Newt Gingrich is politics' answer to The Blair Witch Project: A bona fide '90s cultural phenomenon that never made it out of the last decade of the 20th century. Gingrich injected some fun and insight into U.S. politics and engineered a stunning and unexpected Republican takeover of Congress before self-destructing in a mess of hubris and ideological incoherence, and losing a throwdown/shutdown with Bill Clinton. At his best, Gingrich was cypto-libertarian, talking up technology and an open-ended future; at his worst, which was most of the time, he was a big government conservative who wanted to keep things the way they used to be while getting to helm the ship of state. No small wonder that he self-destructed, especially after he couldn't actually lead a movement to cut the size and scope of government, which was his stated goal.
Somehow it's fitting that Newt's latest auto-generated missive, delivered steaming hot to your inbox via the intertubes after being typed by a million Max Headrooms in a room somewhere), came out just as news that John Hinckley, Jr. is now freer to roam about the country hit the telscreens.
Here's the former Speaker of the House and soft-core historical novelist taking inspiration not from Robert Taft and not even from the real Franklin Roosevelt but from Jon Voight's portrayal of FDR:
Last week, I had the pleasure of addressing the Senate-House Annual Republican Dinner. The MC for the evening was actor Jon Voight. Before he spoke, a video tribute for Voight was shown, including clips of him playing Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a movie.
In one scene, Roosevelt is being told by his generals and advisors all the reasons why achieving victory in World War II was too hard.
In response, Voight—playing Roosevelt, who, remember, was confined to a wheelchair due to polio— dramatically lifts himself up using the table and stabilizes himself on his non-functioning legs. He then stares down every shocked person in the room and says:
"Don't tell me it can't be done."
It occurred to me, sitting in the audience preparing to speak, that those seven words—"Don't tell me it can't be done"—should be the rallying cry for all Republicans (not to mention all Independents and Democrats who want a better future for America—more on this idea later).
Whole thing here. Me, I'm just waiting for the moment that Cuba Gooding, Jr., playing President Obama, steadies himself on his spindly little arms and vaults over the Oval Office desk and declares, "Three workouts a day—year-round!"
More on this idea later! In the meantime, check out hands-down the most inspiring portrayal of FDR: FDR—A One-Man Show, by Chris Elliott, which really should be mandatory viewing for all past, present, and future American citizens: