Friday, February 10, 2012

Statesman And Bad Boy

With Newt Gingrich decreasing and Rick Santorum increasing, David Corn at Mother Jones gives the ex-speaker his due:

For years, Gingrich has led a double life. There's the bad Newt who has counseled his fellow Republicans to call Democrats immoral traitors who betray the nation, who has railed against gay-rights-loving secular socialists hell-bent on controlling and ruining the United States, and who has used racially coded language to assail Barack Obama as a "food stamp president" who can only be understood as someone with a Kenyan anti-colonialist mindset. Then there's the other Newt, who does seem to care about real problems confronting the nation and who genuinely wants to collaborate with experts (and even Democrats!) to reach non-partisan solutions. (Google "couch, Gingrich, Pelosi.")...

Gingrich does have the capacity to be a respected policy statesman—one of the elites!—which clearly is one of his aims. But he cannot resist being the flame-throwing bad boy of American politics. And it's tough to be both. Jekyll was a philanthropist who couldn't say no to his uncivilized urges. And Gingrich has been as unsuccessful as the Victorian-age doctor in controlling his darker impulses. His inability to resolve such a fundamental internal conflict may well be his biggest obstacle to becoming president.

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