February 20th, 2013

Well, pigs fly…

…and I agree with Newt Gingrich here.

Anyone who followed the primaries knows I’m not a fan of Gingrich the candidate or the man. I’m not going to rehash those arguments; just do a search for his name on this blog if you’re interested, and the links will come up.

But I do sometimes agree with him. Although I think he’s a very bad and basically unappealing candidate for national office, with baggage that needs a truck to haul it around and little or no personal appeal, I admire his intelligence and his fighting spirit, two things that are needed on the conservative side (I would have added “his conservative principles,” but I think he compromised them too often in the last couple of years).

I’ve thought for quite some time that he’s needed not as a candidate but as some sort of idea-generator. He’s known for spinning off ideas, half of them half-baked and half excellent. Other people would need to sort out the wheat from the chaff, and Gingrich is difficult to work with. But I still think he can lend quite a bit to the rethinking that has to go on for the Republican Party to be vital in the future (note I don’t say “continue to be vital”).

[NOTE: Very shortly after the 2012 election, commenter “Gary Rosen” pointed out this post-election piece by Gingrich. I meant to write about it but never got around to mentioning it till now; I think it shows the proper spirit and I agree with virtually all of it.

However, I think the problem is much bigger than Gingrich addresses, and is deeply systemic and has nothing to do with the GOP and everything to do with American culture: education, press, entertainment, what I’ve come to think of as The Big Three. And it’s been going on for decades and really since early in the 20th century. If you want to, you can even trace it back further, because it has very deep roots.]

36 Responses to “Well, pigs fly…”

  1. oldflyer Says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head with Gingrich.

    Too bad that such talented people come with serious flaws.

    It would be nice if his brain could be transplanted to another personality. Or if his ego would let him take a “behind the scenes or advisory” position with a more attractive candidate, to feed ideas, and help her sort out the issues and stay focused. Not likely.

  2. southpaw Says:

    “This will be the work of six months not six days”
    So we should be hearing something in May…
    I agree with you Neo, the problem is much deeper than he acknowledges, with all the things you mentioned.
    He did forget one lesson I would add have added, that you will not agree with
    “we were wrong to nominate, and continue to nominate nice gentlemen weenies who try to appeal to the independents, but are actually democrats but like the attention they get pretending otherwise; nor will we refrain from slinging mud at our opponents in the general election while pursuing negative campaigning with reckless abandon in the primaries. And we won’t run 15 candidates, who are mostly dufuses with an occasional good idea”.

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    southpaw: well, I agree with your last sentence, anyway.

    Although not with your characterization of Romney. But we’ve fought that fight before; not interested in revisiting it at the moment.

  4. Ann Says:

    What leaps out at me from that article is that the “consultant class” is truly the scourge of our age.

    And not just in politics.

  5. southpaw Says:

    Neo – I don’t think Romney was as bad as McCain on the fighting back part, but he could have been more aggressive as he was in the primary. Agree with you it wouldnt have mattered to the outcome, but it would have made me feel better. Anyway we have a truce until 2016, unless you pull out a John Huntsman bumper sticker

  6. holmes Says:

    http://blogs.hbr.org/hill-lineback/2011/12/im-a-leader-not-a-manager.html

    That’s not quite the article I wanted, HBR had a better one on the difference between a manager and a leader, but I think Gingrich understood better that he was running to be a leader (even if a very flawed one), while Romney took the tact that he would be a better manager than Obama. I think that was one of the fatal flaws of the campaign.

  7. holmes Says:

    http://blogs.hbr.org/kotter/2013/01/management-is-still-not-leadership.html

    Found it!

  8. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    Gingrich hits the point but the cause is the fear amoung all representatives that they will lose their seat and have to go back to the humdrum life they lived before.

    We need to start this by reinstilling the idea that being a representative is at best a short term job, not a career. First we should encourage ourselves and the press to address them as Mr. or Ms. rather than Congressman, Senator, Secretary, etc. They work for us and are not above us. So we can then as Mr. Schumer why he is being such a schmuck.

  9. southpaw Says:

    I’m thinking one strategy for the Republicans could be pinch debating — put Michelle Malkin in for the next Republican, then sit back and watch the skin peel off the Democrat candidate. I’d pay a lot of money to watch a Malkin-Biden debate.

  10. G Joubert Says:

    Newt was at his pinnacle pre-1994, when he was both an “idea man” and a political bomb thrower, which led directly to the “Contract With America” and the Republican majority in Congress for the first time in about 5 decades. No small feat.

    But he was unsuited for the speakership and even more so for the presidency. He should’ve stayed with his strong suit.

  11. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Gingrich is, IMO, an example of Lincoln’s aphorism, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

    An out of the box, creative thinker, when he got some power (Speaker of the House) it was his undoing.

    Although I agree that neo’s Big Three are a huge obstacle to conservative candidates and the possibilities of stopping progressivism, I would be less hopeful if Obama had had a bigger edge in the popular vote. I believe that there is much in the way of using social media better, in getting out the vote, and in framing the issues in a way that don’t result in Republicans always having to defend themselves from the politics of personal destruction that would improve Republican election results.

    Too many people who might have voted Republican stayed home last election because they didn’t like Obama but were unconvinced that Romney was the answer. It boggles my mind as to how people arrive at those conclusions, but it is one of the facts of life that they do. It is also a fact that candidates must accept and try to overcome.

    It’s still my contention that there are about 60% of the people who are committed to being conservative or progressive. The deciding votes lie in the 40% who are “independents.” (I call them sheeple.) Most campaigns should be crafted to appeal to those people and to get them to the polls on election day. (As Obama’s was.) Both left and right have their purists who decry having to cater to the sheeple, but it is the facts of human nature that require it.

  12. expat Says:

    J.J.,
    I agree. I also think we need to encourage our people to work harder in constituencies where they are likely to have influence instead of going into primaries on a single issue. A Herman Cain probably could have helped us by talking economics in the black communities rather than displaying his foreign policy shortcomings on the national stage. We need more qualified people who will say I know what I am talking about in this area and I will contribute my expertise to the party.

    Neo is absolutely right about the cultural big three. All we can do there is look for cracks (like the WH press corps or Ben Carson’s criticism of PC) and try our best to widen them. The withholding tax increases and rising gas prices might offer some other opportunities. Anytime a bad Obama policy hits a constituency, we have to be ready to jump in and explain why his thinking isn’t working.

  13. parker Says:

    “What leaps out at me from that article is that the “consultant class” is truly the scourge of our age.

    And not just in politics.”

    Spot on. ‘Consultants’ are second only to lawyers in terms of their over abundance.

  14. Mike Says:

    “Although I think he’s a very bad and basically unappealing candidate for national office, with baggage that needs a truck to haul it around and little or no personal appeal…”

    How should we take that from a person who supported McCain and Romney?

    As it turns out, Gingrich, Palin, Santorum probably would have been better nominees than McCain and Romney. Sometimes I think you and Michael Medved drink at the same water fountain. You don’t like fighters – i.e people who could win. You like bland people who really can’t win for the sole reason that they absolutely refused to fight.

    The McCain experience should have been enough. The Romney experience can be nothing but total confirmation that people like Gingrich are the ones to support all the time and to the hilt.

    That is, if you want to win…..

    Which looms for our side, as far as I am concerned, as the only actual question: Do we really want to win. I am starting to think a lot of Rs really do not want to win. There is some whacky psycho thing going on, of the sort where there are people who are afraid of success (so they say).

    I am sure that when enough Rs decide they actually want to win, then we will win. Not until.

  15. Don Carlos Says:

    The demonization, outright lies and other demagoguery of BHO and his lieutenants is an assault that hardly anyone in the GOP has stomach for. Pacifists don’t win anything, and I’ll betcha that none of the GOP honchos have read Alinsky.
    Look at the sequester. In 2011 Obama was violently for it, now he’s violently against, and it’s all the dirty GOPs fault. With the present leadership by Boehner, McConnell, Graham, McCain, Cantor, and Rove, the GOP is doomed by self-immolation.

    At least Newt was a fighter; more corrupt in his personal life than Churchill (who was an amzing alcoholic, with a mistress), but both were grand fighters, great public motivators. Romney was the triumph of hope over experience, but I leave it at that.

  16. parker Says:

    The best possible fighter in 2012, IMO, was Cain but he was sideswiped with bimbo eruptions. 2008, Palin was the warrior but the mainstream republicans stabbed her in the back. Until we stop living in Hotel California we are dust.

  17. Mr. Frank Says:

    At some point we are going to have to deal with voter fraud by the Dems. The woman in Ohio (a poll watcher!) who is reported to have voted six times for Obama says it all.

  18. Gary Rosen Says:

    ” commenter “Gary Rosen” pointed out”

    Well, Gary Rosen is my real name so it’s amusing to see it in quotes. I have thought of going to an alias, though, I sometimes use “FOAF” (friend of a friend) in honor of an acquaintance of mine who was a classmate of BO at that fancy private school in Hawaii.

    As to the topic at hand while I share some of neo’s misgivings about Gingrich I wonder if it would have been better to have him as the nominee. I *don’t* think he would have won or even done as well as Romney because of his flaws but at least he would have taken on the MSM full-tilt. It sucks big-time that we live in a world where an awkward sip of water is considered more of a “career-ender” than banging underage prostitutes. It’s time we did something about it and it will probably take more than one election cycle.

  19. neo-neocon Says:

    Don Carlos: whatever are you talking about? Although there is disagreement on whether Churchill was an alcoholic (he drank constantly but watered it down), certainly it is very credible to say he was an alcoholic. But mistress? That’s not even been alleged, and no credible biographer has ever even suggested it as a possibility. Although there may be some weird website somewhere that says he had a mistress (probably every charge possible has been made by someone), I certainly couldn’t find one.

    He once said that writing was his mistress, but I hardly think that’s what you’re talking about. His wife Clementine is alleged to have had an affair, but even that is not at all certain. His mother most definitely did; she was rather famous for it. But Winston? No.

    Perhaps you are thinking of his grandson and namesake, who apparently did have an affair?

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    Mike: you should take it as realism.

    Gingrich would have lost in a landslide.

    And I liked neither McCain nor Romney as my favored candidates. I supported McCain once he was nominated, and I supported Romney as the best of a very weak field. Nothing whatsoever indicates that was wrong.

    I was very very disappointed that none of my preferred candidates even entered the race in 2012. You may also recall that, unlike many other bloggers and many pundits and prognosticators, I never indicated I felt optimistic that Romney would win. When everyone was saying Obama would be easy to beat, I said he would be hard to beat, and at best it would be close, and I was very nervous.

    But I have absolutely no regrets that I supported McCain once he was nominated, and that I supported Romney once the field was set and I saw who else was running. Anyone who thinks Gingrich had a chance is dreaming.

  21. Donnaturnmein2dafeds Says:

    Yeah, right.. Gingrich sucks cept this, and McCain also Limbaugh Palin Romney they all suck. I bet you voted for Obama at least once. Next time what say we don’t allow women to vote?

  22. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I like watching Gingrich and Coulter on talk shows because they absolutely refuse to let the questioner frame the point. As a spectator issue, it’s great fun. During one of the primary debates, a question was whether getting Obama would hurt our relations with Pakland. The others were cautious, worried, all the expected crap. Gingrich said, “We should be furious”. Great.
    Too bad he’s unelectable. Problem is that anybody the dems proclaim to be unelectable is made so by the MSM.
    As to culture, somebody said the swing vote is the people who can tell the Kardashian sisters apart, or know how many there are. Of course, any group could be the swing vote, but the point is the low-information, easily distracted, DWTS fans. There’s only so much time and thought in anybody’s week.
    Then there is the oprahfication of America, where emotion is a valid support for policy and rational thought is mean-spirited.
    I have no idea what to do about culture.

  23. expat Says:

    It’s nice to want a fighter in a campaign, but I also consider how the candidate would perform in office. The cultural changes identified by Neo are not likely to be brought about in the smallest way by a Gingrich. He angers people, causing them to dig in. Obama is more likely to affect the press than Gingrich because they are slowly beginning to realize how Obama has diminished them.

    BTW, I have nothing against the fighters. I just don’t think most of the ones we have seen recently can convince the public that they would be serious in office. Perhaps they were a factor in keeping more qualified people out of the race.

  24. Don Carlos Says:

    Neo-
    I disremember the source from years ago, but it was a “usually reliable” one which stated that Winston would visit his mistress ( a name was given) most mornings and consume a bottle of Pol Roger champagne while there; switching to brandy by afternoon.
    I remember the Pol Roger particularly, because it was also my wife’s favorite.

  25. Barbara Says:

    It’s interesting to hear someone who lived the majority of their life in a state of cluelessness attack someone else for their “baggage”. The non-pristine Gingrich has fought the good fight his entire life and therefore has at least earned my respect if not my vote. And though I supported the America’s Party candidate, I would have much preferred to have had Gingrich in the Fight-to-the-death we are currently in than the losers you have chosen to support.

  26. Ymarsakar Says:

    I don’t want fighters, I want killers. Closest was the LEft’s portrayal of wolf hunting polar bear killing Sarah Palin. Not nearly close to what is required in terms of hunting humans, but good enough at the time. But it won’t be good enough to get rid of the pollution in the US in the present or future. Not with what we have seen come to pass.

  27. neo-neocon Says:

    Don Carlos: the source is wrong. The situation is as I stated.

    Please find a reliable source that says something even remotely similar, and link to it. I don’t think you’ll be able to do it.

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    Donnaturnmein2dafeds:

    well, I can we can be absolutely certain you haven’t been doing much reading on this blog. The idea of me voting for Obama is one of the more humorous things I’ve read in a long, long time.

  29. artfldgr Says:

    Polaroid introduces the instant camera, February 21, 1947

  30. Don Carlos Says:

    I have unsuccessfully searched, Neo, and thus retract my charge that Winston had a mistress. The alcohol charge stands and is apparently not in dispute. Pol Roger was in fact his favorite champagne (see Wiki- Pol Roger).

  31. Mary B Says:

    Neo- thanks so much for your posts; you’ve been a favored read for a year. Please! would you post a piece enlarging your last paragraph re the Big Three, the history and your insights? I’ve thought it true, before your statement, but do not have data re roots and histories, and would love your commentary.

  32. Harold Says:

    Romney is a good guy.

    Romney however was a terrible candidate:
    –he is NOT a conservative;
    –he refused to attack Obama;
    –he couldn’t attack Obama on the main line of attack (ObamaCare) because of his own plan (RomneyCare);
    –he refused to attack on Benghazi, a clearly impeachable set of offenses and coverups;
    –he was incredibly disappointing in failing to implement GOTV and the necessary technology; etc. etc. etc.

    And what the campaign demonstrated most importantly was that choosing a candidate who was a saint didn’t stop the left/democrats from simply manufacturing scandals like Bain and killing cancer patients. So while Newt had real problems in his distant past the democrat attacks on him would not have been any worse and easily rebutted with his religious conversion.

    Ford, George H.W. Bush, Dole, McCain, Romney. Isn’t it time the Republicans pick a candidate who is a real conservative and isn’t terrified of attacking the democrats.

    Next time out chose a conservative and defend them.

  33. holmes Says:

    Barbara,

    As someone who has written his fair share of flaming comments long after I could blame the intemperance of youth, please read this:

    http://ace.mu.nu/archives/337754.php

    You’re welcome.

    H

  34. Barbara Says:

    holmes,

    There was nothing the least bit discourteous in my post. She attacked and I parried. Here’s one for you:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/02/20/as-country-club-republicans-link-up-with-the-democratic-ruling-class-millions-of-voters-are-orphaned/

    You’re welcome,

    B

  35. Holmes Says:

    I both read and enjoyed that piece.

    It doesn’t justify personal attacks on people who disagree with you.

  36. GG Says:

    People are now able to hook up to the fractal map even though they may not be area of the authentic party in which came up with fractal occasion. GG http://www.google.com

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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