Newt Gingrich: A Victory of Obama's Values "Would Mean the End of American Civilization As We Know it"

The National Review interviews the bailout-lovin', wife-dumpin' Catholic convert, reminding us all in the process just how irritating, hyperbolic, and just plain wrong Gingrich was back when he mattered:

Gingrich says he has major concerns about American culture, and "the degree to which it is becoming an anti-religious culture." [...]

"The modern Left is essentially proto-totalitarian," says Gingrich. President Obama, he says, is "an authentic representative of the intelligentsia. I think he likes Reveille for Radicals for a reason; he likes William Ayers for a reason. He didn't notice 20 years of sermons for a reason."

But is Obama that different from liberals like George McGovern? "Oh, yeah," says Gingrich. "My sense is with McGovern, unequivocally, that he was a man from a different world. McGovern was a man who had grown up in pre-World War II America. And he grew up in South Dakota. Obama really grew up in the world of the modern American intelligentsia - he is a person of the Left. The minute you accept that, you understand almost everything."

Obama, Gingrich adds, "is a radical in the sense that the victory of those values would mean the end of American civilization as we know it." [...]

"I think the centrality of the Eucharist in the Catholic experience, and the degree to which you're directly infused with Christ, gives me a much higher appreciation of the cost of a totalitarian state on an everyday basis," he says. [...]

Looking to Afghanistan, Gingrich says, "the real underlying challenge is that this is a much bigger problem than people understand. You can pull out of Afghanistan, and then what? You want to pull out of Pakistan? Fine. And then what? We pulled out of Somalia, and now we have pirates. You think these guys are going away? Or, do you think that this will become a bigger problem? It's like dealing with Iran. The last few weeks have been worse than Chamberlain. This is Baldwin in 1935, just willfully blind because he didn't want to tell the British people the truth because it would offend them."

Note that McGovern for the right is rapidly becoming what William F. Buckley is to the left–a former monster they pretend to like now, since the new guys on that team are so much worse.

Ironically, I think Gingrich is correct when he notes that Obama's victory was about anti-Bushness as much as anything else. Why is that ironic? Because when Republicans inevitably gain ground in the 2010 House elections, they too will confuse their better fortunes with having produced a better policy product. And you can tell just how rancid, incoherent, and played-out that particular product is by the mere fact that this living examplar of hoof-in-mouth disease is treated with anything resembling intellectual respect.

Read Reason's less hysterical Gingrich archive here.

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  • Death Panelist||

    Oh, wow, is that picture racist.

  • Phantom Limb||

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!! That joke is just as funny the 200th time you hear it as it was the first.

  • Death Panelist||

    Are you sure you can see the humor? Maybe adjust the eye-holes in your sheet to get a better view.

  • Qualis Artifex Pereo||

    Well, at least he's doing this:

    http://www.economist.com/debat.....erview/155

  • Bo||

    While he is annoying, I think he's pretty much right about what he's saying. Obama is a tourist in the real world.

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    Plus, Newt Gingrich's latest venture is quite libertarian-friendly. It's also quite far-left friendly, but is there any difference?

    P.S. Cette message est egalement disponible en francais.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    That was my impression of Sarah Palin as well. But ultimately, I think it's a phony concept. What people really mean by it is that someone lives in a different "world" from the speaker.

  • Attorney||

    He just likes saying "proto-totalitarian."

  • ||

    It is kinda fun to say....

  • Dave Weigel||

    Remember, Gingrich is not simply "bailout-lovin'"--he called for Republicans to vote against the bailout, then after they did so he panicked and said they should vote for it when it came up for the second vote. His ability to wing it on this stuff and never take a reputation hit is quite stunning.

  • smartass sob||

    Years ago on a talk radio show, just after the "Republican Revolution," I heard a woman caller liken Gingrich to a real life John Galt. Can anyone believe that?

  • Humanure||

    "The National Review interviews the bailout-lovin', wife-dumpin' Catholic convert"

    deep

  • P Brooks||

    I never really understood clown phobia.

    Until today.

  • ||

    they too will confuse their better fortunes with having produced a better policy product.

    Democracy by the numbers:
    Given n parties, each one will rule every 1/n elections, and n-n of them will be capable of not crapping on the nation while doing so.

  • Kroneborge||

    Hey, he brought us contract with America, and a balanced budget.

    nuff said.

  • Mike M.||

    IMHO, Gingrich was on the threshold of history. His big mistake in my opinion was in making the whole thing with Clinton personal and then caving in to his threat to shut down the government.

    Had he called his bluff like he should have and said "go ahead, see if we care", he'd be as revered on the right as Reagan.

  • zoltan||

    He is a weak-willed person.

  • ||

    Excuse me, Kroneberg, but it was Bill Clinton who did the balancing budget thing and eliminated the deficiet, AND left office with a budget surplus. Neither Ronald Regan and George HW Bush before him nor George W Bush after him were able to do that. It's your right to support the Republicans if you want, but please at least tell the truth about the things you support.

  • ||

    The GOP did NOT balance the budget, and Newt played no role in that accomplishment. It didn't occur until President Clinton imposed the pay-as-you-go rule on the budget process -- a rule that the GOP immediately abandoned once they took the presidency back...and sent us back so far into the red that it'll be decades before we see a balanced budget again. And Dubya didn't even include the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in his budgets -- he got all of that money through "supplemental appropriations," and never included those costs in his deficit or debt calculations. Then, when President Obama corrected that purposeful omission, the GOP instantly started screaming about how Obama was responsible for all the red ink. Get your facts straight, please.

  • John Wayne Gacy||

    I never really understood clown phobia.

    Why dontcha stop by my place Saturday afternoon? We can watch the game and grab a few beers.

  • Kyle Jordan||

    "Ironically, I think Gingrich is correct when he notes that Obama's victory was about anti-Bushness as much as anything else. Why is that ironic? Because when Republicans inevitably gain ground in the 2010 House elections, they too will confuse their better fortunes with having produced a better policy product. And you can tell just how rancid, incoherent, and played-out that particular product is by the mere fact that this living examplar of hoof-in-mouth disease is treated with anything resembling intellectual respect."

    Fuck. That's depressing when you read it in cold, hard text like that.

  • ||

    Cue R.E.M....

  • ||

    "I think the centrality of the Eucharist in the Catholic experience, and the degree to which you're directly infused with Christ, gives me a much higher appreciation of the cost of a totalitarian state on an everyday basis," he says. [...]

    What does that even mean? I'm thoroughly boggled.

  • Billy!||

    "Eucharist" has four of the same letters that are in "Hitler".... you understand now?

  • Elemenope||

    Uh, five letters. It's just missing the "L".

  • smartass sob||

    It probably means he thinks he has had some sort of divine revelation.

  • ||

    It's particularly ironic that Newt would point to the Catholic Church as the institution that taught him about the "cost of a totalitarian state" -- if there's a more "totalitarian" state than the Vatican, please tell me which one it is!

  • LarryA||

    We really really need "none of the above" on ballots.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    You can pull out of Afghanistan, and then what? You want to pull out of Pakistan? Fine. And then what? We pulled out of Somalia, and now we have pirates.

    Is Newt joking here? Let's pretend for a moment that the United States ever stopped interfering in Somalia . If "we" did so, then I presume Newt is referencing 1993. So his chain of causality goes:

    1. United States "leaves" Somalia in 1993.
    2. ????
    3. Fifteen years later...pirates!

    What the fuck? Too bad, though, that the United States never left Somalia to its own devices in the first place.

    Gingrich only hates "intellectuals" because they can see through his nonsensical babbling. I once said that at least Newt was a smart person on the right, but that interview is so full of non-sequiturs and just general nonsense (William Ayres as a disciple of Dewey? WTF?) that I won't ever say that again.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    Newt has a brain. I've seen him prove it. But 99% of his public speaking is intentional pandering to the lowest common denominator of his Republica audience. That's how he's stayed around so long - he doesn't have to make sense, just keep pandering. I don't think he actualy believes most of what comes out of his mouth.

  • ||

    They pirates because they have no functional government. The Pirates really are not much of a problem, if you are willing to hang them or shoot them on site like we did in more civilized times. Sadly, we live in a barbaric age of lawyers where piracy pays and pays well.

    Gingrich chose a bad example in Somalia. But his point is right. Radical Muslims don't hate us and want to kill us because we mess with other countries. They hate us and want to kill us because they hate and want to kill everyone who is not a Muslim. Even the moderate Muslims really don't have a problem with killing non-Muslims. It is not like many of them were upset about 9-11. They only started to have a problem with Al Quada when they started killing other Muslims.

    If you want to go home from everywhere in the world, fine. Maybe that is a good idea. But you are pissing in the wind if you think that is going to solve our problem with radical Islam and really Islam in general.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    The Pirates really are not much of a problem, if you are willing to hang them or shoot them on site like we did in more civilized times. Sadly, we live in a barbaric age of lawyers where piracy pays and pays well.

    Pirates are not controlled by hitting them at sea. They're controlled by going after their land bases, a-la the first Barbary war or the near elimination of Mediterranean piracy by Gnaeus Pompeius.

    They hate us and want to kill us because they hate and want to kill everyone who is not a Muslim. Even the moderate Muslims really don't have a problem with killing non-Muslims. It is not like many of them were upset about 9-11. They only started to have a problem with Al Quada when they started killing other Muslims.

    Except, that Al-Qaeda has always been focused primarily on the muslim world. The initial goal was to overthrown corrupt, westernized governments in muslim countries (ala the Islamic Brotherhood) and replace them with a new, unified islamic state, opening the middle east to a second islamic golden age.

    The US is involved to the extent that it supports governments widely seen in islamic countries as corrupt (Egypt, Saudi Arabia) and, of course, Israel.

    They only started to have a problem with Al Quada when they started killing other Muslims.

    ...which is pretty much from the beginning. Al-Qaeda has always been Takfiri, as Zawahiri left the Muslim brotherhood because the brotherhood resisted killing other muslims.

  • ||

    Al Quada only wants to take over the Muslim world as a step towards establishing Islam as the World religion. It is crazy stuff I know but that is their goal. When they were bombing places like Kobar Towers in the Muslim world they were not popular. When they bombed the US, they got more popular. Most muslims don't care if they kill non-muslims,

    So, what if we do, leave the ME alone and let them fight it out? What if Al Quada wins? Do you really want a good chunk of the world ruled by religious fanatics beant on killing anyone that is not in their religion? You are right in one sense that Al Quada wants to take over the Muslim world. But our leaving isn't going to change that or change their opinion of us.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    It may be a stated goal to take over the world, but that doesn't make it remotely plausible. I don't sweat over nutcases with delusions of grandeur, even the psychopathic ones. Al-Qaeda would need the industrial power of a security-council level nation state to make good on its goals, and such a state doesn't exist in the middle east and is not likely, in any case, to be obtained through suicide bombers and video rants.

    In my opinion, groups like Al-Qaeda should not be taken too seriously. Their major front is one of public relations and propaganda, and the more attention they get, the bigger the microphone you hand them. They're the kind of people best dealt with by knives in the dark; not by inflated declarations of "war on terror."

    When they were bombing places like Kobar Towers in the Muslim world they were not popular. When they bombed the US, they got more popular. Most muslims don't care if they kill non-muslims,

    How many Americans even know about the Kobar Tower bombings? All people care more about things that happen in their backyards to people that look, act and speak like them than they do about things that happen to "others." It's not a muslim thing; it's a human thing.

  • J.||

    "Too bad, though, that the United States never left Somalia to its own devices in the first place."

    How is that? The US didn't directly do anything in Somalia between the withdrawal of troops in 1993 and the use of some AC-130Us in support of the TFG in 2007.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    "I think the centrality of the Eucharist in the Catholic experience, and the degree to which you're directly infused with Christ, gives me a much higher appreciation of the cost of a totalitarian state on an everyday basis"

    What does that mean? Seriously? I doubt he's talking about living under the tyrannical autocracy of a pope, but what is he saying?

  • Elemenope||

    I think he's saying that a totalitarian might try to take away his wafers.

    Or something.

  • P Brooks||

    What does that even mean? I'm thoroughly boggled.

    It means Newt has completely lost touch with reality. The next time you see him, he'll be dressed as Joan of Arc.

  • F. Mylife||

    What does that even mean? I'm thoroughly boggled.

    He's the intellectual of the Hill and a former history professor, man! It's way too deep for you or me.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    "You can pull out of Afghanistan, and then what? You want to pull out of Pakistan? Fine. And then what? We pulled out of Somalia, and now we have pirates."

    Wait... wait... have we ever really been in Pakistan? I mean, officially? In the sense that we have been involved in Afghanistan and Somalia?

  • Xeones||

    Shut the fuck up, LoneWacko.

    I read an alternate history of World War II that Newt wrote. It wasn't bad.

  • ||

    "(William Ayres as a disciple of Dewey? WTF?)"

    Well practically every left winger in the education field is his disciple, here he is praising Dewey in a communist newspaper...

    http://rwor.org/a/063/ayers-en.html

    Impressions of Soviet Russia and the revolutionary world by JOHN DEWEY

    http://ariwatch.com/VS/JD/Impr.....Russia.htm

    Pragmatism went to the shitter after Peirce...

    I'm not a Gingrich fan, but our Alinskyite Rortyian DHope dealer scares me...

  • P Brooks||

    Was Josef Mengele the Surgeon General?

  • EJM||

    "I think the centrality of the Eucharist in the Catholic experience, and the degree to which you're directly infused with Christ, gives me a much higher appreciation of the cost of a totalitarian state on an everyday basis," he says.

    I wonder if Newt would then agree with William Cavanaugh (see, e.g., http://www.theotherjournal.com/article.php?id=764).

  • The Angry Optimist||

    yarrr - you'd have to see the specific context in which Gingrich said it. I have no doubt that Ayres, like many other leftists, liked Dewey, but Gingrich's awkward mooshing of the two together in the interview just didn't make any damn sense.

  • ||

    The good news for 2011 is that the GOP doesn't currently have an alternate policy product.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    Fun fact about Newt: Every year he hands out "Entrepreneur of the Year" awards to outstanding entrepreneurs in every state. The catch: If you want to come to DC to receive the award, you have to pay Newt $5,000. A dude named Jay Goltz writes in the NYT about how Newt's people finally offered to send him the award if he would just come up with $250. Sure, the Eucharist is terrific, but it don't pay the rent.

  • alan||

    A former friend of mine got suckered in that scam Newt and Kemp ran trading on the Clinton administration's scary policies in the early nineties for a couple of grand.

  • alan||

    I just recalled the name of that outfit, Empower Our Bank Accounts, America!

  • Boston||

    Apparently they gave it to a strip club owner this year and then reneged.

  • Isaac Bartram||

    Yeah, didn't they say it was supposed to go to some other guy with the same name, or something?

  • alan||

    "I think the centrality of the Eucharist in the Catholic experience, and the degree to which you're directly infused with Christ, gives me a much higher appreciation of the cost of a totalitarian state on an everyday basis," he says.

    Funny his experience is much different from my own. I made an effort at giving all three of the local Catholic churches a try back in the early nineties, and without exception I got to enjoy a major swishy give a sermon preaching the commie social gospel.

  • ||

    "Funny his experience is much different from my own. I made an effort at giving all three of the local Catholic churches a try back in the early nineties, and without exception I got to enjoy a major swishy give a sermon preaching the commie social gospel."

    Depends. There are some priests who are not commie socialists. You are right that some of them are. I, however, find that they are less likely to be commie bastards than mainline Protestent ministers who are almost invariably leftist twits.

  • alan||

    It would have been nice to have at least one in my locality that did not sound like he just got back from Honduras with a brain loaded with Liberation theology nonsense.

    Here, the Protestants tend to be less mainline, Southern Baptist and Wesleyans, though I once attended a marriage at a Unitarian church that could have easily been mistaken for a Greatful Dead stage (not even excluding a heavy scent of marijuana).

  • alan||

    Greatful Dead

    Damn, 3:45 hunger pains which I'm not feeling grateful for having.

  • ||

    That is why I don't belong to a church. I am a Christian. But I refuse to be a holy roller evangelical and every non evangelical church seems to be run by aging hippie leftists.

  • alan||

    I use to attend a Wesleyan church that a girlfriend belonged to, and in the 'old time religion' sermonizing, the preacher was extremely impressive. If you needed some sobering reminder of the world around you over some pious smoke on the Great Liberal Cause of the Day being blown up your ass on a Sunday morning that guy delivered in spades.

    Ironically, given my absolute hatred of the social gospel, the theologian that has most influenced my thinking in terms of theology is the socialist Paul Tillich. Though I'm really pretty agnostic in spite of the appeal of the Christian existentialism he espoused.

    It is difficult to reconcile the metaphor of ultimate knowledge that the theology represents with an empirical understanding of the same, at least for me it is.

  • ||

    I will have to look into Tillich. I have never read him. I read a lot of NT Wright. I tend to be a my own wierd combination of Christian existentialism and platonism. It am truely a cafeteria theologist.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    He's pretty good, if you incline towards existentialism.

  • Random Dude||

    NT Wright is interesting.

    But his stuff on the literal Kingdom of God (more here) is just frightening. For instance,

    "And Isaiah cries out, and Luke in his spectacular Christmas story cries out too, that it’s time for a different kind of world, a different kind of empire. What we need is a new economic system, a new way of doing global politics, a new style of leadership"

    or

    "We have to think globally and act locally, campaigning for the big issues like debt remission and climate change, and working on the local issues like housing, asylum and unemployment."

    or

    "God will one day right all wrongs through Jesus, and earthly rulers, whether or not they acknowledge this Jesus and this coming kingdom, are entrusted with the task of anticipating that final judgment and that final mercy. They are not merely to stop God's good creation from going utterly to the bad. They are to enact in advance, in a measure, the time when God will make all things new and will once again declare that it is very good."

    Yeesh.

    Needless to say he is a huge believer in "social justice" and the nanny state.

    There is a reason the Anglicans are separating from the Church of England and it isn't just because of the homosexuality issue. That the Archbishops are still part of the House of Lords is scary in its own right...

  • Clay||

    Those first two quotes do seem rather lefty, but that last one isn't political at all. It just means that, instead of hiding in a hole until the return of Christ, we should be busy making the world a better place in the meantime. All Christians should be motivated in this way. For me, "making the world a better place" means working for liberty and capitalism, and the prosperity that accompanies freedom.

  • ||

    Think how that must smell.

  • ralph davis||

    Okay Gingrich sucks, but you people at Reason have been soft on your handling of Obama. I love Reason magazine I only wish you would grow a set.

  • alan||

    Gillespie and Welch have produced some of the best anti-Obama rants in the business.

  • Xeones||

    Okay Gingrich sucks, but you people at Reason have been soft on your handling of Obama.

    You either suck terribly at reading or you've only been coming here for, like, half an hour.

  • Mister DNA||

    Either that, or the last time he came here Dave Weigel was still writing for Reason.

  • Hamster Trap||

    "Either that, or the last time he came here Dave Weigel was still writing for Reason."

    DAVID WEIGEL!

    Slowly I turn,
    Step by step,
    Inch by inch...

  • smartass sob||

    Slowly I turn...

    Ha, ha! I actually remember that old Danny Thomas routine. Shows my age, I guess.

  • ||

    So that picture shows Newt for what he really is! Why does anyone give the likes of this clown or any of the right-wing clowns who have proven to be liars, traitors, and losers the time of day? I know those on the right do not trouble themselves with the truth or concern themselves with established definitions so trying to engage them in meaningful debate is an exercise in futility. When Newt says he has a higher appreciation of a totalitarian state on an everyday basis, he must be talking about the one he was instrumental in bringing about here as one of the hit men for the contract on America that killed democracy. The continued rants of the right by liars and despots like Newt, Rove, Cheney, Limberger, and the clowns from Foxwemakeourownnews, is possible only because of the coup of the F.C.C. by Bushs' SS in which the media was consolidated and proportioned out to the right wing corporations who now make up the ministry of propaganda, still owned by the self RIGHTeous conservatives who have made our government into the reverse socialist police state it is. Oh don't pay any attention to the liberal bias.

  • ||

    It will certainly be the end of Newt's world....so sorry. Everyone should read "The Looting of America" and push to return to the Eisenhower tax structure. In today's money anyone making 3 mil a year is taxed at 91%....Eisenhower built the interstate system. We could do it all and return to a strong middle class...healthcare, education, retirement, jobs....move over Newt the revolution is starting. Oh yes, pull out your wallet fat cat!

  • ||

    Honkey Granny you have hit the nail on the head, although I think the tax rate on the filthy rich was only about 72% meaning that a CEO that runs his company in the ground for $7,000,000 would only take home $1,960,000! Now that just wouldn't be fair! What really kills me is the religious right attitude towards their fellow American. One would never have guessed their savior Jesus Christ, had told them to take care of their brother by the way they act. As long as there are Newt Gingrichs in the world with fools to listen to and support him mankind is in peril. As far as the end of civilization as we know it, I'm afraid Newt is in over his tiny little head.

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