Newt Surges

By Jeffrey Page
Look, I don’t know how else to put this so I’ll just come out and say it.

When I grow up, I want to be Newt Gingrich because I can’t think of anyone who gets away with more mischief quite so easily, except perhaps for Dennis the Menace. It’s the kind of naughtiness that would reduce most other pols to a laughing stock. But Newt’s slick.

One stunt after another, our irrepressible Newt just keeps coming back and he’s just so damned cute you want to give him a big hug and say, “It’s all right Newtie. You did bad, but we love ya, ya great little kid.”

Example: What would happen if you were running for president, and took a few weeks off to go on a cruise through the Greek Isles when you should have been campaigning in Iowa? That’s what Newt did, and when his campaign staff quit, he justified his personal Odyssey by saying – without giggling – that the trip had given him sharp new insight into the serious condition of the Greek economy. Newt really did offer that lame brain explanation. He said he spoke with several Greek people about their situation, but he didn’t name any of them.

The story of Newt’s political sliminess has been told before. But there are stories that bear repeating because nowadays, with the Republicans running out of goofballs, Gingrich is striking some people as presidential timber by default.

Most recently, it was reported that Gingrich took $1.6 million from Freddie Mac. It was not for lobbying services but because the federal mortgage agency was interested in history, said Newt, who, coincidentally holds a PhD in history.

It ought to be noted that while Freddie Mac is in the domestic mortgage business, Gingrich’s area of doctoral expertise is elsewhere. In fact, his dissertation was titled: “Belgian Education Policy in the Congo: 1945-1960.”

Then there’s Newt’s undying belief in marriage. He so ardently embraces the traditional form of the institution that he says same-sex marriage is a “temporary aberration” that will go away some day. I don’t know about you, but this somehow strikes me as the moral equivalent of suggesting that the changes in America brought about by Rosa Parks’s bus ride home was a temporary aberration that will go away some day.

“I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Newt said last summer.
So strongly does he hold to the view that if a man wants to get married it must be to a woman that he’s done it three times himself, and some of these relationships even overlapped a little. For more information, consult Jackie Battley Gingrich (No. 1), Marianne Ginther Gingrich (No. 2), or Callista Bisek Gingrich (No. 3) about Newt’s devotion to wedlock.

Once, when he was Speaker of the House, Newt was flying back to America from Jerusalem aboard Air Force One with President Clinton. They had attended the funeral of the assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Gingrich was angry with Clinton’s assigning him a seat in the rear of the plane.

Boy, was he ever miffed. So, being the mature man of principle that he is, Newt retaliated by allowing government to shut down for a while. He figured this was a good way to get back at Clinton.

Enough! I don’t really want to be like Newt. In fact, as a walkaway to this column, I offer you what could be the single best description of Newt ever uttered.

“ … there’s the fact that he appears to be a really irritating, self-involved, pompous jerk. Voters aren’t crazy about that. Not to put too fine a point on it,” said the great Gail Collins in the Times.


3 Responses to “Newt Surges”

  1. Jo Galante Cicale Says:

    It’s just the hypocrisy of it all. But I get angry at how much money he – and others – make just from campaigning. Campaigning has become nothing more than a way to line pockets. You know that people like Newt live in glass houses!

  2. Jeffrey Page Says:

    Thanks, Jo. I’m recalling the words of my wife’s grandfather who said he would never vote for an honest man because he didn’t want to be responsible for his eventual corruption.

    The thing about Gingrich is that he has quite so much baggage — character and policy — and yet is still taken seriously as a candidate to be president.

    Happy T’giving.


  3. sherry Says:

    It really tickled me years ago to find out that one of his books at first went to the ‘remaindered’ section of bookstores and was later recycled into toilet paper.

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