The Randy Man, Resurgent
Watching the Rethug debate Live! From Iowa! with George Stephanopolis and The Lovely Diane Sawyer moderating. I've been in and out; surfed to watch La Povira ("The Octopus") on MHz Networks' 'International Mystery' for a while (Mafia soap-opera, in Italian), and went down the hall for a bag of M&M's (Tasty), and then came back to Ames, Iowa, and an audience of people who want, most of all, to turn America back -- to the values of Ronald Reagan, Ward Cleaver, and Cornelius Vanderbilt.
By the end of the debate, what I witnessed has essentially been what I expected: An overly-intellectual Newt versus a rambling, flustered Mittster.
There were a few odd comments from Raving Loon© Ron Paul, and Mssr. Le Gouvernour Placard Perry ("We need a part-time Congress"), with Crazy Lady telling us her family "are coupon-clippers, even today" -- proving she is in touch with the pain and uncertainty of "ordinary" Americans.
Why, even Newt said he lived above a gas station as a boy, and that his
I didn't see it, but heard later that the question was put to Newt about his past 'infidelities', and he took it head-on, saying, "I've made mistakes at times -- I'm also a 68-year-old grandfather and I think people have to measure what I do now."
I did see Stephanopolis hit Newt with another question, and he raised it with Raving Loon© Ron Paul first: Was Gingrich's comment yesterday, that the Palestinians were 'an invented people', incendiary?
When George got to Newt and asked the question, Gingrich took that head-on, too: No, he wasn't sorry; further, he said, "Somebody ought to have the courage to tell the truth. These people are terrorists." (Stephanopolis stared at Newt, mouth open, as if he'd just admitted being a nazi).
"Is [his statement] historically correct? Yes," The Randy Man said. "... the current administration tries to pressure the Israelis into a peace process. Hamas does not admit the right of Israel to exist and says publicly, 'not a single Jew will remain'... It's fundamentally time for somebody to have the guts to stand up and say, 'Enough lying about the Middle East.' "
Romney called Gingrich's comment about the Palestinians "reckless"; Mittster and The Randy-Man traded barbs for two minutes or so, and ABC let them -- this is, after all, what people came to their teevees to see.
This could have been Romney's moment to stop Gingrich's rise. You would expect that Mittzy's handlers had taken him through practice sessions in anticipation of such an opportunity -- and given his slipping in Rethug polls, that Romney should seize it with both hands. But to have done so, he would have had to be a completely different person.
Instead, like a man slipping on ice, arms cartwheeling for balance, Romney fumbled through a semi-coherent string of remarks. "As President, I will exercise sobriety," Romney sputtered (Newt replied in his trademark faux-academic manner that when he called the Palestinians an 'invented people', "I was speaking as a historian").
At at one point, Romney even said that Newt would agree that he (Gingrich) was wrong. Newt stood looking at the moderators, shaking his head (at one point in the exchange, ABC's camera's caught him winking at the audience -- presumably at his wife, or possibly at the next Mrs. Gingrich).
All he had to do to win was appear the more collected and reasonable, respond calmly but firmly, and Romney would come off looking like a chump. I'm paraphrasing, but Gingrich ended the exchange with something like, "It's time we told the truth about the situation in the Middle East," with a riposte to Romney, "And leave other explanations for the timid".
Ah; Mitt? That's Jenga.
So far, there have been no other major 'incidents' from Des Moines, but it's been amazingly painful, watching Romney flounder no matter what he's been asked. This was the "Newt Debate"; it was his to lose -- all he had to do was hold his own in a field of inconsequential, delusional, or religiously-fueled idiots. It's a no-brainer, in this line-up at the Cretin's Ball, who appeared the most 'Presidential'.
Barring some unforeseen occurrence, Gingrich very probably will be the Rethug candidate for President. He isn't the best they have; he's the only candidate they have.
Newt is a corrupt, serial adulterer who was once as tightly wired into the Washington power structure as a Speaker of the House can be. He whored as a lobbyist because there was money in it for him. He's lied about being a "historian"; wrote a turgid, unreadable novel about the Civil War (However, better than the dribbling, putrescent excuse for a "book" that was ghostwritten for Little Glenn Beck. Just two monkeys in a room with a typewriter could have crafted a better work than Glenny's 'The Overton Whatever').
Newt, rejected by the Mensa Society, wasn't smart enough to know that he couldn't screw whomever he wanted in Washington and not have it used against him: His previous political career was done in by his own Randy Antics, and his committing a breach of Congressional ethics; malfesance.
He is just smart enough to know what the Presidency is for Republicans -- and he wants it. It's a figurehead position, possessing certain kinds of power; in the end you're an elder statesman and set for life. Name in the history books; no matter what they said about you in Newsweek and rolling Stone, you were President Of The United States and will be called 'Mr. President' by everyone as an honorific from the moment you leave office -- all this, what Newt believes he should be destined for.
Newt always reminds me of a certain kind of smart kid in grade school -- the one who always sounds like he knows all the answers. The kid who expects to be appointed Hall Monitor, because Teacher lets him polish her apple. He gets the job, turns you in for some infraction and smirks at you when the teacher isn't looking -- and he never, ever seems to get a comeuppance, no matter what nasty shit he pulls. He's a manipulative, self-satisfied little prick, and always will be.
2012: The Talking Pestidental Candidate
But that isn't what frightens me about Gingrich. It's that he can talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. He sounds as if he has all the answers. In politics, that's often all it takes.
Obama is intelligent, too; he speaks well. His background is in Constitutional law, and can probably hold his own in debates with Ol' Newt. But if the economy takes a nose-dive because Little Angela wants her Austerity, past a certain point no one will listen to what Obama says. People will tune him out; in their minds, he got it wrong, and is to blame, which will only be half true.
And, as I don't feel most Americans give a rat's ass about whether they live in a Democratic Republic or Corporate Fascist state so long as they have ESPN and their cars, I'm concerned that who talks good will be all they'll care about rolling into the 2012 election. That, and the Democrats just seem too hesitant, too namby-pamby, too much the Victim, to really want to win, compromised by feeding from the same trough of money as the Republicans.
It won't matter if Obama dredges up bin Laden and orders him killed, again. It won't matter that he tried to reach a Grand Budget/Debt Bargain and the Rethugs are the bad guys. In the public's tiny mind, Newt won't have Obama's baggage -- and suddenly (after Little Rupert's idiot factory repeats things over and over and over and over...), Newt will begin to sound so smart; Ahhh; let's give him a chance, people will say. They're all crooks; we don't have any power, anyway; who cares... doesn't matter...
As their final statement, Stephanopolis asked the candidates to answer the question Is it possible for all of you on stage to work together? And who on stage tonight can you compliment and why? Newt thanked a role-model governor, and tipped his hat to Ron Paul's supporters ("They're always there with signs...freezing in the cold"). Crazy Lady, living up to her name, talked about Herman Cain. Ricky Santorum talked about Newt, remembering that he listened in the 1990's to a set of cassette tapes of Gingrich's speeches (sold by selfsame Gingrich productions, no doubt).
Romney just answered it by saying we'reatacrossroads and Americaneedsintegrity and that I'mthebestchoice -- and ignored Stephanopolis' question entirely. That, and the expression on his face while he was doing it; brain shorting out, his language wandering, convoluted -- a man rising to the level of his own incompetence, on national television.
It was another painful moment, like watching someone soil themselves in public, knowing they are only dimly aware they have boo-booed in their shorts in front of a live audience. In a panic, already fading in Rethug polls going into this debate, Romney repeated whatever closing speech he'd memorized because, unlike Gingrich, Romney is almost incapable of thinking on his feet.
ABC's commentators, post-debate, are giving Gingrich a win; "He's the one to beat", says Jake Tapper -- so, it has to be true.
Oh, and after final statements, there was a commercial ABC aired for some company selling "reverse mortgages" for "Persons 62 and older". Former Rethug candidate Fred Thompson was the pitchman; how fitting for a right-wing presidential debate.
And that's the Republican party: Cretins, pols, and former candidates hawking financial products benefiting private business (Why hang on to that big house? Get cash now, the financial security that you need in uncertain times!).
(I want to repeat a few points I'd made in a post about The Randy Man from August, 2010:)
Please pay attention to this part, because it will be on the final: If, despite plentiful evidence about his character, Newt still becomes one of the GOP front-runners (if not their candidate) for President in 2012 -- then I would become very, very afraid.
Look: ... The "recovery" has stalled. The Republicans in Congress will do nothing, and the Democrats can't seem to do the right thing because they've sold their soul to the Fed and the Banksters. Communities are laying off teachers, firefighters, police; roads are being plowed back to gravel; they're talking about doing away with Social Security and Medicare -- and [As of August, 2010, when I wrote this] no one is out in the streets raising their voices about any of it.
The possibility of a Gingrich Presidency would be as bad as Lil' Boots Bush (the only difference is, Gingrich has a better command of spoken English) -- but if such a thing ever becomes possible, it will be because -- even with clear evidence of what kind of man he is -- it would not matter to voters.
It would be more proof (if you needed it, that is) that the game is rigged; the fix is in; that it's Chinatown -- and that Americans will prefer government by sociopaths; and proof that the lowest common denominator in this country will have suddenly fallen to depths unimaginable even twenty years ago.
If you want to stop and consider that for a moment, it's what many thinking Germans must have felt when their country mutated into something clearly and unmistakably malignant, right in front of their eyes.
And That's Jenga.