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.