Jewish World Review Jan 25, 2012/ 1 Shevat, 5772
Newt Gingrich Is Angry
By Roger Simon
He is not the best-looking guy in Republican race or the best-funded or the most ideologically pure. But he has found his shtick, and he is shticking to it.
Newt Gingrich is the angriest man in America.
Mitt Romney will tell you that Barack Obama is a "nice guy" but that he is "in over his head."
Newt Gingrich will tell you Barack Obama is "the most radical and most incompetent president in our lifetime!"
Obama is more than incompetent, in fact. To Newt, he is a moron. "It's one thing to say the White House can't play chess, it's another to say it can't play checkers," Newt says, and pauses like the professional he is for the laugh to build. "But tic-tac-toe?"
But Obama is more than stupid. He is dangerous. This is important to keep in mind.
The Gingrich campaign is based on the notion of perpetual struggle against perpetual peril.
"How many of you believe the left will fight us every step of the way even after we win?" Gingrich asks the crowd.
The next day, Gingrich will win the South Carolina primary. But he already knows that will happen. That is a given. Just like his nomination and election. But even that will not be enough to silence the "secular socialists" who oppose him from the left.
The "left" is a broad category to Gingrich. It includes liberals, socialists, anti-religious bigots — i.e., Democrats — most of the media, some misguided Republicans and, well, anybody who opposes Newt Gingrich.
"We knew there'd be attacks, and the closer we were to winning the more ferocious the attacks would be," Gingrich says.
John King of CNN, who asked Gingrich in a debate Thursday night whether he had ever asked his second wife for an "open" marriage, is part of the ferocious attack machine that seeks to thwart Gingrich.
Gingrich has called this "despicable," and now he calls it "grotesque."
"Is the American news media just totally out of touch with reality?" he asks reporters after the rally. "You want to say: Get a life! There is a consistent pattern year after year that the American people are sick of the behavior of the news media. Sick!"
Anger, umbrage and bitterness are so much a part of Gingrich's public persona that he likes to attack the very concept of happiness.
Gingrich, like other candidates for the Republican nomination, has a fondness for quoting the Founding Fathers, but he now says that when they wrote "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence, it did not mean what we think it means.
"Happiness in the 18th century meant wisdom and virtue, not hedonism," Gingrich says without a scintilla of embarrassment, even though he, himself, has pursued a fair amount of hedonism in his lifetime.
"And they promised us the right to pursue," Gingrich continues. "There is no provision for a Department of Happiness. They issued no happiness stamps. And if you said that you were going to take happiness from some and distribute it to others, the Founding Fathers would have asked by what right?"
So if we don't have happiness to look forward to, what does Gingrich offer?
Work. Effort. Struggle.
"Work is something you need ," Gingrich says. "I don't think it's inappropriate for a 12- or 13-year-old to push a mop. We have the finest food stamp president in American history. I want to be the finest paycheck president in history.
"We will never give somebody 99 weeks of money for doing nothing!"
The crowd cheers its approval. Imagine people getting unemployment benefits for 99 weeks. For doing nothing! The average weekly unemployment benefit in America in 2010 was about $295, which is hardly a princely sum. But if people faced actual starvation instead of getting food stamps and unemployment insurance, wouldn't this be a better country? As long as you had a job, that is.
There are now three Republican contenders with gold medals: Rick Santorum (Iowa), Mitt Romney (New Hampshire) and Newt Gingrich (South Carolina).
But Gingrich is unworried about Santorum and unworried about Ron Paul, who has yet to win anywhere. Only Mitt has the money and organization to beat him, Gingrich believes, but Romney will fail because Romney's speeches are filled with optimism and other infantile notions.
Americans don't want sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. They want blood, toil, tears and sweat. They want a dependably gloomy man in the Oval Office. They want Newt!
And he believes they will elect him come November.
"It will shock the country," Newt says. "It will shock the world. And shock is what we need."
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© 2009, Creators Syndicate