Thursday, June 15, 2006

Gingrich, Sliced and Diced

There's been some noise out there about Newt Gingrich as a Presidential contender. Granted, most of the noise has been made by Newt and perhaps one or two others--but Newtie managed to find a few friends in Minnesota last week.

Frankly, I've never liked the guy; he's double-crossed Conservatives enough so that his name could be...oh...Frist. And I'm not alone:

Gingrich is the Republicans' Bill Clinton. Being a Republican, Gingrich is not as vacuous as the Arkansas huckster, nor as amusing. In fact, he can be boring.

...He prides himself on being an intellectual, by which he means being a policy wonk. This is another of his fantasies; he confuses wonkiness with learnedness and wisdom. This is a fantasy he shares with Clinton.

I once heard an English gentleman, fresh from bathing in Clinton's radiance, confide to the great British historian Paul Johnson that Clinton is "so intelligent." "Not intelligent," Johnson responded, "cunning." The word encapsulates Gingrich's thought process perfectly. Yet again, Gingrich is a Republican. He is not quite as cunning as Clinton. In fact, whenever he found himself up against Clinton, he was bested by the Boy President.

When all the brag and bounce of Gingrich's intellectual pretense is anesthetized, and the corpus of his intellectual work is subjected to scholarly analysis, what do we see? An eternal graduate student at a mediocre state university has been playing with bits and pieces of the large ideas of Milton Friedman and like-minded political scientists, for instance Edward Banfield. Down the hall is Bill Clinton. The bits and pieces that he plays with are those of Ira Magaziner or Robert B. Reich. Gingrich is a more adventuresome graduate student.

There's more at the link, but I didn't think you'd need all of it to understand The Problem with Newt.

No comments: