JibJab at Cooper Union

Just got out of a breakfast with Newt Gingrich and a bunch of conservative journalists. If anything struck me, it was Gingrich's Aristotelian sense of the relationship between leaders and the governed. Bear with me. One of Gingrich's main points, emphasized whenever he was asked about a presidential bid, was that the presidential process was stupid, small, limiting. The word "pygmies" was tossed around, as was the phrase "trained seals," when he talked about presidential debates.

Read Lincoln at Cooper Union where he gave a 7200 word, two-hour speech, which he spent three months composing, and then go back and watch the Las Vegas debate. Compare leadership with patheticness.

But Gingrich was frustrated at Republicans' inability to win arguments about taxes, the economy, and trade. Democrats were actually gaining ground in those debates; the failure of the GOP to govern simply convinced voters that they needed "the big government party" to do the governing. How to win those debates?

I want JibJab to work on a cartoon asking this question: Can you get geese to fly?

I'm not exaggerating: Three or four times, Gingrich said "the golden goose" should be the analogy Republicans use to beat the Democrats. "When times get bad, the Democrats want to kill the golden goose and have a feast. They don't understand the golden egg of American capitalism."

Is it hypocritical to reject the dumbing-down of presidential politics and then argue for winning hearts and minds with fables and cartoons? Not entirely. Every politician uses fables and analogies. Gingrich understands that they're silly, yet he wants the political class to hammer the masses with them. I suppose he might think we need to introduce the masses to the correct political ideas, and then we can give them the high-falutin' stuff. That's an awfully dim view of the average voter and an awfully high opinion of the political class.

I should add that Gingrich degraded the quality of argument and ideas brought out in the presidential debates and compared them unfavorably to Hannity and Colmes. "The candidate in the presidential debates got an average of seven and a half minutes to speak. I got 20 minutes on Fox News."

UPDATE: My Newt skeptic column from four months ago (four months and three days, actually) is here.

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  • roy edroso||

    Huh?

  • ||

    But Gingrich was frustrated at Republicans' inability to win arguments about taxes, the economy, and trade. Democrats were actually gaining ground in those debates; the failure of the GOP to govern simply convinced voters that they needed "the big government party" to do the governing.

    Well, you know what they say about conservatives: they tell us government can't work and then they get elected and prove it.

    Why Gingrich would be surprised that after years of really awful Republican-led government
    people would finally get sick of it.

  • ||

    ...is beyond me.

  • ||

    I rail against taxes, yet pay them. Am I a hippocrite? Or am I trying to make the best out of a bad deal?

    If you want to win elections, and the American public keeps voting for those who advance over-simplistic emotional arguments, guess what you have to do?

    It's called tailoring the message to the audience. In business it's expressed by the phrase "the customer is always right, even when they're wrong."

  • ||

    Do I detect a bit of sour grapes from Newtie?

  • ||

    Well, you know what they say about conservatives: they tell us government can't work and then they get elected and prove it.

    HA! I'd never heard this, but it's great!

  • ||

    the failure of the GOP to govern

    Exactly. That's the heart of the Republicans' problem - they are no longer taken seriously as a governing party, even by people inclined to agree with them on issues.

    You want us to invade countries and turn them into democracies? Great, let's put Donald Rumsfeld in charge.

    The Republicans spent so much time as the minority party over the last three generations that they don't know how to behave when they come to power. They just keep setting off partisan stink bombs, as if they were still the opposition.

    Meanwhile, the Democrats have exactly the opposite problem; even when they are a distinct minority, and the Republicans make it blindingly clear that they are going to be shut out of governing entirely, they still strive to be part of a reponsible governing coalition, rather than drawing shart distinctions. At least, up until Nancy Pelosi, anyway.

    "When are we going to put forward our own Social Security reform plan?"

    "Never. How does that work for you?"

    Go Nancy.

  • ||

    Newt should be outcast into the land of Nod. He was the leader of the Republican sellout. Prior to 97 he spoke eloquently and at length about our constitutional heritage, the evils of big government, and sound economic power. The second his ass hit the speakers chair he betrayed every libertarian principal he once championed. He is the lowliest of low life scum.

  • ||

    "The candidate in the presidential debates got an average of seven and a half minutes to speak. I got 20 minutes on Fox News."

    Sure, but only idiots were watching.

  • ||

    I don't think people have a good grasp of economics.File a schedule C for a few years and see if any of your friend understand when you try to explain it.

  • ||

    "But Gingrich was frustrated at Republicans' inability to win arguments about taxes, the economy, and trade. Democrats were actually gaining ground in those debates; the failure of the GOP to govern simply convinced voters that they needed "the big government party" to do the governing."

    Somebody is going to have to break the news to Gingrich: "Republicans- the other Big Government Party." Keep the smelling salts handy.

  • Bushwackin, Hornswaglin, Crack||

    Well, you know what they say about conservatives: they tell us government can't work and then they get elected and prove it.

    HA! I'd never heard this, but it's great!


    I believe it's P.J. O'Rourke.

  • ||

    warren,not to defend Newt but he did try to hold spending down.Cliton vetoed it and the people turned against him when the gov, shut down.Remember the Time cover 'The Gingrich that Stole Chistmas'.Many people want massive spending.They don't want to pay themselves.

  • ||

    Michael Moore's old show "TV Nation" did a funny bit on how Newt's district in Georgia was #2 in the country in the amount of Federal pork received, behind only Arlington VA. Included a scene where Moore stood by some giant new Interstate highway with a sign imploring drivers not to use it because it was built with Big Government money.

  • ||

    Folks, if your presidential candidates feel that they have to use fables and fairy tales to explain the way the economy works to a nation of voters over 18 years old, most of whom were likely educated in government-run schools, what does that say about the candidates, the government, and voters?

  • Gabby Johnson||

    Bushwackin, Hornswaglin, Cracker Croaker | July 23, 2007, 11:43am | #
    Well, you know what they say about conservatives: they tell us government can't work and then they get elected and prove it.

    HA! I'd never heard this, but it's great!

    I believe it's P.J. O'Rourke.


    Now who can argue with that?

    (the best freakin handle, EVAR!)

    and yes - PJ did say that, dunno if he originated it.

    Not surprising about Newt's district...

  • ||

    Newt is a great idea man and a pretty eloquent speaker (most of the time) but he is an awful politician.

  • ||

    joe,

    So, the main fault of Republicans is that they're bomb-throwing idiots, and the main fault of Democrats is that they're so darn friendly and responsible.

    Thanks for taking the partisan blinders off for us.

  • ||

    rather than drawing shart distinctions.

    I had that happen to me once. But in my defense, I had some sort of stomach ailment and was bedridden for two days. Boy did I hate doing laundry after that.

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