I like this. So much.
Texas federal Judge Fred Biery is a key villain in GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s narrative about why federal judges are out of control and must be intimidated into submission. Gingrich routinely cites a previous decision by Biery holding that the Constitution does not permit a public school district to sponsor a student-led prayer at graduation to justify eliminating courts that displease Gingrich […] In his order approving the settlement, Biery includes an unusual “personal statement” directed at the many lawmakers who, like Gingrich, have painted him as some kind of enemy of religion:
To the United States Marshal Service and local police who have provided heightened security: Thank you.
To those Christians who have venomously and vomitously cursed the Court family and threatened bodily harm and assassination: In His name, I forgive you.
To those who have prayed for my death: Your prayers will someday be answered, as inevitably trumps probability.
To those in the executive and legislative branches of government who have demagogued this case for their own political goals: You should be ashamed of yourselves.
Biery also includes a clever dig at the many Christian right groups that have attacked him:
“Any American can pray, silently or verbally, seven days a week, twenty four hours a day, in private as Jesus taught or in large public events as Mohammed instructed.”
Touché, Judge. And thank you for your service.
Joe Scarborough »
…The beautiful NFL Hall of Famer then quietly moved in for the kill.
Turning to the Speaker, who a year earlier had been named Time Magazine’s person of the year, Largent said, “Newt, you were the one who drafted the contract and then told us to sign it. Now, you’re the one pressuring us to break it. But Newt, if I wasn’t intimidated by the thought of 250 pound linebackers who wanted to kill me every time I crossed the field, why would I be intimidated by you?”
And with that, the speakership of Newt Gingrich was over. A year later, he would be driven from power and sent into a political wilderness from which he emerged 14 years later on a Saturday night in South Carolina.
Gingrich’s precipitous fall from power was the result of arrogance, self-satisfaction and a fatal tendency to flit from issue to issue — and even from core conviction to core conviction — in the seeming belief that if he spoke well enough (and used as many adverbs as possible), no one would notice that he was doing something he had equally eloquently (and equally adverbially) opposed before. >continue<
“I wish in retrospect I had protested when Brian Williams took [the crowd] out of it because I think it’s wrong,” he said. “I think he took them out of it because the media is terrified that the audience is going to side with the candidates against the media, which is what they’ve done in every debate.” >continue<
Fascinating </spock> … Our “historian” and “intellectual” can’t seem to abide an academic atmosphere. Probably part of that something Maurice Sendak senses, which makes him “so hopelessly gross and vile that we can’t take him seriously.”
David Bromwich, The Republican Nightmare »
…Gingrich, as his supporters like to point out, is a licensed scholar. His MA thesis at Tulane on the effects of the Russian Revolution on French diplomacy (1968) ran 184 pages; his Ph.D. dissertation on postwar Belgian education policy in the Congo was nearly twice as long and relied on sources in French. The latter production comes to its first aimless but provocative paradox at the start of the third paragraph: “It would be just as misleading to speak in generalities of ‘white exploitation’ as it once was to talk about ‘native backwardness.’ We need to know what kind of exploitation, for what reasons, and at what price.” The pompous show of evenhandedness is nicely geared to approximate the thoughtless person’s idea of a thinking man. >continue<
Bracket everything you know or think about the candidates and the winner of Thursday’s debate in Charleston is clear: Santorum totally owned it. He stood way above the others in the logical play of assertion, response, evisceration, and focus.
Paul was in a hermetically sealed bubble. Again making observations and statements that are true and interesting, and stuff of a sort you’d never expect in a GOP debate, he nevertheless can’t break out into the open field of recognition. When he tries to link them up into a larger, convincing narrative, it falls flat into the nonsense worship of “proper procedures”. Praxis and attention to the empirical manifold is so lacking a moderator can be forgiven for not taking him seriously as part of the real debate - to say nothing of the crowd and other candidates, who have to regard it as submerged in another mytho-sphere.
If they’re all superheroes with special powers, Paul is Captain Quixotic up against powers frothy, presumptuous and grandiose. Proper procedures and fundamental formulae make up the lance in Virtue’s charge against the Way of the World. We see the windmill’s arms spread out and embrace the Knight’s pure trajectory - and so can just about everyone else.
But, starting things off, Gingrich freakin’ Christ! The premier architect of divisive, negative & destructive politics, the seminal catalyst of talk radio atmospherics, going all ballistic like that! Our “historian” is oblivious to his own past. And ironically, his little drama game there was itself part and parcel of his cute, high-school level, divisive/negative gamesmanship. Anyone possessed of historical consciousness can rationally conclude that the people who applauded are morons. The only sentient response to that act is “please remove the cork”.
Ugly too insofar as he put John King in an impossible situation, unable to follow up or disagree without annihilating his role as moderator and becoming part of the debate. Cute, it boils down to the bravery of being out of range.
Elsewhere, Gingrich was off balance and lame in his responses. When Santorum zinged the line of the night - “Newt has never had a problem with grandiosity” - Newt played right into Rick’s attack vector and proudly identified himself as grandiose! Santorum lowers the scythe masterfully with a perfectly apt distinction between someone possessed of an effusive cauldron of ideas and an effective political agency. It was brutal - and it wouldn’t be the only time Gingrich’s body language revealed severe discomfort. Justice requires that Ned Beatty host SNL and spoof this encounter.
Romney was terrible with a weak barrage of glittering generalities, delivered in obnoxious avoidance of any real question - and ultimately punctuated by his “Maybe” quip on the tax thing. Amazingly plastic with a sheen of smiley unresponsiveness, his only mojo comes in popping Newt over his legacy and the Reagan diary, and brushing off Gingrich’s ad hoc reply over how Mitt should be thankful - effectively nailing his tendency to sound like a name dropper and a credit hog. Spark aside, Romney can’t or won’t shift gears now that the polls are tight, staying in a “safe zone”, talking a lot and saying nothing. If he only had as many clues as grandchildren.
Presumption and grandiosity lost to a frothy mix whipped in the hydraulics of Santorum’s disciplined debate rhythm. Score one for the champion of a “bottom up free market system.” He wore out both Romney and Gingrich over the individual mandate. And earlier, he shot through the vapor of Romney’s effusive praise of pure capitalism, highlighting the bottom again - a blue collar basis where people are “paddling alone”. With an angle Nixon once played, he left Romney holding a fig leaf for cover - and questions remaining about the spirit and ethos of his capitalism.
It may take something akin to a phenomenological reduction, you know - in effect to rigorously hold one’s nose over Rick Santorum’s faux Christian proto-fascism, but just looking at logical play and debate skill it’s clear he won hands down. Insofar as anyone insists Gingrich won, they’re employing a confused set of metrics. As the South Carolina Primary returns come in, it appears Newt’s concoction of pseudo-outrage and racial ventriloquism has bewitched Palmetto sensibility. Unsurprisingly in our epoch, the brand of “debate champion” looks and feels better than the real thing.