Load up on popcorn: The Republican ticket may be poised to go to 11. According to numerous reports,
But first I should come clean. I like Gingrich. My wife worked for him for several years. Whatever his faults, the former House speaker -- and architect of the "Republican Revolution" in 1994 -- is a brilliant man with almost encyclopedic knowledge of political history and a grab bag of other topics as well. When
I should also say that picking Gingrich could be a brilliant idea. Trump has said, admirably, that he wants someone who knows how
Over roughly the same period, I have to say, Gingrich foreshadowed Trumpism. In the 1990s, he used talk radio much the way Trump has exploited social media to get his message past the gatekeepers. In 2012, Gingrich leveraged the debates to dominate the news cycle like a force of nature, attacking -- often with devastating efficacy -- the presumptions and arrogance of the media.
Trump has made it clear that he's more interested in winning over disaffected Democrats than reluctant conservatives. Gingrich beat him to the punch there, too. Gingrich masterminded much of the
Next to forecasting that bears will continue to use our national woodlands as latrines, the easiest prediction in the world to make is that Trump will say some outlandish things in the months to come. Gingrich's job will be to explain why the outlandish isn't outlandish.
For argument's sake, let's say Trump announces that we should abolish the question mark. Gingrich will then appear on "Meet the Press" to defend his running mate, as any VP candidate must.
"Frankly, Chuck," he'll begin. (Gingrich likes to begin his sentences with "Frankly.") And then we will get a very frank master's course on how, frankly, in the age of emojis, the question mark is a waste of vital national resources. Moreover, he will explain, frankly, that the mainstream media's scorn for this idea just shows how out of touch they are with the concerns of everyday Americans.
Then, on Monday, Trump will say, "Question marks? I love question marks. I meant we should abolish semicolons." And Gingrich will be there, standing alone, atop a rhetorical cloud castle of his own devising, holding the bag.
It gets better. Gingrich suffers from an intellectual version of Trump's political Tourette syndrome. The difference is that Gingrich can almost always offer a plausible -- or seemingly plausible -- defense for every crazy idea, from moon colonies and mirrors in space (to create 24 hours of electricity-free daylight) to claiming that a woman who drowned her kids proved that people needed to vote Republican.
While I'm sure the presumptive