What About Gingrich?
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
The upper echelons of the Republican Party are in a state of high angst. Their phone lines and e-mails are flashing back and forth with amazing speed and in astounding volumes. Many are showing signs of what we southern folks used to call “the vapors” as they place the back of their open hand to their foreheads and slouch softly to the floor in a state of quiet apoplexy.
So, what’s causing all this? The former Congressman from Georgia, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, one Newton Gingrich… or just plain … Newt.
Cries of “woe is me” echo from the walls of the GOP’s ivory towers. Why, this is unbelievable. Worse, this is unacceptable. It simply cannot be happening … and yet … it IS happening.
The anointed one, Mitt Romney, has, at least for the moment, fallen to the outcast Gingrich. It is as if Sir Lancelot had been bested in a joust with a kitchen knave. It is unheard of. It cannot be. But … it is.
Newt has more baggage than the carousel at the airport. Romney is, well, perfect. And that, dear reader, is a part of the problem conservatives have with Romney. He is a little TOO perfect.
If you never DO anything, you never make mistakes. The more you do, the more mistakes you make. Newt has made a heck of a lot of mistakes.
I have survived 14 US Presidential administrations. I have seen the best of them and I have seen the worst US Presidents in modern history. The best was Ronald Reagan and the worst was Jimmy carter … until Obama. Now Obama holds the title as the worst President in US history.
I am, shall we say, an “older” American. I learned long ago the old saw: “all that glitters is not gold” is absolutely true. I have seen politicians come and go. I have seen some rise to heights never expected of them and I have watched just as many promising young lawmakers crash and burn.
With the country in the mess that it is in, there is something comforting in a candidate with all the warts, hairs, scars, and yes, battle wounds, as well, making himself available to help guide the country out of this mess.
We “old timers” already know Newt’s foibles. We know he is mercurial, egotistical, haughty, and brilliant. We already know of his matrimonial problems. We know he is brainy, zany, and at times -- just plain dumb. He can be courageous or reckless depending upon your viewpoint. Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Great Britain, once said of Newt: “ … he has tons of guts.”
Newt is a contradiction. He can at once be a genius and a dunce. Every kid who has ever been to college knows a person like Newt. Heck, he was our classmate. He’s in our civic club. He goes to our church. He’s the guy in the front office where we work. His name is: Tom, Dick, Harry, John, Jack, Don, and … Newt.
How many Mitt Romneys go to your church, your civic club, or work in your office? See what I mean? Am I making my point here?
My generation knows Newt Gingrich about as well as it is possible to actually know a national politician. We know what he is capable of… the good and the bad. And we are nothing if not practical.
We need a man who can do the dirty work that is needed to get America back on track. And believe me, it will be dirty work.
To get our nation set aright, a lot of Americans are going to have to be “P.O.ed.” It is going to take a President willing to put his head down and plow ahead, against the current, until the job is done. He will, most likely, be a one term President. So many Americans will be so angered that it will probably be at least a generation before his greatness will be officially recognized.
Allow me this analogy: A General needs a soldier for a nearly impossible mission. His troops are standing before him in full brace -- at attention. He can’t help but notice the soldier with the perfectly pressed uniform, the perfectly polished buttons, the regulation haircut, and those sparkling spit shined boots.
Then his attention is drawn to the middle-aged soldier with the broken nose, the scars on his face, the calloused hands, the boots that are polished just enough and a uniform that is slightly rumpled but with a string of hash marks denoting years of devotion and experience in the service of his country.
Care to guess which soldier the General will choose?
There’s no big secret as to why Americans, especially older Americans, are taking a hard look at Newt. They don’t know, I mean REALLY know, Romney. They feel they know Newt, well, enough, anyway, to give him a shot at the Oval Office and one of the most difficult problems every given to a human being.
Nah. There’s no secret here.
J. D. Longstreet