January 31, 2012

Metaphysical Musings Upon the Cosmic Newtonian Doom

Hatched by Dafydd

I am completely convinced that, should Newt Gingrich do so well in the remaining primaries that it becomes clear he will be the nominee, then both Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney will bow out and clear the decks for Newt's general campaign against Barack H. Obama. In fact, both of them would unhesitatingly campaign on behalf of Gingrich, in the urgent necessity to evict the occupier from la Casa Blanca.

Why? Because both Romney and Santorum are team players who recognize the most important goal is winning -- not picking who gets to be team captain.

But if, perchance -- per very likely chance -- it's Mitt Romney who does so well that after Super Tuesday, it becomes crystal clear that he is going to have sufficient delegates for nomination... I have no confidence whatsoever that Newt Gingrich would concede. On the contrary, I believe Newt would fight on, his attacks on Romney growing more and more vicious as Gingrich becomes more and more desperate.

I believe Newt would fight right up to the convention, and would then make a desperate bid to armtwist delegates into defecting, at least to force a brokered convention. I believe Newt would barnstorm the country, giving impassioned speeches about how evil, dishonest, rich, and corrupt Mitt Romney is (while virutally ignoring Obama), doing his durndest to damage Romney's brand enough that, in Newt's imagination, Romney's delegates realize Mitt can no longer win (now that Newt has so traduced him) -- so they may as well jump ship to the Gingrich campaign. It's Newt or nothing!

Newt's followers will see this as exhilarating, yet more proof that he must be nominated: "Only Newt has the guts to take the fight to Obama, bringing a Newtron bomb to the gunfight at the B.O. Corral, hounding the Occupier in Chief at every stop, willing to say or do anything to win. Why, in the face of Newt's relentless ferocity, surely Obama will drop out of the race in metaphysical terror!"

Of course, those who are not his followers will more likely see the refusal to accept the will of the voters as obsession verging on madness.

In fact, even after the convention, if Romney is nevertheless nominated, I cannot see Gingrich ever campaigning for his rival. Rather, I more easily see Newt, like Teddy Roosevelt, announcing a third-party bid for the presidency -- and with similar results: "I cannot let down all those intrepid, true conservatives who believe in me. We will fight on, and we will win! And even if we don't, at least we will have held true to our sacred principles, which is far more important than mere winning!"

And what if that third-party effort splits the Republican vote, just as it did in 1912, allowing Obama to "Wilson" his way into a second term with a minority of the vote? Well, so mote it be; can't make an omlet without breaking a few legs.

Why do I think this? Because I am convinced that Newt Gingrich sees himself as a rebel with a cause, a holy crusade that transcends all earthly politics: the recreation of the Republican Party and the conservative movement in Newt's own image.

In that sense, he is very like the One he seeks to supplant, seeing himself primarily as a transformative figure in world history, and only secondarily as a Republican. His catachismic incantation of those acts of greatness he will surely perform in his first hundred days is grandiose and more than faintly ludicrous; his skin stretches as thin as Obama's, perhaps thinner; Newt sees himself as the smartest guy in every room, whose ranging brilliance untethers him from party, ideology, principle, and internal consistency. He is large; he contains multitudes. Newt Gingrich stands beyond conservatism and liberalism, beyond Right and Left, beyond good and evil.

Newt is Nietzschean, the mouth of destiny. And if thwarted, he could decide to pull the temple down upon all our heads, to punish Mankind for snubbing its messiah. Now it's personal!

I did not form these musings before he jumped into the race; I've always rather liked him, especially because of his science-fiction connection. I was enthusiastic when first he decared.

But his cosmic campaign comprised little but cataclysmic explosions and excessive CGI. Just as when I watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, I was driven by the frenzied roller-coaster ride (who wants to ride a roller coaster for weeks without cessation?) to this conclusion: Newt Gingrich is our Barack Obama.

I hope that, unlike their Barack Obama, Newt returns to sanity and realizes that, especially with the trouncing in Florida, he simply cannot win the nomination. Why? Because it is increasingly clear that Newt could only win the general in the unlikely event that Obama so alienates himself from the entire electorate, even from his own wretched, corrupt party, that the Republican nominee essentially runs unopposed.

We may hope for such a turn of events, but hoping for the best of all worlds is not a viable electoral strategy. Better to nominate someone who has demonstrated not only ferocity but also gravitas, who is not a scrappy, fist-fightin' rebel (with or without) but is instead presidential. That generally works much better for Republican nominees.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 31, 2012, at the time of 5:50 PM

Comments

The following hissed in response by: snochasr

Doesn't your Romney-wins scenario also depend on Romney demonstrating SOME level of conservative instinct, or an incontrovertibly bold plan for APPEARING conservative?

I don't share your fears, yet, about Newt, but I have noticed that Romney has yet to distance himself from Romneycare, and just yesterday promised that he would take money from defense to "fund Obamacare." His health care adviser says Obamacare will not be repealed. Mitt's website says he will grant waivers to all 50 states but as we know, those are only good for a year and do NOT cover private plans, nor do they eliminate the billions in Medicare cuts and new taxes. Looks like a HUGE Achilles' heel to me.

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 31, 2012 6:46 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Snochasr:

Mitt Romney is not my ideal candidate. I really don't know if my ideal candidate exists; if I could reach into the box of all humans legally qualified for the presidency, I don't even know who I would pick.

However, I can't do that, and neither can you. We must choose among (a) those who choose to run and are on the ballot in enough states to be likely to win (preferably all Heinz 57 of them) -- because nobody is ever going to win the job of POTUS as a write-in -- and also (b) who have a snowball's chance in a million actually to garner enough votes in enough states to cross that magic threshold of 270 votes.

That means we can forget about Ron Paul and focus on one of three men: Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum.

Of those three, it is clear to me that, although Romney is not my ideal candidate, the other two are even less ideal than the former governor.

Romney's continued committment to RomneyCare (but not to ObamaCare, which he has certainly pledged to repeal) may well be "a HUGE Achilles' heel." But every other candidate has more and even huger Achilles' heels, including Barack Obama himself: the corrupt stimulous giveaways, huge unemployment, massive overspending and deficits, Fast and Furious, kow-towing to the lunatic enviros, hatred of American-produced energy, and yes, ObamaCare -- the real Obamacare!

Gingrich has so much baggage it's unlikely he would take even as many EVs as John McCain did in 2008. And he would singlehandedly transform the election from a referendum on Obama's incompetence and socialist leanings to a referendum on Newt's flighty grandiosity and fickle policymongering. If that is the choice, I'm quite certain Obama gets a second term.

Santorum seems like a good conservative candidate, but he has never managed to catch fire. He fought Romney to a tie in Iowa, but that was to a large extent because Santorum had virtually lived in Iowa for the previous year. He was crushed in New Hampshire and has been a distant third ever since. Also, his highest public office has been U.S. Senator -- one of 100. He has no executive experience at all.

I thought that Romney was the most electable of the batch running long before polls came out buttressing my own analysis; I still think so today, even apart from those polls. Since the most overriding imperative is to get the Occupier out of la Casa Blanca, "electability" weighs very heavily in my Buckleyan calculation.

If I though Santorum had any reasonable chance of winning, I would probably support him over Romney. But I don't, so -- I don't.

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 31, 2012 9:48 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E

Dafydd-

His [Newt’s] catachismic incantation of those acts of greatness he will surely perform in his first hundred days is grandiose and more than faintly ludicrous…

If you watched his speech this evening, you know his acts of greatness will be performed in the first few hours of the Gingrichian era. The words grandiose and ludicrous are totally inadequate.

And say, didn’t he once steal Christmas?

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 31, 2012 11:07 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Dick E:

I understand that time itself is greatly compressed in the presence of an enormous black hole. <G>

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 31, 2012 11:18 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bart Johnson

Point 1:
Winners never quit,
Quitters never win.

Point 2:
There will be votes at the conference, a winner will be chosen.

Point 3:
Every conservative I know would volunteer to support Ron Paul if he is the chosen candidate.

Point 4:
Iran, armed with a nuclear bomb, is less of a threat to this Country than Obama in a second term.

The above hissed in response by: Bart Johnson [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 2, 2012 10:11 PM

The following hissed in response by: Baggi

I like Newt Gingrich and I think you're right about how supporters like me would perceive such a move.

However, I don't put as much faith in politicians and their words.

I think you've been sold a bill of goods on Newt that has no basis in fact. You've bought into the Republican media spin on Newt.

I hope when Newt proves you wrong on this, that you'll reevaluate how you were played by the Hugh Hewitt's and the Michael Medveds and the Romney campaign.

The above hissed in response by: Baggi [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 4, 2012 11:32 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Baggi:

My evaluation of Gingrich, and his incapacity for the discipline necessary to defeat the combined force of delusional grandeur, wishful thinking, and vast corruption that is Barack Obama and his army of darkness, is based entirely upon my own observations over the past 22 or 23 years, going back into the beginning of the Bush-41 era, when Newt was elected Minority Leader of the House. The fact that many others have come to the same conclusion doesn't imply hand-puppetry.

Newt Gingrich has a great capacity for genius -- and for distraction. When Newt is distracted, which is most of the time, he hares off in all four directions at once, littering the ground with the broken thoughts and half-baked schemes of a born technocrat. He's out to save the world, man! Nothing less is worthy of his attention span.

It is easy, I suppose, to reject out of hand all criticism of Newt by proclaiming the critics to be mindless drones swayed by the dreaded Republican establishmentarian spin machine. Having dismissed us, you needn't bother responding to the charges.

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 4, 2012 12:53 PM

The following hissed in response by: Baggi

I never bother responding to baseless accusations/charges. If someone makes an actual argument supported by facts, then there is a reason to respond.

But if someone contradicts themselves in such a small space, it almost seems silly to respond.

I did not form these musings before he jumped into the race;
My evaluation of Gingrich, and his incapacity for the discipline necessary to defeat the combined force of delusional grandeur, wishful thinking, and vast corruption that is Barack Obama and his army of darkness, is based entirely upon my own observations over the past 22 or 23 years, going back into the beginning of the Bush-41 era,

Uh huh.

The above hissed in response by: Baggi [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 5, 2012 7:25 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Baggi:

You see those two statements as contradictory? Why?

They refer to different subjects: The length of time I've followed Gingrich's career with great interest -- and the moment I finally decided that he was a catastrophe as a candidate and would be a prescription for disaster as president.

Newt was a spectacularly successful revolutionary; I was overjoyed when he took down Jim Wright on (accurate and damning) ethics charges. I was a huge supporter of his Contract with America, and I was very impressed by the fact that he really did call a vote on every provision he had promised to put to a vote.

But he turned out to be a mediocre Speaker; he was unable to forge consensus, not only with Democrats but even with other Republicans. After a couple of years, his abilities deteriorated, and he became a distinct liability to the very causes he championed.

(Best example, Newt's remark that he expected Medicare's administrative bureaucracy -- the Health Care Financing Administration -- to "wither away" when seniors finally had the option of market-based health care. The phrase "wither away" was perfectly tailored to allow the Democrats to demagogue the issue, proclaiming, falsely but effectively, that Gingrich and the GOP wanted Medicare itself to wither away, as opposed to the agency that administered it in the manner customary in out of control bureaucracies with no effective oversight.

(The false meme that Republicans wanted to do away with Medicare scared the bojangles out of millions of senior citizens -- a demographic that votes all out of proportion to their numbers. Had Newt Gingrich been a little more deft at making clear what he meant, a little more careful with his words and less prone to violent and revolutionary imagery, we might have had a chance to implement the crown jewel of conservatism: Actually eliminating an "entitlement" program!

(But it was not to be. And that phrase, "wither away," might have been responsible for the abject failure of Republicans to offer private options for those currently on Medicare.)

Following an abortive coup and a bad midterm election result in 1998, Gingrich not only resigned as Speaker, he resigned from the House entirely, angrily calling his fellow Republicans "cannibals." Still I defended him, though I had to make the same caveat I later made for GWB: Newt generally does the right thing, but he cannot, for the life of him, explain that to the American people. (I could have added, "and he's as thin-skinned as an onion and has a fiery temper that's never more than ten degrees shy of Vesuvian eruption;" but I held my tongue on that part.)

He didn't actually run in 2008 (or before), so I never had a chance to see what kind of a POTUS candidate he was until this election; this election, when he announced he was jumping in, I was excited; I hoped that he had learned discipline with maturity, would think twice before speaking, had long since outgrown his penchant for operating at 1,000 revelations per minute, and had steeled himself not to let his anger leap up his throat and throttle his brain.

Now, alas, after seeing him in action, it's clear that his fecklessness and short attention span was not the fault of his relative youth or the unwieldy nature of a body of 435 members; it is rather a deeply seated character flaw in Newt himself. I'm disappointed and impatient for him to fade away, without dragging the obvious nominee this year, Mitt Romney, through every mudhole and cesspool in the lower 48, thus making Romney easy pickin's for Obama's Magic Hate Ball.

I am saddened but driven to the conclusion, based upon the entirety of his career, that Gingrich is not a natural believer in individualism, in liberty, or in Capitalism; he is a natural meritocrat, believing that, by dint of his obvious superiority to the rest of us, he is better able to run our lives than we ourselves are.

In that sense, Gingrich is very like Barack Obama. I would of course much prefer to live under the kind of tyranny Gingrich would impose (were he POTUS) than the kind of tyranny Obama is already imposing; but best would be not to live under any form of tyranny at all. As Friend Lee says, "having an occasional good king doesn't mean it's good to have kings."

Baggi, I believe your boosterism for Gingrich has blinded you to a perfectly legitimate and reasonable conclusion that former Newters like me can draw from Gingrich's performance in positions of authority and responsibility since the heady days following Ronald Reagan's retirement.

Anent Gingrich -- via his nemesis who became his chum (at bit too chummy) -- it's time for him to go.

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 5, 2012 9:12 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Folks:

By the way, I personally devoutly wish Medicare itself would wither away. Or better yet, be torn out of the American soil root and branch! And while we've got a good head of steam, let's pour out Medicare's corpulent babies, Medicaid and Social Security, with the rancid bathwater of unsustainable "entitlement."

But I'm savvy enough to realize that an elected official can never enunciate such a plan without destroying any hope of implementing it. You cannot destroy Medicare by shouting "Medicare delenda est!" It must be infiltrated, subverted, transformed into a monstrosity that all will reject, and only then defunded by a thousand cuts.

And of course, the politician must never announce that strategy publicly, for heaven's sake.

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 5, 2012 9:25 PM

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