In yesterday’s entry
, “Gingrich vs. Romney,” I said Gingrich was too unstable to be elected president. One reader wrote: “You say Obama is stable yet Gingrich eminently unstable. You provide no examples of instability.” Another said: “What makes Newt Gingrich so obviously unstable that he automatically becomes unelectable?” When commenters demand proof of something that has been written about so widely, particularly at this site, and is widely acknowledged well beyond this site, I frankly wonder about their bona fides or their ability to process information.
Gingrich’s famously unstable and erratic public character is shown chiefly in the fact that he repeatedly comes out with super-charged statements and important-sounding positions which get conservatives excited, but which he then immediately contradicts or abandons for other super-charged statements and important-sounding positions. It is shown in the fact that there is no connection between his words and his actions. There is no continuity—i.e., stability—to the man, and thus he would be, at best, deeply problematic in any high leadership position, as his House colleagues found him to be.
See, for example, this entry from last May, where I wrote:
… Gingrich can send out impressive intellectual sparks, but then he does things like make Al Sharpton his partner in a speaking tour, or team up with Nancy Pelosi on global warming and Cap and Trade, showing that there is zero reality behind his intelligent- and conservative-sounding words. The man is a talented producer of words, but there is nobody home. Or, to use Gingrich-speak, there is literally nobody home. (See my summing up of his character and modus operandi.)
Well, on Monday Gingrich made my point for me, in a way that no conservative could miss. He said that the Republican Medicare plan is “right-wing social engineering,” and is just as bad as the left-wing social engineering of Obamacare. Just as bad as Obamacare? Meaning, that a serious attempt to scale back the statism which threatens to bankrupt our country, is as bad as the statism which Gingrich says threatens to destroy our country?
I’m glad to see that the House Republicans denounced him over it. One representative said, “Typically, you’ll find people in a presidential campaign running against the current president of another party, rather than running against their own party.” And Paul Ryan said, “With allies like that, who needs the left?” Exactamundo.
See also this
, from Quin Hillyer at The American Spectator, today:
[T]he same Gingrich who plays such a tough, fearless, larger-than-life figure on stage is also the Gingrich quoted multiple times, by multiple people, saying that every time he got around Bill Clinton he (Gingrich) would just “melt.” He’s also the guy who loudly proclaims one thing in public but does just the opposite in private—perhaps a common fault in some politician’s personal lives, but the problem here is that he did this on policy questions too, all the time, leaving allies and colleagues hanging while he shifted to some new idea or, worse, just a new pose.
Bill in Virginia writes:
You quote an entry from last year in which you said:
on Monday Gingrich … said that the Republican Medicare plan is “right-wing social engineering,” and is just as bad as the left-wing social engineering of Obamacare. Just as bad as Obamacare? Meaning, that a serious attempt to scale back the statism which threatens to bankrupt our country, is as bad as the statism which Gingrich says threatens to destroy our country?
The video in the Politico story you linked does not show the hypothetical put to Gingrich by interviewer David Gregory—should Republicans implement a plan to transform Medicare in the face of public opposition?
“Do you think Republicans ought to buck the public opposition and really move forward to completely change Medicare, turn it into a voucher program where you give seniors some premium support so that they can go out and buy private insurance?” NBC’s David Gregory asked Gingrich on Meet the Press.
A reasonable interpretation of this is that, in Gingrich’s mind, the “social engineering” lies not in the content of the Ryan plan but in its imposition against the public will, as with Obamacare.
“I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering,” Gingrich said. “I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for free society to operate. I think we need a national conversation to get to a better Medicare system with more choices for seniors, but there are specific things you can do.”
[Gingrich describes how large scale fraud in Medicare and Medicaid can be reduced] “But not what Paul Ryan is suggesting, completely change Medicare?” Gregory wondered.
“I think that is too big a jump. I think you want to have a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options, not one where you suddenly impose upon the—I’m against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change,” Gingrich replied.
When challenged about this on FOX News Special Report, Gingrich denied calling the Ryan plan “social engineering” and suggested that his interviewers go back and read what he actually said, and the question he was responding to; apparently no one did, so in the end he had to cooperate with the inevitable and apologize.
See video for the complete context.
I don’t agree. In the context of that discussion, the “right-wing social engineering” to which he was referring was clearly the Ryan plan.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 23, 2012 05:56 PM | Send
It’s like when George W. Busheròn had a press conference with El Presidente Fox, and a reporter asked Busheròn what he thought of the Minutemen, and he said the he didn’t approve of “vigilantes.” Now did he say, quote unquote, “The Minutemen are vigilantes”? No. But in the context of the exchange, he was self-evidently talking about the Minutemen and calling them vigilantes.
Same here. G. did not say, quote unquote, “The Ryan plan is right-wing social engineering.” But in the context of everything said in that exchange he was obviously talking about the Ryan plan. He himself goes back and says that it’s the Ryan plan he is talking about.
And the notion that social engineering consists in whether the public supports a social engineering law, rather than in the substance of what the social engineering law actually does, is sophistic.