Feder: Newt’s the One

A reader sent an impassioned, sometimes amusing column by Don Feder defending Gingrich. I wrote back to him:

It seems to me Feder is fighting the tide, trying to dismiss, one after another, all the well founded criticisms of Gingrich as though they meant nothing.

Feder quotes Gingrich:

“I have two grandchildren—Maggie is 11, Robert is 9, I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”

That sounds impressive, right? What major U.S. politician speaks of Islam that way? But I don’t think it means ANYTHING. Why? I’ve told the story at VFR how a few years ago I read a ten page letter by Gingrich (which unfortunately I didn’t keep) that he had written on behalf of some women’s organization. The letter was about the Islam threat. The first half of it was written in words of fire, speaking about what a terrible, horrible, unprecedented, mortal threat Islam represents. Then in the second half of the letter he got down to his business: he was advocating, as the way of meeting this terrible, horrible, unprecedented, mortal threat of radical Islam, that we develop programs in Muslim countries to empower Muslim women by helping them get involved in democracy building.

That was it.

There was no connection between his extreme, passionate words of warning, and the actual thing he was proposing.

This is why I can’t take him seriously, especially when he sounds good, whether on Islam or on any issue. As I said a couple of weeks ago, the more impressive, intelligent, and conservative Gingrich’s statements sound, the less meaning and reality they actually have. Or, as the recent NR editorial put it, he combines incendiary rhetoric with irresolute action, bringing Republicans all the political costs of a hardline position without actually taking one.

Feder also writes:

As the nominee, Romney would be a replay of Dole in 1996 and McCain in 2008—the establishment forcing a well-credentialed RINO on a cringing party base. After 5 years of running for president, the former Mass. governor elicits moderate yawns and 75% of the party saying anyone-but-Mitt, please! For Obama to be defeated next year, the GOP’s conservative grassroots will have to be on fire. Romney couldn’t do it with a flamethrower and napalm.

That’s a very inapt comparison. Dole and McCain were brain dead. Romney is the smartest man in national politics in memory. Gingrich, by the way, has never struck me as intelligent per se; he strikes me as a man who throws out stuff.

The real question is: who is more likely to win. Can Feder plausibly argue that Gingrich is more likely to win than Romney?

Not that I’m not supporting Romney. I support Bachmann, who also has serious flaws, but remains the best candidate in the race.

- end of initial entry -

Carol Iannone writes:

You are so right about Gingrich not necessarily being that smart. He always has an answer for things, so people think he’s smart. But take his response to Romney about Romney laying off employees. It was the WRONG answer, but since G came back quickly, it can look good as a matter of debate, that he always has a quick comeback. But it was playing the CLASS WARFARE card, which the Dems are always doing and which is hurting our country and which Reps are trying mightily to oppose and to educate the country out of!

People have said that Gingrich will misstep somehow, do something to sabotage himself, To my mind, this was it, a cheap shot using class warfare, trying to arouse resentment against a successful businessman who also happens to be a fellow Republican. And how did Gingrich make his money? Sponging off government.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 15, 2011 09:54 AM | Send

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