Sunday, January 22, 2012

She Turned Me Into a Newt

Newt Gingrich wins South Carolina, going away. Why do you suppose that happened? It's pretty simple, really. He's out there throwing haymakers. He's willing to do whatever it takes to win, even if it means blowing up his fellow Republicans. He's working the passion angle very well right now. And primary voters tend to be more passionate than the overall electorate.

We can safely assume that the Obama campaign is going to be fear and loathing all the way, since he'll not be able to defend his record, which has fallen far short of the myriad promises he made. Even if we had better Republican choices than we do, any Republican that runs for office these days is going to be vilified. That's just the way it is.

If Newt Gingrich has any advantage, it's that his villainy is pretty much out there and not much of a revelation to anyone. For anyone over the age of 30 who was even remotely paying attention, Newt is well known. There's really not that much we can be told about him that we don't already know. And to a certain extent, the experience of living through Bill Clinton's presidency is crucial to what is happening. By the end of his term, everyone in the world recognized that Bill Clinton was a world-class scoundrel and a moral reprobate, but even his harshest critics had to admit that he was a smart dude. Gingrich offers a similar profile, at least in some ways.

As for Romney, he's still in a better position, but he has problems to face. Much has been made about the idea of income inequality driving this election, which makes sense because that is the ground Obama would prefer to fight upon, but I really don't think that's it. What I think might turn this election isn't economic populism as much as it is a revolt against elitism. And that's Romney's problem. When people compare Romney to John Kerry, this is what they mean. Romney has the bearing of an elitist -- he can't be a man of the people because he's never been one.

We've had a lot of elitists lately. Obama masked his own elitism fairly well until he got into office. The various Bushes who have been in office were elitists, too. I'm getting a Jacksonian vibe right now and while it would be ridiculous to understand Gingrich as an Andrew Jackson-style outsider, he's enough of a ruffian that he's getting traction. Romney will never be anything other than an elitist. If that flavor is out of favor, he's going to be a tough sell.


Gino said...

there is a difference between an Elite and an Elitist.

Bush and Obama are elitists. Romney might be.

Anonymous said...

Might be? Honestly Gino, you must be smoking medicinal marijuana.

You guys are funnier by the week.

BTW...Go Newt Go!


Brad Carlson said...

C'mon Mark, you should have this parody commenter "Rich" regurgitate vapid lefty talking points to make it appear as though it's a real lib. I know Ad hominem talk is standard fare for vacuous lefties, so kudos on nailing that part of it. But I think it should be balanced out a little bit.

I definitely applaud the effort.

Mr. D said...


It's hard to do parody, especially for conservatives, since we lack nuance. I'll see what I can do.

Mr. D said...

Medical marijuana? Really? Kinda phoning it in, doncha think?

At least go with something that takes a little more work, like:

Gino, it sounds like you've been eating brandied peaches without the peaches again. Stole that line directly from Gilligan's Island, so you know it's good....

Gino said...

i've been mdical marijuana free for about two months, and out of brandi for a week.

but i am half thru a bottle of Wild Turkey, but not when i wrote that.

the funny part is thinking i'm one of those 'you guys'. LOL cause i know most or all of the 'you guys' disagree with me on many things.

Anonymous said...

Yep. I was phoning it in. But we are talking about a guy who is the son of a man who was Governor of Michigan, CEO of a major corporation, and legit Presidential candidate himself; we are talking abut a guy who attended Cranbrook Prep, Stanford and Harvard Business School; a guy named after his uncle...a Hotel magnate; a guy who helped found a venture capital company and is purportedly worth a quarter of a billion dollars; a guy who has been the governor of Massachusetts, and has been running for President for about two decades now. So I didn't really think the comment necessitated much qualification, but...there it is. He's an elitist.

Given the comments here, I seem to have hit a mark. There's a smell of desperation on the right, and it's quite understandable. Really. The culture warriors have been Trumped, Bachman moon-beam overdriven, Rick-rolled twice, and now...Newtered. I'd be pissed too. They know a significant percentage of their Evangelical brothers are never going to vote for Romney on religious grounds. But in their hearts, they know that Newt's a poison pill too, and that his sordid past, flamboyant egomania and fishy financial history will kill him in the general election.

This all looked so easy a few months ago, but now, you're stuck at a T in the road, and neither option is looking too good. Ultimately, you all will probably settle on Willard the non-elitist. In the mean time, Romney's tax returns will be extracted, year by year, after hours of water boarding by the other Republicans left in the race (especially Nuclear Newt).

Until the last few weeks, I had thought Gingrich would be the best guy to face in November. But I gotta tell you, Mitt's innate oiliness (to borrow a term from Robert Penn Warren "that is one sebaceous son-of-a-bitch") and unbelievable flat-footedness has me second-guessing myself. The simple fact that Mitt didn't anticipate full financial disclosure is enough to raise serious questions about his
IQ. If you've been running for president for two decades, wouldn't you have dumped those Cayman Island accounts a long time ago? And, knowing that you are a multi-millionaire with an incredibly complex tax structure, wouldn't you be out front on and prepared to answer questions about that? He is going to have to reveal that he pays taxes at a lower rate than most cops, fire fighters, and school teachers. How are most people going to swallow that one? I know: Blame Obama...except it is other Republicans doing the discovery.

I understand your pain. Welcome to my 1996.


Anonymous said...

Pardon my dates...I meant my 1988.


Mr. D said...

I personally wouldn't dispute that Newt is an elitist. Of course he is. But I get where Gino is coming from, because the question isn't being part of an elite background, but rather what you do with it.

Personally, I'm not desperate at all. In the end, the election is going to be a referendum on Obama and his first four years in office. Whenever a president is running for reelection, that's what it necessarily has to be. And he's fallen far short of what he promised. And since I think that events are going to be in the saddle in 2012, things are going to look worse, rather than better, by the time we get to November. It's the same point I was making with commenter Brian earlier in the week. You can only blame George W. Bush for so long and the statute of limitations is now running out. And 1988 is a poor comparison, because things weren't nearly as bad in 1988 as they are now. The comparison is 1980, and deep down I suspect you know that, Rich.

Anonymous said...

you see the glass as half empty...I see it as half full. I see a thoughtful and decent man in the White House who inherited major problems caused by the recklessness of the previous administration (I am not trying to say Dubya was thoughtless and/or indecent...He's a good man; just not a very good President). Obama has made inroads into addressing those problems, despite the persistent opposition of the Republicans in the House and Senate, and the lack of spine showed by many in his own party.

The President has accomplished a lot in three years: He saved the auto industry and helped state governments pay their bills and balance their books; he recovered large sums of the bail out money, including the money loaned to Detroit (BTW, as of last Friday, GM is the #1 producer of cars in the world again); He helped stop the economic hemorrhaging that was underway when he entered office (bail outs helped both nationally and globally); His administration is the first in many decades to be free of major scandals; He passed a sensible but not perfect Affordable Care Act (that hands a great deal of flexibility to the states AND makes the first inroads into addressing Medicares structural problems); He has been excellent on foreign policy, encouraging the Arab spring by not rescuing tin pot dictators; taking out Bin Laden and most of the rest of AQ's leadership; being smart enough to not embroil the US in internal Iranian politics...which is exactly what the Mullahs wanted; getting tough with Pakistan and Libya without committing American forces to either country, ending the Iraq war (on his predecessor's schedule); Not allowing a foreign country (Isreal) to dictate American foreign policy; and staring us away from the disastrous neo-con policy mistakes of the last administration.

There have been failures for certain. Show me a Presidency that didn't have its share of failures in its first two years. But the bottom line for me is simple - I am happy with his successes and I hope to see for more years. Especially when I see his two potential heirs: Newt Gingrich? Mitt Romney? Are you kidding me? A corrupt and morally bankrupt Washington insider, or a guy who dissembles when honesty would be easier and more convenient? I have no idea who will win next November. 10 months is a long time in politics, and it will be difficult, given the question marks hanging over Europe and China's apparent contraction. But right now, things are looking up for Obama. Thank God.


Mr. D said...


Your list is delusional, of course. Nearly every thing you count as a success is actually a failure. You will understand some day the extent of the disaster that this administration has truly been. We all will.

At a minimum, can we give the "Arab Spring" stuff a rest? An Arab world dominated by Salafists is not a win for anyone. There's a lot more, of course. I'll try to address the rest of it anon.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

I had to chuckle at the list as well. But you know what? I appreciated reading it. Because it was a positive presentation of facts as understood by an Obama supporter. To have a campaign that focused on the pros and cons of that record would be like dancing through a field of daisies.

I suspect, however, that we are headed towards something more like the ugly, muddy fields of the Somme. And on a grand scale, it might be just as hard to tell who "won."

Gino said...

Rich: part of the problem can be seen by looking at the situation people like me find ourselves in.

i work in the wealth generation sector. i make stuff, and try to sell it.

we are getting squeezed. if i lost my job, i would not find another one because the field has shrunk.

the govt has a done a good job of bailing out public employee pensions, and increases the ranks of tax payer funded paychecks.

meanwhile, i find myself in a situation where my future would be more comfortable if can find myself on disability for the rest of life. work does not pay as well as nonwork does now.

i'm not laying this all at Obama's feet, cause it took more than three years to get to this place, but he's not helping the situation at all, and has taken positive steps to make it worse.

i think we need to let somebody else have a chance at screwing it up now, but i dont like the alternatives before me there either.

CousinDan 54915 said...

This may seem oversimplified, but the Republican Party should start running a TV campaign that says how much Obama really sucks. He is running some tripe on TV that his administration is the the most ethical and then he stands by some windmills and solar panels and says we are nearly energy independent. Ironic isn't it, since the Solyndra deal is likely one of his lapses?

A simple theme everyone can understand is "Obama Really Sucks"