Newt Gingrich

Before Newt Gingrich Can Beat Mitt Romney (or Obama), He'll Have to Beat Himself

The most interesting political race this presidential election season may just be Newt Gingrich versus himself.

|

The most interesting political race this presidential election season may just be Newt Gingrich versus himself.

There is clearly a faction within the Republican Party looking for an alternative to Mitt Romney, for whatever reason, and Mr. Gingrich is the latest to capture their attention. Two polls out over the weekend showed Mr. Gingrich leading the Republicans in Iowa, where the caucuses are a month away. Another recent poll showed him leading in South Carolina, an early primary state.

I've been watching Mr. Gingrich for a long time now—I first saw him in action in person back in 1995, when I covered for the Los Angeles Times a visit that the then-Speaker of the House made to the Reagan Library. That durability is something to consider in thinking about Mr. Gingrich.

Americans tend to like voting for presidents who have been on the national scene for a long time, or at least presidents whose families have been. It's somehow reassuring, compared with entrusting the presidency to a newcomer. Newt Gingrich's first two unsuccessful congressional races, in 1974 and 1976, and his first successful congressional race, in 1978, took place when Barack Obama was 13, 15, and 17. In other words, Mr. Gingrich had run three congressional races as a candidate, and won one, before Mr. Obama had even finished high school. Mr. Gingrich is so old that his big, groundbreaking technological innovation as a Republican political organizer was training would-be-candidates by mailing them audio cassette tapes.

Audio cassette tapes. They were cutting-edge, at the time.

There's a fine line, in other words, between durability and datedness, as Republicans learned with the candidacies of Robert Dole and John McCain. Mr. Gingrich, who was born June 17, 1943, is slightly older than the baby boom generation, but he can display some of the worst of its tendency to self-absorption; I know at least one person who arrived at small-group meeting with Mr. Gingrich expecting to be asked his opinion, or at least to have an exchange of views, only to leave annoyed that nearly every word spoken in an hourlong session had come from Mr. Gingrich's own mouth. Not for nothing did Charles Krauthammer write the other day that "Gingrich has a self-regard so immense that it rivals Obama's."

There are other ways in which Obama and Gingrich, though separated by age, are similar. Both were born to teen mothers—Stanley Ann Dunham was 18 when Obama was born, while Mr. Gingrich's mother Kathleen was just 16 or 17 when she had Newt. And both boys were estranged from their fathers. Newt's biological father, Big Newt McPherson, gave up his son for adoption by Kathleen's new husband in exchange for forgiveness of four months of overdue child support payments, according to a 1996 PBS Frontline program. Barack Obama's father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., didn't put his son up for adoption, but he wasn't particularly present as a father, either, moving back to Africa when his American son was three.

I spent part of last week calling some of Mr. Gingrich's former colleagues, asking them whether they plan to vote for him, and whether they'd trust him with his finger on the nuclear button.

One said no, citing his "delusions of grandeur" and his tendency to be "seized by fads and fancies." Another said yes, while acknowledging that Mr. Gingrich "knows he comes up with a lot of ideas," and suggesting that a successful Gingrich administration would best include a secretary of state and national security adviser with the stature to say "no" to Mr. Gingrich. The risk with Mr. Gingrich, this former colleague said, would be "a big decision that might be wrong." Mr. Gingrich would likely avoid, this source said, however, the risk posed by some of the other candidates, of a continued slow decline in American self-confidence.

If that national self-confidence is in need of renewal, consider this: two sons of divorced teen mothers who were more or less abandoned by their fathers are now the incumbent Democratic president of the United States and the Republican challenger who is leading Iowa and South Carolina polls. America has its problems, and it may be that Mr. Romney, who comes from a more conventional family background, would make a better president than either Mr. Obama or Mr. Gingrich. For all America's challenges, though, as a land of opportunity, our country is hard to beat.

NEXT: Obama's 'Innovative, Compassionate, and Evidence-Based Drug Policies'

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I couldn’t decide if this was hilarious, or a nightmare. Then I realized it’s both:

    Ladies and gentlemen, let’s have a round of applause for President Titties.

  2. One said no, citing his “delusions of grandeur” and his tendency to be “seized by fads and fancies.” Another said yes, while acknowledging that Mr. Gingrich “knows he comes up with a lot of ideas,” and suggesting that a successful Gingrich administration would best include a secretary of state and national security adviser with the stature to say “no” to Mr. Gingrich.

    So they both said the same thing, except the second person assumed that a strong advisor could fix Newt’s issues. Nice.

    Why is this guy getting any traction. He’s a blowhard that knows nothing of the true position of government in society nor how to command it.

    1. …a strong advisor could fix Newt’s issues.

      Like the woman who marries a terrible man thinking she can change him, I’m going to vote for Newt hoping his staff will handle him? No thanks.

    2. People are trying to decide which candidate they hate the least. Romney isn’t it, so they cast about for alternatives.

      One of these remaining jokers is going to be president.

  3. “He’ll have to beat himself.”

    Let’s make this thread one for the record books, guys.

    1. Considering the guy’s marital record, no, he probably doesn’t have to do that. That what office staff are for.

      1. Newt is the office staff.

  4. What will he tell us next time?

  5. I see Lucy has been giving tutorials in the art of alt-text.

    1. Linnekin had some awesome alt-text. The guest was better than the regulars in that regard.

      1. I think his last article had some alt-text but I was too distracted by lobster girl to notice.

  6. is he about to shoot Force Lightning from his fingers?

    1. That look reminds me more of Evil from Time Bandits.

      1. When I have the map, I will be free, and the world will be different, because I have understanding.

    2. Speaking of Force Lightning, he’s not the only presidential candidate to employ it. There is. . .another.

  7. Look, now that he’s a “frontrunner”, it’s more important than ever that the alt-text read “Newt is short for Newcular Titties.” What, are you worried that he’ll retaliate with nuclear means if elected? Sure, that’s likely, but that’s the kind of sacrifice we expect from libertarian journalists.

    1. It’s “Neut”

  8. Mr. Gingrich is so old that his big, groundbreaking technological innovation as a Republican political organizer was training would-be-candidates by mailing them audio cassette tapes.

    Mr. Gingrich is so old, when he sits around the House, he sits AROUND the House. While plotting the best way to implement an individual mandate.

  9. That is one creepy photo.

    1. Are you Pip or someone else?

    2. Every photo of Newt is creepy. He’s a creep.

  10. “Big Newt McPherson”

    I can’t even think of a joke to go with that…

  11. it may be that Mr. Romney, who comes from a more conventional family background, would make a better president than either Mr. Obama or Mr. Gingrich.
    —————————
    while not advocating any candidate, how can Obama possibly be the most favorable of any option? His handiwork is clear and the current state, particularly of hte economy, is no accident. This is what transformational change looks like. I don’t know if anyone from the Repub side would be better but I am hard pressed to imagine someone being worse.

    1. Because someone like Newt could do everything Obama has, except completely insane stuff as well. He’s a big government conservative like Bush, only his ego is far beyond even Obama’s, he’s always convinced he’s right.

      And then, like Bush, once he’s expanded government to massive levels, he’ll be accused of not spending enough or deregulating too much (just like happened with Bush), even though he did the exact opposite.

      Not to mention, ramp up the drug war even more. As if we don’t have enough people in jail.

      1. Now that all of America is a battlefield, we just put up some concertina wire around the edges and everyone is in jail.

  12. Any article here that quotes Kraphammer is highly suspicious. The smug and smirky Charles’ self-regard equals or excels that of Noot the Hoot.

    But I really like the generalization that we ‘baby boomers’ have a tendency to self-absorption. That brought a good guffaw.

    I have no idea as to how old Riggs is, but there will come a day when he too will not understand the technology of the day, and perhaps self-absorbed.

    And I just love the psycho-babble about them being separated from their paters early in life. Does that make me similar to Barry and Hoot?

    The point is that both Hoot and Barry are run-of-the-mill statists and age and family circumstances have nothing to do with that.

    So,just what is the point of Rigg’s screed: ‘Our’ country is hard to beat?

    1. So,just what is the point of Rigg’s screed: ‘Our’ country is hard to beat?
      ——————————–
      it’s the new bumper sticker: “we suck less than everyone else with a popularly elected govt.” Pretty inspiring stuff, don’t you think. Or maybe he’s being sarcastic and the real point is we’re hard to beat for self-inflicted stupidity.

    2. So,just what is the point of Rigg’s screed: ‘Our’ country is hard to beat?

      It’s a celebration of broken families, making something bad into a virtue. Sorta like the whole “noble savage” thing.

    3. Any article here that quotes Kraphammer is highly suspicious

      Especially when it comes to commenting about potential RP nominees. The establishment hates Newtie and Charlie K. is one of their mouthpieces.

      Didn’t Charlie declare early on that the nominee would be either Romney, Pawlenty or (some third guy who was a gov who never threw his hat into the ring)?

  13. Americans tend to like voting for presidents who have been on the national scene for a long time, or at least presidents whose families have been.

    Like Barack Obama for example?

    1. Carter…Reagan….Clinton….bush II….voters hate establishment…and generally congressmen. Obama was the first legislator to be elected in almost 40 years.

      1. Bush Sr. did two terms in Congress.

        1. Beat me to it. He was also head of the CIA, which means he killed people with his bare teeth. Or he was appointed to clean it up after Church–can’t remember which.

          1. Give Bush Sr. his due: he was a fighter pilot in the Pacific. I seem to recall he even managed to survive getting shot down.

            1. I actually like him a little better in retrospect.

        2. He wasn’t a sitting legislator when elected. Obama is the first sitting member of Congress to be elected president since the 19th Century, I believe. LBJ was elected vice-president from the Senate, not president.

          1. Well, let’s hope America has learned an important lesson.

            1. That were fucked whether we elect legislators or governors?

              1. That’s the other important lesson.

              2. So…Gillespie/Welch?

          2. JFK was a sitting Senator/

          3. I believe JFK was a sitting Senator when elected President.

            1. Oops, forgot about Mr. Camelot Hair.

      2. Republicans might perhaps be more inclined toward the “old hands”, but it looks to me like the democrats will go with whoever the cool, hip new guy seems to be. Obama and Clinton were both relatively young men who were almost completely unknown to most of the country at the time they got elected.

        1. the democrats will go with whoever the cool, hip new guy seems to be most convincing liar is

          1. That, too.

      3. Carter…Reagan….Clinton….bush II….voters hate establishment

        … or they like Governors.

        The Bushes are pretty darn establishmenty.

  14. Rothbardian dubstep. (warning: sounds a bit like trance)

    http://blogs.laweekly.com/west…..print=true

    1. YouTube link for Porter Robinson:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEGyTTaRpj0

      Gonna hafta research this guy. After listening to the above track, there may be more wiggy goodness to unearth.

      1. Yep… more goodness:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..re=related

          1. Nice try, but I don’t link to NRO.

            1. Porter =/= Peter

  15. Sorry, not Riggs – Stoll

  16. Newt vs Romney vs Obama…pick one of these three candidates tax slaves…they are all good americans, but you can pick any of these three you want.

  17. Good idea bro, very nice to reading your opinion. Keep your spirits to continue writing good article
    http://www.gasas.com.es/
    Gasas

  18. Magnificent post, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector do not notice this. You must continue your writing. I’m confident, you have a huge readers’ base already!
    http://www.guantesdevinilo.es/
    Guantes de vinilo

  19. lets talk about the advantages and disadvantages that these three good candidates have over one another..that would be a good topic for all serious American journalists to focus on.

  20. Newt Gingrich’s first two unsuccessful congressional races, in 1974 and 1976, and his first successful congressional race, in 1978, took place when Barack Obama was 13, 15, and 17. In other words, Mr. Gingrich had run three congressional races as a candidate, and won one, before Mr. Obama had even finished high school.

    Newt is so old that his first congressional races involved him going to black churches in Georgia to drum up votes, because he was running against a segregationist Democrat.

    1. Not a joke at all, BTW. Jack Flynt was his opponent in 1974 and 1976, a segregationist Democrat, so Newt ran as a progressive on race and environmental issues and a reform candidate.

      1. Well people like that Re-Form. Maybe we should get us some?

    2. I’m pretty sure he was the little freckled kid in the tree outside the Appomattox Court House when Lee surrendered.

      1. Nah, he’s a carpetbagging Yankee.

        1. And that little boy, that nobody liked… grew up to be… Jason Godesky.

          Aaaaand now you know… the rrrrrrrrrrrrest of the story.

        2. He looks like an elderly, overweight Boo Radley.

  21. Newt is like Obama? Not hardly.

    One difference is that Obama was raised by his grandmother while his mother was running around playing at being a revolutionary.

    Americans tend to like voting for presidents who have been on the national scene for a long time, or at least presidents whose families have been.

    Due to a mix of the importance of name recognition and a desire to have a leader selected from the WWII generation.

    Expect the voters to prefer younger candidates now so as to avoid electing more 60s generation losers.

  22. So, basically, we’re doomed.

    Yeah, I can buy that.

  23. You’re forgeting about Ron Paul… with Cain gone he got many of his original supporters…

    1. Who? The crazy uncle?

      1. “Crazy husband and father” just doesn’t have that same ring, does it, Chuck?

        Newt is more likely to evoke the dirty old uncle image.

        1. Dirty grandfather’s-brother (great uncle? I can never remember).

      2. Or Rand Paul, the crazy cousin.

        Where does Gary Johnson fit in?

        1. Where does Gary Johnson fit in?

          Nowhere. Even the emo kids wouldn’t let him into their clique.

  24. Meet Silvie – a crazy, lanky, fun girl from Prague who lives life to the maximum.

    Silvie is the ultimate free-spirit and not one to follow the rules! For example, you may have noticed Silvie prefers a more natural look. She tells us that she loves her bush, and says it makes her feel like a lioness; raw and animalistic. Silvie’s lifestyle reflects her unconventional personality, not only is she bisexual she is also a naturist.

    She has a typical fashion models body: long skinny arms, long legs and a petite structure but she still has a full bust and curves – which is very rare, a rare gem you could say. All blessings from her mother apparently!

    Nothing is taboo when it comes to Silvie!

    1. Newt’s fourth wife?

      1. Yes, he’s bouncing Czechs.

      2. Seriously, what the heck is this bot? It doesn’t even have a link!

        1. Which may sound like I’m stupid enough to click on such a link…

    2. How’s she doing in the polls?

  25. You take someone who is the very definition of political lizard and he gets press all over the place – good, bad, it’s all the same. If this is the caliber of human being anyone thinks is fit to hold the most powerful office on earth, then God help us.

    1. Newt, salamander, lizard, chamelion, whatever…

  26. So, what’s been up in the world lately? I got lost in Skyrim…

    1. I may end up voting there.

      1. The candidates would probably be more interesting…

    2. Dragons burned down San Francisco, and there’s a new bounty on some bandits living in a cave near Chicago. Other than that, not much.

  27. Rick Perry is a modern-day Pericles compared to Newt. Please come back Rick. All is forgiven! No debate performance could possibly be as damaging as all of Newt’s baggage.

    1. And you can stop counting at two. We won’t pressure you.

  28. HYLP160287N6I’ve already bookmark this article. Thanks for posting!UGG5803 Leopard Print UGG Boot is one of the best sellers in winter. uggs australia uk It is designed based on the concept of mixing slight sexuality with cuteness. It is best suitable for slim or smart girls, and can show off their slimmed figures nicely. Uggs Classic Cardy Boots 5819 Outlet Stores Leopard Print UGG short boot is the most popular one in autumn/winter 2011 and is appreciated by all sexual ladies. No matter what age, it always has its place in fashion world, Classic Mini Ugg Boots and serves as one of essential decorations of the fashion people. This overbearing Leopard Print UGG short boot is easy to match with black jeans and short trench coat to show the bold and unrestrained style. UK Uggs Classic Mini Mens Boots 5854 Outlet If you are an introverted lady, you can try it to change your dress style. http://www.uggsbootsuk2011.com

  29. Each election cycle, it gets worse. With Obama, we elected an empty-suit/cypher for president who gives good teleprompter.

    Now we are soo desperate to replace this son-of-a-james-earl-carter we are considering a Newt? Newts are lizards. Does this one say ‘Nie!’? This lizard is smarter than a teleprompter. OK?

    Why is Ron Paul not at the top of the heap?

    1. Why is Ron Paul not at the top of the heap?

      he is – the ash heap

      1. That is why we are so damn beat.

  30. Obama and Gingrich are alike in other ways too. Like they’re both Professor-of-Moochology-cum-politicians who haven’t had a real job in DECADES. Ah, the Republic at twilight…

    1. The presidency isn’t a real job…

      1. Its a real job in the same sense as running Goldman Sachs. Or being Candice Swanepoel, she works hard too I’m sure. Very busy. Steve Job’s old job is another example.

        But in the sense of busting your ass ten hours a day on someone else’s schedule for someone else’s dime – much less risking your own financial ass running a business – then no, none of what I just listed are ‘real’ jobs.

        Besides Tony, how the heck would you know the difference? I’m sure you think ‘student’ is a job.

  31. A good case for Newt might go something along the lines of:

    Newt Gingrich Mocks President Obama-Hilarious!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BQ6I4bdzGQ&

    Also, got the following one in one of those chain emails:

    “As an American, I am not so shocked that Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize without any accomplishments to his name. America gave him the White House, based on the same credentials.” -Newt Gingrich

    Also, search #5 Nastiest U.S. Presidential Elections in History

    Lincoln vs. Douglas, 1860

    Yep, even Abraham Lincoln was dealt his share of crap. But he was pretty good at dealing it too. Although it’s normal ? and expected ? for candidates to stump across the country in any little small town that will have them, but in 1860 it was considered a little tacky. Stephen Douglas chose this tactic anyway, but claimed that he was really just taking a leisurely train ride from D.C. to New York to visit his mom. Lincoln and his supporters took note of the fact that it took him over a month to get there and even put out a “Lost Child” handbill that said he “Left Washington, D.C. some time in July, to go home to his mother? who is very anxious about him. Seen in Philadelphia, New York City, Hartford, Conn., and at a clambake in Rhode Island. Answers to the name Little Giant. Talks a great deal, very loud, always about himself.” ‘Little Giant’ was a potshot at Douglas’ height ? he was only 5?4?. He was also said to be “about five feet nothing in height and about the same in diameter the other way.”

    Douglas took aim at Lincoln, too, saying he was a “horrid-looking wretch, sooty and scoundrelly in aspect, a cross between the nutmeg dealer, the horse-swapper and the nightman.” Another good one? “Lincoln is the leanest, lankest, most ungainly mass of legs and arms and hatchet face ever strung on a single frame.”
    http://tinyurl.com/3xwuqg

    Also, we can just “Churchill” the former Speaker from the WH after he saves us from Obammunism. At 73 I’m sure Newt won’t mind getting started on his presidential library after all the adulation we give him when he steps down to make way for the future he helped put us back on the correct path to.

    Fact: The establishment on both sides chased Newt out of town – that very establishment from both sides of the aisle more than doubled the debt in the absence of Speaker Gingrich controlling the purse strings. In just 12 years that very establishment more than doubled debt.

  32. I can remember during the middle of the Obama presidency on a conservative website, someone counted the number of times the president said the word “I,” calling him out for his ego, even multiple times pointing out what a narcissist he was, even going to the point of classifying him that way using the DSM IV.

    Funnily enough, conservatives are going to get one of the most narcissistic team red blow-hards I’ve ever seen to challenge the equally self-important blow-hard Obama.

    I can just imagine the presidential debates now. Two preening, self-absorbed wind bags blowing out a whole lot of hot air and empty rhetoric.

    I suppose the empty rhetoric won’t be anything new. But I gotta say, at least Bush Jr. and Kerry seemed to be trying to put on a show of humility.

    The false political promises and meaningless words take on a whole new bitter taste when coming from these two egos.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.