The Case Against Newt Gingrich

The former House Speaker is not presidential material.


Republican voters' esteem for Newt Gingrich has been rising fast. At this rate it might someday equal, though not surpass, his regard for himself. Gingrich is not a person with an ego. He's an ego with a person.

Just listen to his explanation of why it took him a while to catch on with voters: "Because I am much like Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, I'm such an unconventional political figure that you really need to design a unique campaign that fits the way I operate and what I'm trying to do."

Other GOP candidates sound like they are merely campaigning for office. Gingrich, however, hurls verbal thunderbolts like Zeus, as the lights flicker and the earth shakes. Hopelessly in love with the sound of his own voice, he exhibits a stern, overbearing self-assurance that gives his pronouncements weight even when he is uttering nonsense.

In a debate last week, the former House speaker was asked a simple question: What measures would he adopt after repealing President Barack Obama's health care plan? After ridiculing the question and trying repeatedly to evade it, he gave his answer:

One, you go back to a doctor-patient relationship and you involve the family in those periods where the patient by themselves can't make key decisions. But you re-localize it. Two, as several people said, including Gov. Perry, you put Medicaid back at the state level…

Three, you focus very intensely on a brand-new program on brain science, because the fact is the largest single out-year set of costs we are faced with are Alzheimer's, autism, Parkinson's, mental health, and things which come directly from the brain. And I am for fixing our health rather than fixing our health bureaucracy, because the iron lung is the perfect model of saving people so you don't need to pay for federal program of iron lung centers because the polio vaccine eliminated the problem.

Huh? There is only one intelligible proposal—the standard Republican formula on Medicaid. The rest is a riot of cliches, non sequiturs, and mystifying tangents.

If you imagine those words coming from Rick Perry, Herman Cain, or Michele Bachmann, they sound confused and desperate. But when delivered with the majestic grandiosity that Gingrich personifies, they can pass for deep thinking.

Still, it's hard to believe his campaign will survive extended scrutiny. One reason is his know-it-all personality. George W. Bush was the guy you'd like to have a beer with. Gingrich is the guy you wouldn't want to be stuck next to on a long flight.

Aside from style, there is the problem of substance. Some Republicans are turning to him out of aversion to Romney's notorious flip-flopping, forgetting Gingrich's own amazing flexibility.

He says he is not convinced that global warming is taking place. But he once urged action to combat it—in a TV spot with Nancy Pelosi. He rejects the individual mandate in Obama's health care plan, even though he previously endorsed the idea. He denounces overspending after supporting Medicare prescription drug coverage, a huge new entitlement.

Most stunning was his reversal on Libya. In March, he faulted Obama for not intervening against Moammar Gadhafi. A couple of weeks later, after Obama did just that, Gingrich announced, "I would not have intervened."

If he has not done enough to antagonize conservatives, he has done plenty to scare off everyone else, with a stream of inflammatory statements that suggest demagoguery or lunacy.

He called Obama, who disappoints liberals on a daily basis, "the most radical president in American history." He accused him of "Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior."

It's not just this administration that causes him to shoot blood out of his eyes. He said Muslims should not be allowed to build a mosque near Ground Zero "so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia." He said that "our elites are trying to create amnesia so that we literally have generations who have no idea what it means to be an American." Newt loves to conjure up terrifying monsters that only he can vanquish.

At moments like these it's hard to know whether he suffers intermittent derangement or simply will stop at nothing to demonize political opponents. Either way, he bears no resemblance to anyone Americans have ever entrusted with the presidency. Gingrich is, as he says, unique. That's just the problem.


NEXT: The Rich Man's Army

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  1. Newt Gingrich is big government. He is government that knows better how to solve your problems than you do. Government that understands the wants and needs of 300 million individuals, and can satisfy them.

    He is a central planner, not because the state knows best how to move the pawns around the board, but because he personally knows best how to manipulate society into perfection.

    1. For the ahundredth time, my name is not Newt Gingrich!

    2. Gingrich ? primary mission, Advocate of civilization, definer of civilization, Teacher of the rules of civilization, arouser of those who fan civilization, .?.?. leader (possibly) of the civilizing forces.

    3. He is good as a classroom conservative. He is one person who needs to be in front of students.

      1. nah, newt's a pro-colonial, crony-capitalist steeped in tiffany tribalism

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    4. You're wrong. The population of the United States is almost 313 million.

    5. ^^ This right here. I don't have a problem voting for an arrogant prick, but an arrogant prick without any principles is just DANGEROUS.

    6. To Fist of Etiquette :I fully concur with your observations about Newt.
      Don't care for him at all. However, I DO agree with his position that NO MOSQUE should ever be constructed near Ground Zero until and unless other religions have the same opportunity to build Temples, Cathedrals, Churches and the like in Muslim Countries. I'm sick of the intolerance this religion of Islam displays world wide.

  2. Reagan and Thatcher? It isn't like he said "I'm more famous than Jesus Christ"

    1. Within partisan Republican circles Reagan and Thatcher are held in higher esteem. While Christian Republicans spend more time claiming to worship Jesus, given how much time the partisan neo-cons spend agitating for war they do not actually give a whit about what Jesus actually taught.

      1. Nobody got my John Lennon joke 🙁

        1. Sorry,

          I forgot. I am the Walrus. Cucucuchu! I am the eggman, they are the eggman! I am the Walrus ... Experts textperts choking smokers, dontcha think the joker laughs at you???

        2. It's not a joke, John Lennon was right.

    2. And Jesus was a sailor
      When he walked upon the water
      And he spent a long time watching
      From his lonely wooden tower
      And when he knew for certain
      Only drowning men could see him
      He said "All men will be sailors then
      Until the sea shall free them"
      But he himself was broken
      Long before the sky would open
      Forsaken, almost human
      He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
      And you want to travel with him
      And you want to travel blind
      And you think maybe you'll trust him
      For he's touched your perfect body with his mind

  3. Also, his wife would make Cindy McCain look distinguished.

  4. The stern, overbearing self-assurance would be just fine by me if he wasn't a 2 dollar whore.

    The guy sold videos for years where he wept big crocodile tears about the beauty of the Constitution.

    Then he showed up at an event to receive a free speech award and in his acceptance speech he said that we have to take away freedom of religion for Muslims.

    Fuck him. I hope his next mistress leaves him hanging in a closet Carradine style.

    1. Dude, after all the emails that I sent to Mr. Titties and top people in his campaign, inre: The Name Change!, all that I've received back is Mr. Titties campaign propaganda, most of which is plugs for his wife's stoopid kid's books.

      Way to treat your #1 Fan, Newcular.

      Can you imagine what his back looks like? I bet it's really gross.

      1. In Callista's new children's book, Sweet Land of Liberty, Ellis the Elephant meets the pilgrims and discovers Ellis Island, where over 12 million immigrants first set foot in America.


      2. Just wait until the media picks up on the recommended name change.

    2. The stern, overbearing self-assurance would be just fine by me if he had the intellect to go with it.

      1. I'm with you. I can deal with stupid people who are nice and smart people who are aholes, but I have no use for stupid aholes.

  5. Gingrich on one side.
    Biden on the other.
    The universe is expanding just to contain both egos.

  6. Biden has an ego, but it's the ego of a local crime boss. It's Whitey Bolger type ego.

    Gingrich thinks he's a world-historical figure. Gingrich thinks he's Lenin or Aquinas or Moses.

    There is no comparison between the two egos. They are equal in assholery, but not in ego.

    1. These assholes were elected. Just one more example why...When everybody can vote, everybody loses.

  7. "Hopelessly in love with the sound of his own voice, he exhibits a stern, overbearing self-assurance that gives his pronouncements weight even when he is uttering nonsense."

    Thing is, people aren't comparing him to some other ideal candidate. They're comparing him to Obama.

    1. That description of Newt would also apply to Obama.

      1. Yeah, and even if Newt is the bigger blowhard, I'd rather have the bigger blowhard than Obama.

        I'd rather step in dog shit than have another go with Obama.

        1. I'd rather step in dog shit than have another go with Obama.

          That's what she said!

        2. I mean, I keep hearing from average people about how the Republicans don't have an ideal candidate, and I keep thinking that, you know, the Democrats don't have an ideal candidate either.

          Obama won the nomination because, unlike Hillary, he opposed the Iraq War. Find a Republican candidate who opposed TARP and ObamaCare, and that's probably the best the Republicans can hope for.

          Everything else is mostly aesthetics. Where Perry flubs his lines and Newt bloviates to beat the band and Cain continues to deny the rising tide of allegations...

          Romney effectively supported Obamacare!

          I'd expect that whoever wins, it'll be the one that can draw the sharpest contrast to the Obama Administration. That's what I'd think if I were a Republican voter anyway.

          1. Find a Republican candidate who opposed TARP and ObamaCare

            I can think of a certain congressman from Texas and a former governor from New Mexico who qualify. Unfortunately, they don't give the fundies that tingly feeling...

            I must say, I have a bad feeling that Bachmann is next on the comeback roller coaster ride, once people remember what an asshat Gingrich is.

            1. Although the fact that they can be comfortable with a guy on his third wife (this one, from an affair) while not being okay with a guy who's been married to the same woman for the last 54 years has got to say something.

          2. I keep hearing from average people about how the Republicans don't have an ideal candidate,
            and just who the hell is this ideal candidate anyway? I mostly want someone who can beat Obama because the evidence appears increasingly obvious that what many of us would consider to be negative developments, the Obama camp sees as its plan in action.

            Yes, Newt has negatives; they all do. The question is, is any of them worse than Obama? Will any of them purposely cause more harm than Obama has?

    2. Newt starts many of his comments with "I just think" a stupid clich? among many.

  8. I would walk the first mile with Jerry Sandusky but I would not walk a step with Newt.

    1. At least with Sandusky you don't get screwed until the second mile.

      1. You mean until you stop to tie your shoe.

    2. Spoken like a true fool.

  9. The former House Speaker is not presidential material.

    Correct he has worked with the "Pelosi" monster and there for should be kicked OUT of all public service.

    1. Can you name a single thing Nancy Pelosi has done that you object to?

      1. Secured passage of the stimulus, secured passage of Obamacare, ecured passage of Dodd-Frank...

        1. All half-measures aimed at improving the economy, and that makes her a monster?

          1. Yes.

            And clearly they, and in particular Obamacare, are more than that.

          2. yes Tony
            because they are hardly "half-measures" and each has demonstrably hurt the economy. Sorry, but when a govt official knowingly supports massive legislation that has a negative impact, that is monstrous.

          3. Tony you know what libertarians stand for and that Pelosi passed/forced through many bills that are antithetical to what we beleive in. Doesn't matter that she was trying to improve the economy because

            a) they didn't work

            b) and more importantly even if they did what good does that do if we have to surrender more of our freedoms?

            1. They're moderate attempts to respond to economic and healthcare crises. The healthcare plan was invented by Republicans. They are not radical by any honest assessment. Calling a Democrat a monster because she doesn't respond to crises with libertarian solutions she doesn't believe in (because they are retarded) is a bit of hyperbole, don't you think?

              Newt on the other hand is a pathological liar and hypocrite, as in really, not just because some talk radio fatass says so. I'm just doing my duty to fight against the forces of fallacious equivalence.

              1. Invented by Republicans, yet written by Democrats in a closed-door session to which no Republicans are invited.

                Pro tip: If you want to blame your legislative monstrosity on the other party, you should at least invite a token member to the drafting process. Otherwise, you make people like Tony look like total idiots, and it's really embarrassing to them.

                1. You don't know why you think it's a legislative monstrosity, you are just repeating partisan bullshit you heard. That's the problem here. The status quo was a monstrosity, and you don't have any viable policy alternatives to offer. You're just doing John Boehner's bidding and you don't even know it. It's sad.

                  1. "The status quo was a monstrosity, and you don't have any viable policy alternatives to offer."

                    The status quo is economic fascism and I agree it is a monstrosity. Their solution was to make it even more opprisive economic fascism. My solution would be to remove the impediments to economic liberty. One small reform regarding healthcare for example would be to allow people to purchase plans across state lines. Another would be to expand health savings accounts. There are many more but they all have one thing in common - they make people more free rather than less free.

                  2. I know EXACTLY why it's a monstrosity. I have insurance, but it still isn't right to make everyone buy it. It isn't right to indenture doctors (which we already do, to some extent). It isn't right for legislators to pass law without knowing all its details and ramifications. It isn't right to pass law to benefit any industry at the expense of constituents. And I think you know it. Take your RAH RAH Team Blue shit elsewhere. Come back when you can be honest.

                    1. Ok it is a bit of a monstrosity on the count that it does the insurance industry's bidding by having a mandate.

                      And on universality, you're either for a mandate (or a totally public system), or you're for freeloading. You don't get to opt out of being the recipient of medical care if you need it.

                      Now since you support freeloading, the next question is what policies do you support that would restrict commercial influence over government? Because if they had somehow managed a more progressive, non-industry-fellating, law, say single payer, would you be crying any less loudly about it?

          4. Shit Chad, you are still here? This place really does still suck.

      2. No, once I get started I can't stop!

      3. 15 words out of her botoxed mouth were enough for me to vilify her forever:

        "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it"

        -Nancy Fuckin' Pelosi

      4. She has the Male Gaze.

  10. "Hopelessly in love with the sound of his own voice, he exhibits a stern, overbearing self-assurance that gives his pronouncements weight even when he is uttering nonsense."

    Sounds like a president to me...

  11. Morning Links at 9:11AM

    1. Oh, ye of little faith.

      1. Jesus Christ is in charge of morning links? I thought it was John Lennon

        1. Actually, Margaret Thatcher is.

  12. Newcular Tittiies!!

    1. Matt Damon!!

  13. "The former House Speaker is not presidential material."

    But it's physically impossible that he could be worse than Obama.

    1. Impossible for Mao to be worse than Obama too. Try harder.

      1. Actually Mao was worse - he killed 60 million of his own people.

        1. Just passing Obamacare killed at least that many. In Nebraska alone.

        2. 'his own people'

          I hate that phrase. Can we stop using it?

          1. They belonged to him. He conquered them fair and square.

        3. But they had it commin'.

        4. "his own people" is what makes him better than Hitler, who killed 50 million less, but they were "other people", right joe jr?

  14. Too bad the cases against Obama and Romney are even stronger.

  15. The problem with Newt is that he is NOT unique. And therein lies the problem.

    Ron Paul 2012

      1. I will vote for him either way.

  16. Not that I liked Newt before, but the way he casually talked about killing scientists in Iran to prevent them from developing a nuclear weapon really makes me think the man is insane.

    He also seems to come from that school that says "I'm a special person meant to lead others".

    1. Grow up, fool. At least he is willing to do something to stop Iran from going nuclear. These people are a clear and present danger to the world. Besides, the Isralies are already killing Iranian scientists.

      1. Right, the US is chosen by God to determine the rights of other nations.

        Iran has the same rights as any other sovereign nation to own nuclear weapons. It is the US that is more dangerous, that already goes into countries to open them up for our commercial interests.

        Fucking jingoist, you frighten me more than some mullah in Iran.

        1. let's say the mullah you find so cuddly decides to put A-jad's threats into action and a missile is launched. What then? Maybe the organizer-in-chief can arrange a beer summit with no pre-conditions.

          Yes, Iran has just as much "right" to nuclear weapons but I don't hear other countries that have them threatening to use them against specific targets.

          1. Yes, unlike the US which just sends in naive kids to tear up the countryside, rape women, label everyone a terrorist that is merely defending their country, cover up the atrocities and crimes and create enemies everywhere when we don't get our way.

            1. sounds like someone didn't like boot camp...

            2. Why the fuck to you live here?

              1. sorry..."do"...
                Why the fuck do you live here?

                1. Because dickheads like you are everywhere..no escape.

      2. JohnD always the dick, ready to send Americans to die for other countries. And spend our money on others.

      3. The foolish course would be to involve ourselves in other war. Allowing the FedGov to pursue perpetual war is the greatest gift that American voters gave to the institution that wants to enslave them.

    2. Not that I liked Newt before, but the way he casually talked about killing scientists in Iran to prevent them from developing a nuclear weapon really makes me think the man is insane.
      Just like McCain.

  17. from http://seculargop.com/

    Gingrich's Iowa Strategy- Bigotry

    "Have you ever met a black man who's smarter than you?" Decades ago this was a common slogan for segregationists and assorted hate groups- a fine example of calculated bigotry. All people tend to overestimate their own intelligence and in those days, social interactions between races were restricted. This was a way of calling a group stupid without being challenged or taking responsibility for the words.

    "How can you have judgment if you have no faith? How can I trust you with power if you don't pray?" This timelier example of calculated bigotry is courtesy of Newt Gingrich. Like most people, he often overestimates his own smarts and perhaps his moral standing. These were not misspoken words or a quote taken out of context; nor were they an isolated incident. Nonreligious Americans clearly have no place in a Gingrich Administration; in his mind they are immoral.

    Newt has a long history of ad-libbing himself into un- electability, but this was hardly "just Newt being Newt". While bashing "secular progressives" is widely accepted, particularly in GOP politics, it's always intended to include both leftist economic and social views. "Secular progressive" is merely another word for liberal. By declaring he would deny employment to one in six Americans based on our religious views, Gingrich has demonstrated ignorance and bigotry. The Republican Party believes in a fiscal meritocracy where one's ability and work ethic are criteria for success. If Gingrich believes our religion excludes us from public service - why should 50 million secular Americans, vote for him? Does Gingrich's latest religion prohibit political suicide?

    "How can you have judgment if you have no faith?" The willing suspension of disbelief and the acceptance of a higher power hardly necessitate good judgment. For example, excluding ninety percent of the world's elite scientist (who don't believe in a personal God) from public service demonstrates exceedingly poor judgment- perhaps the very same judgment that has lead Gingrich to three wives and two religions. Did faith compel Speaker Gingrich to impeach a sitting President of the United States over a sexual tryst while himself engaging in an extra-marital affair with a Congressional aide 23 years his junior? Anyone who claims that religion indicates good judgment needs to explain Jimmy Carter.

    "How can I trust you with power if you don't pray?" There are countless examples of secular individuals that were honorable leaders. They include at least three presidents, the author of the Constitution and two of the three richest men alive. Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Ethan Allen and John Adams were patriots who spent little time praying. I'd argue Bill Gates has done more good for humanity than the former Speaker.

    Newt's pattern of attacks against nonbelievers appears to be part of a political calculus intended to curry favor with religious conservatives. It is a slight of hand Iowa Caucus strategy for a desperately flawed candidate, who desperately needs a strong showing in the most undemocratic primary in American politics.

    While Mr. Gingrich is pandering to conservative Catholics and Evangelical Christians, some of his closest advisors and allies include Zionists who would derive vital political decisions from the Book of Revelation. I question judgment which factors the literal interpretation of Bronze Age myths into American foreign policy and entrusts power to those who welcome the end of days. Seneca once said, "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful." Unfortunately, his words ring true after two thousand years.

    1. Seneca once said, "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful." Unfortunately, his words ring true after two thousand years.

      I recalled reading this recently but didn't know who had said it. Thanks.

      That part about rulers finding/regarding religion as useful is so true. There are millions of Americans who say "God and country" as if the two are Siamese twins. That attitude is very useful to those who seek to rule.

      1. Randy is right!

  18. "The former House Speaker is not presidential material."
    True, contrary to popular opinion his is a fucking idiot. Which places him up there with Bush, Obama and many others.

  19. Very obvious 98% of comments are from left-wing loons. Newt has more finesse, graciousness & intellect in his pinkie than the felon currently leading your country. A leading psychiatrist in Chicago recently stated that Liberals are somewhat mentally ill ... more than obvious by a majority of the comments posted.

    1. Sheree, a bible thumpin' warmonger dickhead.

    2. The political spectrum is not a horizontal line. Most of the people on these comment threads are not properly categorized as "right" or "left" but rather libertarian. Stick around, you will be surprised.

    3. Deeply religious people are great fans of people who have divorced their spouses multiple times.

    4. If you stick around, you'll see that most of the people here are fairly hostile towards both left and right. Sometimes I have a hard time with that, but in this case, not so much. Newt has a history that tends to display him someone who is comfortable with government controlling much more of my life than I'm happy or comfortable with.

      I like much of what he says, but I'll almost certainly not vote for him in the primary. Though I'm having a very tough time figuring out if any of them deserve my vote.

      1. It's not written anywhere that you have to treat both parties equally. Defend the Republicans when they agree with you. That is if you can ignore the stench of torture and mass death.

  20. "The former House Speaker is not presidential material."

    Nobody who runs for president is presidential material.

    Up the paycheck.

    Offer $250 million/year.

    If you run a business and your managers are all morons, lunatics, and moron-lunatics, then you do yourself and the Jerry Springer Show a favor by offering a big check to attract more competent applicants for those positions and relieving the current managers of their positions so that they can go out and find more fulfilling careers in daytime TV.

    So, offer a quarter-billion a year to whoever wins the election, and we'll get some folks with brains willing to run.


    1. The president should be one of the highest paid people in the land. So let's cut CEO loot down from 1000 times the president's salary to half it.

  21. The Gingrich quote makes sense to me. Not a bad statement, especially considering it was made extemporaneously (and it compares well to some of the drivel others onstage have come up with).
    No less than former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor have pointed to the future public health costs of Alzheimer's disease and the importance of aggressive brain research. It's a shame that Mr. Chapman does not get this and feels free in his ignorance to ridicule it.

    It makes perfect sense that, having made much progress extending the lives of elderly sufferers of heart disease and cancer that we would discover that the surviving aged population suffers from debilitating diseases of other body systems. I applaud Gingrich for his vision.

  22. Im not sure why anyone at Reason would feel they need to make a case against Newt.

  23. Newt is as clueless as the rest of the GOP, and Obama and the Dems are right there with them. He's divorced two wives and is on his third -- for the sanctity of marriage no less! And he and the GOP have the weirdest idea that gay men are responsible for the single mothers and their babies clogging the social welfare rolls. He's also quite delusional that for fiscal probity he will outlaw, arrest, convict and incarcerate upwards of 10,000,000 gay men forever. He thinks that by quadrupling the prison population the nation will be saved. And so he aims to remove us from our homes, jobs and families -- and our oh, $500 billion in economic contribution to the nation, and spend $100s of billions to make sure no gay man ever walks the streets again. It is a police state vision of astounding proportions. Strangely, he (and Bachmann, Santorum, and the whack jobs at teh FRC, NOM, AFA, etc, in the alphabet soup of the NO GAYS! club,) will call this punishment. And we gay guys shall call it the strangest "Club Ted" ever devised by the folly of man.

    Frankly if any of these clods, save maybe for Gary Johnson, gets in, or Obama stays -- the nation will be in such ruin that ... well, I still can't imagine how terrible it will be.

  24. Newt has his chance in the 90's as House Speaker but he choked. Conventional wisdom was that he overreached, but I think his problem was that he was too timid in pushing a free market, small government agenda. Despite all the loud rhetoric, his budget differed from Clinton by perhaps a few percentage points; they were (as GOP and Dems are today) arguing over the rate of spending increase rather than real cuts. Even the slightest "cut" was enough to agitate entrenched spending interests, but conservatives were not going to mobilize for Newt for the sake of balancing the budget in nine years instead of twelve years. Yes, I distinctly remember that was what the great budget battle amounted to -- until a temporary capital gain revenue surge from the dot-com bubble took the heat off.

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  26. To bad Steve Chapman does not understand the true intellect that Newt Gingrich has. Newt is the first presidential candidate in my life time that has actually displayed indepth knowledge of domestic and international issues, with intelegent solutions.

  27. It makes perfect sense that, having made much progress extending the lives of elderly sufferers of heart disease and cancer that we would discover that the surviving aged population suffers from debilitating diseases of other body systems. I applaud Gingrich for his vision.

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