The New York Times' Bill Keller wants Hillary Clinton to replace Joe Biden on the Obama re-election ticket, but a better, likelier choice by far is available—one Newton Leroy Gingrich, reputedly a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination but in fact, an Obama surrogate working for Democratic victory in November.
I have proof. That's to say, Gingrich keeps opening his mouth. Aargghhhh. The stuff that spills out!
The terrible, horrible, no good, please-go-away race for the Republican presidential nomination has the potential to deliver President Obama the kind of ringing affirmation that seemed impossible not many months ago. That was before the former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives began shrieking his dislike and contempt for, well, the candidate likeliest to deny him, Newt Gingrich. Can you imagine it for a second?—the right to make over America in his personal and intellectual image.
No one treats Newton Leroy Gingrich like that and gets away with it. No one. If Republican voters are duped somehow into misappraising his genius and they spurn his suit, Gingrich appears to have decided, perhaps after consultation with heaven, that he'll show 'em. He'll pull down the temple, Samson-like. (Newton Gingrich fancies comparison to the strong and the brave.) Beneath the Republican ruins, we'll lie and sigh while the proud van of the Obama campaign sweeps past to victory.
Gingrich as a vice presidential nominee? Why not? Who can fairly be judged at this point to have done more than Newton Gingrich to undermine the Obama resistance movement?
In a New Hampshire debate, the former speaker of the House instructs his main presidential rival, Mitt Romney, to drop the "pious baloney." Nice, high-toned language, don't you agree? Very presidential. But we have to move on quickly, to ingest the news that Newton Leroy Gingrich, with the aid of a gambling baron from Nevada, will be distributing far and wide a 28-minute documentary purporting to expose the seamy side of Mitt Romney—his heartlessness, as head of an investment firm, in trying to restore the fortunes of failed or failing companies. Romney says his stewardship created a net 100,000 jobs, notwithstanding that other jobs were eliminated in the process.
As it happens, the Romney record at Bain Capital (the firm he left in 1999) is a favorite Democratic theme. The day before the New Hampshire primary, the Democratic National Committee released a web video making essentially the same charges as Gingrich. The Democrats—with little to tout in the way of economy-reviving policies—have long promised to throw Bain's "job destruction" record in the face of a GOP ticket headed by Romney. Why wait? the ex-speaker seems to reason. Let's do it now, since nothing else seems to be helping the Gingrich campaign.
The Bain story is complex as all get-out, even for the Wall Street Journal's attempt this week, in a news story, to simplify the matter. This is all the more reason to handle the story gingerly. Ah, but "gingerly" isn't the Gingrich style. Nothing else will do for Gingrich but that Bain Capital's attempts to turn around hard-up companies represent greed and contempt for all but the wealthy. Exactly—as Romney points out—"the type of criticism we've come to expect from President Obama and his left-wing allies at Moveon.org."
Even without Newton Leroy, the GOP presidential quest, with its mostly B-list roster of candidates, would have been less than inspirational. With him, the contest turns potentially fratricidal, just when the party should be starting to consider the healing of wounds, the unification of message, the overdue observance of Ronald Reagan's once-famous 11th Commandment—to speak no ill of a fellow Republican.
Obama-Gingrich—the sound of such a political union has a rich ring, in spite of what one knows already about Barack Obama; namely, he understands the futility of joining forces with a fellow know-it-all. Newton Leroy Gingrich is anything but the easiest man in America to live with—as two ex-wives might some day be induced to explain.
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William Murchison is a corresponding editor of Chronicles and the author of The Cost of Liberty: The Life of John Dickinson (ISI) and Mortal Follies: Episcopalians and the Crisis of Mainline Christianity. William Murchison, syndicated columnist and longtime commentator on religious, cultural, and political affairs, has contributed to many national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, National Review, The Weekly Standard, and First Things.