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January 25th
7:18 PM
Via

Gingrich vows to establish a colony on the moon

denverpost:

Newt Gingrich says that he wants to develop a robust commercial space industry in line with the airline boom of the 1930s. He also wants to expand exploration of Mars.

In which a great idea finds a lunatic spokesman. A permanent lunar colony, eventually with a goal of becoming self-sustaining, should not suffer derision merely because it is associated with Newt Gingrich. The former would be a fecund expression of evolution - and arguably necessary. The latter, a pathogenic affront to sentience and politics.

December 15th
8:16 PM

Nearly a Laugh but Really a Cry

Citizen Zed - 12/15/11

Another GOP debate? More of the interminable circus? Weariness prompts a motivation check.  Oh yeah, only long cultivated and insurmountable disgust over Newt Gingrich.  The Pied Piper of Political Pathology has to swim in chum filled waters, likely a bloated target for too many opportunistic jaws.  Thrown into this scenario, Newt’s well honed stage presencing may lack sufficient gas. And the chance to witness the tell tale signs of squirming is just too much to pass up.

He may even be goaded into leveraging certain habits and erstwhile strengths. Take the recent, sharp exchange between Romney & Gingrich where Mitt worked in ‘bomb thrower’ and Newt parried with ‘courage’ and ‘timid’.  Such farcical spats, so lamely sculpted by an aspiration to jedi mind trickery that the other words can be crossed out, place Gingrich on dangerous terrain.  More than any other candidate, he’s likely to win the battle but lose the war.

Behind that expansive visage lurks an ego ripe with a sense of ownership, even entitlement, to the genius of word play and insult.  And it shows when he chafes at being subjected to it, almost as if he’s trying to restrain a smirk at his imminent shot at showing up his poor attacker with a masterful, wizardly counterstroke. But he’s apt to go too far, to be too mean, with gestures trained to obliterate - all with a vapour of conceit and nonchalance. As Jon Stewart remarked: “Everyone loves the Pillsbury dough boy, but nobody likes his know-it-all little brother”. And while nobody likes a sore loser, everybody hates a boorish winner. 

I’m betting that’s how Newt punctuates his demise. He just can’t help eventually coming across in a way that prompts viewers to inwardly say “please remove the cork.”

What’s more, it could be a moderator that lights the fuse. Could be a clueless look on Megyn Kelly’s face stoking a pedantic response from our self-proclaimed professor. Then again, Chris Wallace has likely been stewing and plotting for revenge after Newt messed with him last time. And, unlike his father, Chris is just the kind of journalist to look forward to picking a scab over a personal slight.

Still, the motivation for watching remains troublesome.  One can’t shake the feeling that in the modern GOP we are witnessing an astonishing and dangerous collapse of one political party. After decades of night of the living dead ideological rot, of proud irrationality hermetically sealed against traction with reality, it’s hard not to gloat at the ugly spectacle - hard not to anticipate a laugh at the expense of one of its founding philistines.

But though damaged and reeling, America still harbours too much power to suffer a devastating stroke, where one half of it’s political corpus is reduced to withered and pathetic malfunction. Can it happen? Yes, and it may be too late to stop the trajectory. Yet I fear what it means, even if a decent into abject lunacy and pompous pretense portends a loss in 2012. Though it’s hard not to laugh, these pigs on the wing radiating cold shards of broken glass may reflect a historic and catastrophic failure of an entire nation. So careful what you laugh at, for as the Floyd line continues, it may be more of a case of being nearly a laugh but really a cry.

… we’ll try to lift our spirits and join the discussion tonight at DC Decoder’s pad

November 27th
3:44 PM

Old exposé continues to haunt Newt Gingrich

Scott Herhold had the good taste to remember an old piece on Gingrich from back in 1984:

Titled “Newt Gingrich: Shining Knight of the Post-Reagan Right,” Osborne’s piece depicted a conscience-free man who led a messy private life while selling himself as a champion of family values.

We talked a little about Gingrich’s character: “He’s not like you and me,” Osborne said. “Psychologically, he’s a fascinating and warped person. He’s very smart; he’s a charismatic speaker. But he knows how to manipulate people. And he will say whatever he needs to say to get power.”  >continue<

Newt Gingrich: Shining Knight of the Post-Reagan Right 

Focus here could not be more important. We believe Newt has demonstrated an incontrovertable pattern associated with malignant sophistry. Namely, a willingness to use any trick in the book to appeal to fear and/or base emotion. It’s like the “intellectual” version of Kitsch, and something constantly targeted by Socrates as a sorcery that leverages an appetitive state of infinite desire and leaves human potential stuck there in slavery. Perhaps an interesting bit of history related to our erstwhile “historian”, and touched on this May in "Newt Gingrich, Lost in Space".

November 17th
9:35 AM

Gingrich Called for Jail for Politicians with Freddie Mac Ties

Juan Cole:

Disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff on Wednesday accused Newt Gingrich of “corruption” for taking roughly $1.6 million from private/public mortgage company Freddie Mac. When pressed, Gingrich minimized the affair, admitting only to taking $300,000, and insisting that he did no lobbying but rather was paid to give advice.

Abramoff insisted that it is clear that Gingrich was paid for influence-peddling.

Gingrich had earlier implied that Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) should have gone to jail for his dealings with Freddie Mac:

“In Barney Frank’s case, go back and look at the lobbyists he was close to at Freddie Mac. All I’m saying is that everybody in the media who wants to go after the business community ought to start to go after the politicians who have been at the heart of the sickness which is weakening this country.”  >continue<

And now Newt is playing his favorite game, a language game, referring to himself as a “Strategic Advisor” and splitting hairs over a legal definition of lobbyist. “Historian” didn’t work so well. Next we’ll probably hear a pythonesque “Barney Frank turned me into a lobbyist! … I got better.”  

Meanwhile, if we turn all the resulting commentary into a drinking game, having to down one every time Gingrich is referred to as a “smart guy” and an “ideas man”, it’d make Mardi Gras look tame.

November 10th
11:07 PM
"Everybody loves the Pillsbury Dough Boy. But nobody loves his angry, know-it-all brother."
—  Jon Stewart referring to Newt Gingrich’s chances of winning the Republican nomination
July 22nd
1:23 PM

Newt Gingrich, America’s Worst Historian

…when Dr. Gingrich condemns the long reach of the federal state, he actually undermines his own argument for American exceptionalism. The twentieth century, he declares, was “the American century”—just as the previous one had been “dominated by Britain,” … Yet Gingrich bewails the fact that, throughout most of this star-spangled century, Americans kept electing fans of “big government” to run the nation: Progressives, New Dealers, and Great Society liberals who, together, established “massive” programs that ran up the national debt and damaged the economy by increasing taxes. “The American entitlement system,” Gingrich intones, “is, essentially, a federally mandated wealth transfer system from one group of people to another.” How did the U.S. stay so exceptional with such evil class warriors in charge? Gingrich doesn’t explain.  >continue<

See also: Newt’s Theology of Exceptionalism
ZV#Newt Gingrich

May 23rd
4:05 PM
Newt Gingrich, Lost In Space

George Lakoff has devoted serious energy to unmasking this framing game. It&#8217;s a game Newt developed and pushed to new levels, surfacing more or less explicitly in the 90&#8217;s with the memo "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control".

&#8230;we have heard a plaintive plea: &#8220;I wish I could speak like Newt.&#8221;

"The words", we hear from Gingrich&#8217;s cover letter, "are  tested language from a recent series of focus groups where we actually  tested ideas and language." With this political style directly imported  from advertising, working below the radar of active reason, one can only wish for the kind of disclaimers that pop into fantastical car and truck ads: "Dramatization", "Professional sophist on a closed course" or "Do not attempt in a real debate".
&#8230;oddly enough, Newt&#8217;s fate may be all the worse insofar as Republicans take seriously his stature as an intellectual. When one can imagine Jerry Springer as  the most apt moderator for a Republican debate, there are hazards to  branding oneself in a way that leverages opportunity amidst a general intellectual  vacuum&#8230;. His audience is more likely to see him cast  &#8220;appropriately&#8221; - alongside Will Robinson and the Robot, a Dr. Smith dramatically  lost in space.  &gt;read more&lt;

Newt Gingrich, Lost In Space

George Lakoff has devoted serious energy to unmasking this framing game. It’s a game Newt developed and pushed to new levels, surfacing more or less explicitly in the 90’s with the memo "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control".

…we have heard a plaintive plea: “I wish I could speak like Newt.”

"The words", we hear from Gingrich’s cover letter, "are tested language from a recent series of focus groups where we actually tested ideas and language." With this political style directly imported from advertising, working below the radar of active reason, one can only wish for the kind of disclaimers that pop into fantastical car and truck ads: "Dramatization", "Professional sophist on a closed course" or "Do not attempt in a real debate".

…oddly enough, Newt’s fate may be all the worse insofar as Republicans take seriously his stature as an intellectual. When one can imagine Jerry Springer as the most apt moderator for a Republican debate, there are hazards to branding oneself in a way that leverages opportunity amidst a general intellectual  vacuum…. His audience is more likely to see him cast “appropriately” - alongside Will Robinson and the Robot, a Dr. Smith dramatically lost in space.  >read more<

May 12th
1:01 PM
"One Marine Lieutenant Colonel had more courage than every Chief Executive officer of the Fortune 500 combined. People were tuning in for hours, more than they watched soaps, more than they watch situation comedies. Increased total ratings for day-time television by 10% … because they were fascinated by the drama.

And I’ve suggested strongly to the White House - The country will believe the drama in which we point a finger and say these people want to take us down the road of European socialism, these people are the intellectual parallel to the German socialist party…"
—  Newt Gingrich, commenting in 1987 regarding Iran Contra hearings and Oliver North. Newt has leveraged drama and announced his candidacy in 2012 via Twitter.
April 7th
2:43 PM
Via
motherjones:

The Newt Testament
Your guide to Gingrich’s greatest rhetorical hits over the last 33 years. Now with more Hitler/Munich analogies!

We have to add another to MoJo&#8217;s great collection.  It&#8217;s from back in 87 during the Iran Contra hearings - when Oliver North was on for hours. Now this is when Reagan funded terrorists in Central America with moneys derived from helping Iran during its war with Iraq (assisted much more explicitly).
In an amazing example of pernicious verve, we have sophistry essentially revealing itself as sophistry:

One Marine Lieutenant Colonel had more courage than every Chief Executive officer of the Fortune 500 combined.  People were tuning in for hours, more than they watched soaps, more than they watch situation comedies.  Increased total ratings for day-time television by 10% &#8230; because they were fascinated by the drama.
And I&#8217;ve suggested strongly to the White House - The country will believe the drama in which we point a finger and say &#8220;these people want to take us down the road of European socialism, these people are the intellectual parallel to the German socialist party&#8230;&#8221;

&#8230; see more Newt gems at Mother Jones

motherjones:

The Newt Testament

Your guide to Gingrich’s greatest rhetorical hits over the last 33 years. Now with more Hitler/Munich analogies!

We have to add another to MoJo’s great collection.  It’s from back in 87 during the Iran Contra hearings - when Oliver North was on for hours. Now this is when Reagan funded terrorists in Central America with moneys derived from helping Iran during its war with Iraq (assisted much more explicitly).

In an amazing example of pernicious verve, we have sophistry essentially revealing itself as sophistry:

One Marine Lieutenant Colonel had more courage than every Chief Executive officer of the Fortune 500 combined.  People were tuning in for hours, more than they watched soaps, more than they watch situation comedies.  Increased total ratings for day-time television by 10% … because they were fascinated by the drama.

And I’ve suggested strongly to the White House - The country will believe the drama in which we point a finger and say “these people want to take us down the road of European socialism, these people are the intellectual parallel to the German socialist party…”

see more Newt gems at Mother Jones