Newt: The Ultimate Blowhard

Sometime in the summer or fall of 2006 Newt Gingrich delivered very strong remarks in New Hampshire about the threat of terrorism and the draconian measures our society must take against it. He made it sound as though he was prepared to turn our society into a hyper-security state in order to suppress extremist Islam. The comments were widely circulated on the conservative Web, with lots of people saying that Gingrich was the man to be president,

Because he seemed to understand
What it’s like to be
In a society
With sharia on your hands.

(apologies to Bob Dylan)

Gingrich has continued with these themes up to the present. On July 18, 2007, the AP reported:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich charges that the United States has been waging a weak and “phony war since 9/11” and continues to lose ground to radical Islam.

In a speech to the annual conference of Christians United for Israel, Gingrich charged that instead of fighting to win, President Bush is now pursuing appeasement through a proposed Mideast peace conference.

Comparing that to the attempted appeasement of Nazi Germany at Munich before World War Two, Gingrich said, “We don’t have a peace process. We have a surrender process.”

Gingrich said the United States and Western civilization are in a global conflict with radical Islam, and must choose between victory and surrender.

Gingrich also says repeatedly that the jihadists and terrorists are “evil” and that we must treat them accordingly.

Ok, then, according to Winston S. Gingrich, what would a “real” war, not a “phony war” (or, as Churchill himself called it, a “Twilight War”), against these “evil” people consist of?

Gingrich gave an idea in an immensely long letter he wrote a couple of months ago for the Independent Women’s Forum (no link). The letter began by striking the same notes as in his New Hampshire talk and his speech to the Christians United For Israel: ultimate danger, ultimate war, victory or death, the whole schmear. But then, after two or three pages of this martial build-up, Gingrich launched into the main purpose of the letter, which was to promote a program to reduce Muslim extremism by (you couldn’t make this up) empowering Muslim women and getting them interested in democracy.

So, we’re facing “evil” (a word Gingrich seems to use more than Bush has ever done), we’re facing the greatest danger in our history, we’re facing remorseless enemies out to destroy us, we must bend all our energies to meet this challenge, and the way to meet it is to fund democracy programs for Muslim females.

Moreover he didn’t say that the empowerment of women was, say, a secondary policy backing up the war against jihadism; his message was that the empowerment of women was the principal way to defeat jihadism.

As a female correspondent of mine has pointed out, people don’t seem to understand that every attempt we make to separate or liberate Muslim women from Muslim men only makes the Muslim men angrier at us.

In any event, the new Gingrich is the old Gingrich, and worse than before—the Gingrich who wakes up every morning on fire with a new ten-point plan to reform the world which you hear about once and never again; the Gingrich who (here’s just one example) in early summer 1998 urgently announced that Republicans must talk continually about the Lewinsky scandal, and then he never mentioned the subject again; the man who is all mouth, no character.

However, notwithstanding his blowhard qualities, Gingrich is not without an ideological constant, namely his devotion to global democratism. His declamations about “war” must be seen in that light.

And it goes without saying that for all his fulminations about the Islamic menace, he says not a word about reducing Muslim immigration or removing the more dangerous Muslims from our midst.

- end of initial entry -

Alex K. writes:

Here is the only time Gingrich has remotely addressed Muslim immigration that I am aware of, when Malkin asked him about it directly.

The interview was in March. His sharp rejection of stopping visas from select countries makes him weaker than the mainstream conservative pundits who have recently endorsed or flirted with such a move, as well as with restricting Muslim immigration altogether. (and his point that terrorists exist everywhere only dodges that latter point about what they have in common) He responds to a question about the student visas of the Saudi 9/11 hijackers by reaffirming the need to bring in students and workers from everywhere for our own economic good and just put our faith in good government to weed out those rare bad eggs.

And pretty sad he didn’t know enough—in March 2007!—to shoot down the matricula consular on the spot. Never mind family reunification, etc.


He’s a super-Bush: “We’re at war, we’re at war, we’re at war to the death! Let them in, let them in, let them in!”

He truly is a mouth with nothing else there. The louder and more urgent and the more important-sounding his statements, the less he’s saying.

Maureen C. writes:

Re: “As a female correspondent of mine has pointed out, people don’t seem to understand that every attempt we make to separate or liberate Muslim women from Muslim men only makes the Muslim men angrier at us. ”

Who cares if Muslim men get angrier at us? The angrier they get, the better: Maybe their uncivilized angers and prejudices and intolerances will become so obvious that even Liberals can’t ignore them. So, if a policy of supporting Muslim feminism enrages Muslim men—if it’s the trip wire that exposes their aggression—I say, “make it happen.”

LA replies:

Well, what is Maureen saying? Is she saying that our strategy must be to mess up, break up, and transform the entire Muslim mindset and culture? Because if she is, that would require a Norman Podhoretz-like military takeover of seven—or rather of all fifty-seven—Muslim countries, which we would then have to dominate at least to the degree that Kemal Ataturk dominated Turkey in order to uproot their customs and replace them by different customs.

If Maureen is not talking about such a thorough re-making of Islam, then her aim to make Muslims angrier at us accomplishes nothing but only makes them more troublesome and dangerous to us.

This is why my separationist strategy does not involve threatening Muslims in their Muslim essence, but rather saying to them: “We have nothing against you, but the reality is that as Muslims you are incompatible with and extremely dangerous to us. For our own safety, we must remove you from our lands and keep you in your own lands. We don’t like your religion, but we accept the fact that it exists. We accept the fact that you are Muslims and want to live as Muslims. Our only aim is to take away your ability to threaten us or to affect us in any way at all.”

This is infinitely less insulting than the Bush approach of constantly telling Muslims that their religion is a religion of peace, which the Muslims know is not true and so they despise Bush for saying it. I accept Muslims for what they are, even as I say that we must put them where they cannot hurt us. Bush does the opposite: he insults the Muslims by ignoring what they are, while putting them among us (and putting us among them) where they can hurt us.

From the point of view of my strategy, insulting them by saying that their religion is a religion of peace,—which is actually a demand that they behave as if it were a religion of peace—and insulting them by telling them that their sexual customs are no good, only makes things worse. I don’t want them stirred up against us. I want them pacified, so that they will accept being confined, as I have put it, to narrow quarters on this globe.

Van Wijk writes:

I have to say that I do not think Maureen’s take on this is in conflict with yours (and I welcome her reply if I am off the mark). I’ve read at VFR that it would be far better for the Moslems to keep acting aggressively so that we may all see how incompatible they are with us than it would be for them to simmer down and calmly outbreed us or pass Sharia law the “democratic” way.

Maureen sees the liberalizing of Moslem women as a way to keep the momentum of this insane jihad going, so that eventually we will finally have had enough as a country and can implement the doctrine of Separationism that you advocate. But such a doctrine is nowhere near implementation at the present, so you and Maureen are really talking about two different points in time. She was speaking of our relationship with the Moslems as it is now, and not as she would have it. As I myself have said several times, it is going to take many, many deaths before the West awakens to the danger it is in.

LA replies:
The Muslims are already “acting out” sufficiently to make the point for us. We do not need deliberately to provoke them more. Yes, the West is far from waking up, and, as I’ve written many times, the Muslim threat must get much worse before the West wakes up if it ever wakes up. But that is not the same as saying that we should do things to make their behavior worse so that our side will wake up sooner.

This gives a new meaning to Jesus’ saying, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” He meant, don’t multiply cares and worries beyond what already faces you. The new meaning, which I would use in response to those who urge a “Worse is better” politics, is that WE don’t need to make things worse. They will get plenty worse on their own. For us deliberately to intervene in events in the hope of making the other side behave even worse, in order to get our side to wake up and oppose the other side, is to try to act as gods—and not good gods either, but as divine agents provocateurs.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 01, 2007 07:00 PM | Send

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