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Out of the Billowing Smoke, Emerged Gingrich

January 25th, 2012

Newt’s Revenge Could Kill the GOP Ticket, But My Bro Loves Him

Photo Courtesy Cain and Todd Benson

Ever since Newt’s South Carolinian putsch last weekend, the GOP race has provided some solid Reality Television. Outcomes have never been less certain. The polls are erratic, the pundits are confused, and the guy who wrote this press release feels like his work on Earth is now complete. In such a fast-changing environment, I honestly didn’t know what my brother would make of it.

He is as devout a Dittohead as they come, totally committed to supporting whichever candidate is “the most conservative.” But for what seems like the last 50 months and just as many nationally televised debates, each man, woman and Trump on stage has vied for that title. The current Santorum mess hasn’t altered this competition too much, and for once I had no idea what was going on in my brother’s player piano, Hannity-transcript-playing head.

This is my brother, after all, the “most conservative” person in my life—and in the lives of all of my relatives, even the ones who send me the unsolicited hardcover books from NewsMax.com. In case you’re new to this blog or are wondering how we got here: My brother changed in some fundamentally serious, and some absurd, and other just annoying ways after 9/11. Something was taken from this nation on that day, and I think my brother carries that loss in his anger and his rage.

And so, with that, from there, he arrived to a Sunday morning with Newt in the lead:

By the way, I was thrilled that Gingrich won and would vote for him in a second.

My brother’s sudden Gingrichianism was as surprising, remarkable and depressing as the thought that the portly Georgian will wind up the nominee.

Shocking because it seems clear that the former House speaker is 80 percent sham, a tubby accommodator to whatever works best for him and what sounds best in his professorial decrees, even if those two things have no correlation.

One thinks of the man who led the charge against Bill Clinton’s shameful Oval Office behavior while simultaneously carrying on his own secret affair. Or of the vocal booster of Medicare Part D, one of the country’s most expensive entitlement programs ever devised. Gingrich is ultimately the guy who said that officials at Freddie Mac should be thrown in jail, while simultaneously earning $30,000 a month from the same government-backed organization.

There’s a reason Gingrich can’t claim endorsements from those who worked closest to him in his D.C. prime. He inspired no trust. As David Brooks said, in Newt’s ideal world, “he’d have a six-hour debate, but with himself and all the positions he took five minutes ago.”

Remarkable because if Gingrich wins, it likely leads to Obama’s decisive re-election, an outcome that I am at more or less at peace with, but one that drives every ounce of my brother’s angst. It’s remarkable to think that the GOP would fall on its sword this way. That one of the two great political parties in a our country would embrace this flabby, moon-mining philanderer over a successful executive, a private sector master, and, notably, a father of five and husband to his high school sweetheart for 43 years.

Depressing because any hopeful American who wants progress over dysfunction should root for a healthy Republican party. Depressing because Gingrich is such an obvious sham, a slippery creature born of the Potomac muck, that to think he can so easily dupe the entire Fox Nation with easy applause lines about Marxism and Saul Alinsky is sad. Depressing because I want my brother to be an engaged and passionate political citizen, not a dupe.

The fact that you like Romney better makes me skeptical of Romney.

The reason my brother is forever skeptical of my views is because I supported Obama in 2008. It doesn’t matter that I support Republicans in many states, or that I don’t like everything Obama does. The fact is, if you voted for Obama, your opinions are essentially worthless. Thanks, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter and the rest of you vile people, for tearing my family apart.

Newt stands behind his words and is looking to change his attachment to big government.

Sigh.

But what, for these conservatives, is so wrong with Mitt Romney?! I demand an answer. If I can sort out how my brother thinks, maybe I can understand the entire current Republican mess. As far as I’m concerned, he is the Republican Party’s id. If you took the whole party and its frothiest vox populi and you boiled it all down into one sticky little zealot-lozenge, you’d have my brother.

Romney is a bit lame on the conservative message. He is too moderate on healthcare (hence his Romney Care). Romney is also too indecisive on issues where he should be more conservative-sounding, like shrinking entitlements. He is also been a bit vague on his foreign policy stance.

The most striking element here is the importance on how things “sound.” Never mind his business experience, Romney is lame on “the conservative message.” He should be more “conservative-sounding” and have bolder, more decisive policies on infinitely complex things like foreign policy.

This might be what eight years of decisive George W. Bush got us. Or maybe this is all about the lingering after-effects of 9/11, the residual fear. Things as clearly awful as what happened that day don’t exist in a world of nuance. For my brother, the trauma of 9/11 can only be answered or understood with policies, words and politics equally strong.

Did he watch Monday’s debate?

No. I am following as much as I can.

How come?

Listening to Rush is the best way to follow in my opinion because he sees the truth that you can’t.

Did he listen to the State of the Union?

 No, because Obama sickens me.