Predictably, that bastion of sober, probing and reasonable analysis, The Washington Post (more on my relationship with that rag here, here and here) has surveyed our political moment and is ready to offer up some insight.
To wit, the admittedly astonishing (though not improbable, considering how Republicans have now cycled through every possible alternative to Romney) ascension of Newt Gingrich. (Put another way: it wasn’t until Herman Cain –a man with no legislative experience to start with– quintupled-down (and counting) on Gary Hart and watched his ludicrous campaign implode from every angle, that Newt got his momentum. Stop and think about this: until Cain made it all but impossible to vote for him, he was the guy the base was ready to get behind. So Newt should be at once grateful and humble; the party did not come around…the music stopped and he was the last guy dancing.)
As if on cue, the headline in today’s paper declares: Newt Gingrich as president could turn the White House into an ideas factory.
Yeah, a bad ideas factory.
Nuggets like these, for instance:
“What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks. “That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”
“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works, so they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday…They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash’ unless it’s illegal.”
(Kid janitors) “would be dramatically less expensive than unionized janitors…(child labor laws are) truly stupid.”
That’s just three of the more egregious “ideas” Newt has floated. And that is just from this year. If we roll the videotape –and you can bet Romney will begin to do just that– we’ll have a dossier that is equal parts amusing and appalling; hysterical in many senses of the word.
More on this, later; but I don’t think people need to get their panties in a bunch about this blowhard: Romney is reading the polls and the only thing more dangerous than a desperate man without a soul is a wealthy desperate man without a soul. The attack ads will direct themselves. And that is before we acknowledge that Newt’s worst enemy is himself, so I for one am salivating at the myriad ways he can (and will) savage himself on the national stage in the weeks ahead.
But the one thing that needs to be nailed down: Yes, Newt is an idea man. And virtually all of his ideas are regressive, far-fetched or ill-advised. He has not proposed feeding mayo to tuna fish yet, but I’m sure he has some amazing insights he can’t wait to share with a wondrous world. Stenographers at The Post: get your pens out.