Thursday, January 19, 2012
“South Carolina in the Revolutionary War had a young 13-year old named Andrew Jackson. He was sabered by a British officer and wore a scar his whole life. Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear-cut idea about America’s enemies: Kill them,” Newt Gingrich expounded to a standing ovation and thunderous applause at Monday night’s Republican Party presidential debate in South Carolina.
The Daily Beast described the line as “a killer rhetorical blow.”
Fox News political pollster analyst Frank Luntz called it “the best line of the entire debate. Those kinds of statements are what propelled Gingrich to the leader of the pack back in December, until Mitt Romney’s super PAC took him down. I think you’ll see some movement from this debate.”
“Gingrich’s performance was epic,” gushed The Daily Caller website in a story headlined Newt delivers potentially game-changing performance. “It very well may have been the single best performance during any debate in the current cycle.”
“[A] dazzling success that drew an unprecedented standing ovation and could propel him back into close contention for the nomination,” declared Newsmax.com. By Tuesday afternoon, Gingrich's performance was receiving kudos from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, who admitted to jumping out of his chair on several occasions while watching.
“It was everything that the establishment Republicans don’t want to hear and don’t want to see,” said Limbaugh. (Yes and probably a majority of the general electorate as well, I think.) “I have to say I think it was the best debate yet. It was Newt’s night, but they all did well,” Limbaugh concluded. “Obama doesn’t stand a prayer, if Newt were the nominee . . . in the debates.”
Most Republicans, especially the bible thumping evangelical Christians amongst us, just love to watch and listen to their political Authority screaming and banging the podium while dishing up raw red rhetorical meat about killing our enemies and waging endless wars. That always brings them to their feet accompanied by loud cheers, shrill whistles, and wild applause. Newt Gingrich knows exactly how to serve it up to them.
The same ravenous crowd hissed and booed the libertarian candidate, Rep. Dr. Ron Paul, when he implored his Party to bring the troops home, dismantle the 900 or so military bases abroad, stop all the mindless killings and endless wars.
Many Americans today – predominately evangelical right-wing Republicans -- are downright bloodthirsty when it comes to perceived and imagined enemies of what they think of as our “exceptional” nation. It’s the reason why the United States of America is so utterly despised and reviled by rational people all around the world.
America’s war mongers have forgotten the hard lessons of Vietnam and all the other murderous killing fields in our shameful militaristic historical past.
Newt Gingrich, especially, calls himself a devout Christian, and so do most, of not all, of his admirers, yet they are so quick to forget the central message of their own God, and his alleged representative on Earth, Jesus Christ, who reportedly exhorted God’s commandment: “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex: 20) and said, “Ye have heard that it has been said: Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matt: 5)
“Kill them,” proclaims Newt, and the crowd goes wild. “No, we must find a way to stop the killing,” reasons Dr. Paul, and the crowd cat-calls him. They don’t want peace; they want war! They want to spend America’s blood and treasure on killing adventures all over the globe.
And while we’re at it, let’s have the poor children, especially the black skinned ones, picking up after their more fortunate peers at school while the rich ones look down at them, play football, and otherwise enjoy their leisure time, opines the Newt.
Asked by debate moderator Juan Williams whether he could understand why his comments that “black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps” and that “poor kids lack a strong work ethic” and perhaps should “work as janitors in their schools” were insulting to African-Americans, Gingrich dismissed the notion out of hand. “No, I don’t see that,” he said smugly, again to wild applause.
You see, that’s Newt’s solution to the flagging economy: put the black school children to work in their schools instead of the unionized janitors. The crowd loved it. “Well, first of all, Juan, the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history,” Gingrich declared, to more thunderous applause. “… It just lit up the audience, and they continued to applaud right into the commercial break,” said Luntz:
Gee, I don’t agree much with Barack Obama’s economic policies either, but I surely didn’t know that one of his responsibilities was to put people on food stamps. I thought that policy was formulated long before Obama became president, and there have been plenty of people on food stamps ever since, with Republican and Democrat presidents alike.
Hey, I always like to give credit when credit is due, and the truth of the matter is that Newt Gingrich is a pretty good debater – a lousy leader; poor candidate, mean spirited, and unlikable human being -- but a pretty good debater. That’s about as far as his political attributes go. He might possibly best Barack Obama in a one on one policy wonk style debate but Barack Obama would make mince meat out of Newt Gingrich in a general presidential election.
Newt Gingrich is simply not electable. He was recently described, and I think rightly, accurately, and humorously so, by one Republican Party pundit as: “an angry little attack muffin.”
He came in a distant fourth in the Iowa caucuses and fifth out of a field of six in the New Hampshire primary race, yet now, after just one admittedly decent debate performance in South Carolina, he has the nerve to urge his fellow rivals, Rick Santorum (who beat him in both contests) and Rick Perry, to get out of the race so that he can become the so-called conservative alternative to front runner Mitt Romney.
"So I am respectful that Rick has every right to run as long as he feels that's what he should do, but from the stand point of the conservative movement, consolidating into a Gingrich candidacy would in fact virtually guarantee a victory on Saturday," Gingrich boasted in Florence S.C. after the debate. "And I'd be delighted if either Perry or Santorum wanted to do that."
Gingrich added that the reason conservatives should coalesce around him and not Santorum is because he knows how to design a national campaign. "I actually know how to set up a conservative alternative to Obama in a way that will be very, very effective and very strategic. And I don't think Santorum can do any of that. Again, it's not because he isn't a nice guy. He doesn't have any of the knowledge for how to do something like this."
According to Newt, nobody has much knowledge about anything except him.
"I'm a friend of Newt's, he's a good man, but the idea that someone who is 0 and 2 in races is that I am hurting him. Yeah I'm hurting him. I'm beating him. That's the difference," Santorum retorted.
For once, Rick Santorum has said something I can agree with. Newt Gingrich is great at the job of throwing raw meat to the ravenous crowds. He’s not so great at being a leader or even getting himself elected.