a miniseries someday, if he gets elected president.

  13. …but you have to wonder about somebody who only seems to have grown up in their 60s.
    ‘Seems’ is doing an awful lot of work in that sentence.

  14. Excuse me, but I’ll be listening to Andrew Sullivan the day he tells me who Trig’s mother is, not before. It’s pretty rich for him to pose as anything other batsh*t insane. I don’t think there’s any Republican writer (who could be published in a mainstream publication like the Atlantic) quite that crazy.

  15. I’m not sure if Andrew Sullivan has straightened this out, but some years back, he was using a number of ghost bloggers. At least a few years back, you never knew if you were reading real Andrew Sullivan. So quoting Andrew Sullivan is a real act of faith.

  16. I’m pretty sure it is the real Andrew Sullivan who insists, among his other gynephobic rants, that Sarah Palin faked her pregnancy.

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