My finger on the Gingrich lever?
(A hypothetical doomsday scenario which gives me nightmares...)

Last night I looked at this scary chart, and I had trouble sleeping:


While it's nice to see that Sarah Palin is number one, my concern is seeing that a man who has stated he wants Singapore-style drug law enforcement for the United States is in the position of being a serious contender for the presidency.

If Sarah Palin were to bow out, I think Gingrich would have it.

That's because Romney and Huckabee tend to cancel each other out (which resulted in the McCain victory in the last primary). Moreover, as there has been collaboration between Gingrich and Huckabee in the past, Huckabee's supporters would most likely be directed to Gingrich if Huckabee were to realize the inevitability of his defeat and drop out.

So, not only do I love Sarah Palin more than ever, I have to. She is the only thing standing between Newt Gingrich and the nomination.

I don't like having to think about something unthinkable: whether I could pull the lever for Newt Gingrich. For President! Could I (if I absolutely had to) hold my nose and vote for him over Barack Obama? It's such a toughie that despite serious misgivings I might consider voting for the Libertarian Party.

The Singapore (death penalty) solution aside, Newt Gingrich just plain irritates me. He irritates a lot of people, and he knows this but doesn't think it matters:

Despite his fiery personality, Gingrich said he wasn't worried that his comments would turn off moderate voters. At a time when the economy remains fragile, Americans want results and aren't worried about personality, he said.

"I think likable is a word you have to think about a lot," said Gingrich. "If people believe their country is in trouble, they want a captain of the lifeboat, they don't want a fraternity brother."

Not only does such talk epitomize the man's arrogance, but I'm not sure I even agree with his lifeboat analogy. A "lifeboat" implies that the ship is going to sink, and if this country is sinking, I would like to stay and try to keep it afloat. I would not want to get into a lifeboat -- much less one commanded by Newt Gingrich. For starters, unlike Gingrich, I don't think the word "secular" is a synonymous with evil, or atheist, or that it indicates "a relentless anti-religious bias," and I resent the way he demagogically conflates secular with socialism. Few things are as secular in nature as the United States Constitution, which protects all religions equally while favoring none. From the way Gingrich talks, he seems to believe not merely in putting God into government, but in religious favoritism.

There is certainly no love lost between Gingrich and Palin. In fact, there is a fierce Palin-Gingrich proxy war which led to the Gingrich backed candidate accusing the Palin candidate of being soft on homos!

No, seriously:

...Palin hasn't taken any really big risks, until this last week, when she endorsed former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel. Within hours, this action created a surrogate showdown with Georgia's own Newt Gingrich, who endorsed (in person, and in Georgia, not on Facebook) his former House colleague Nathan Deal. This could not have come as a great surprise to Palin, since Gingrich had already cut an ad for Deal and spoken warmly of him even as the Georgia gubernatorial race became extraordinarily bitter. But Handel was just too tempting an endorsee for Palin: like Haley, she's cast herself as a "conservative reformer" taking on the corrupt "good ol' boys" of Georgia politics, and was already rising in the polls towards a runoff spot.

Palin's intervention clearly fired up the other candidates. With just days to go before the July 20 primary, Deal has gone after Handel with a clawhammer of an ad, scorching her for alleged former membership in the Log Cabin Republicans, the gay GOP group that's about as popular among Georgia conservatives as an evening with Barack Obama.

Log cabin homo lover or not, Handel edged out Deal in the primary (33% to 24%), which means there will be a runoff election. On August 10.
Both have big names in their corners.

Deal had been a congressman from Gainesville and has the backing of former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Handel used to be secretary of state and her campaign has been buoyed by the backing of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Well, Georgia is Gingrich's own state. If his candidate can't beat Palin's candidate, I'd say things are looking up, and maybe I won't have to worry about the hypothetical doomsday scenario of pulling the Gingrich lever.

UPDATE: "Sic 'im, Palinistas!"

posted by Eric on 07.28.10 at 01:59 PM


If he gets the nomination, I'll vote libertarian or sit on my hands. I'm a Christian, SO What! That man is scary!. meanwhile, I have to sit on my hands here in Cal. this year, I will NOT vote for Meg, she is already a proven liar, God help us but Jerry Brown might come back to haunt us yet a 3rd time

bobnormal   ·  July 28, 2010 4:46 PM

Gingrich or Huckabee either one would cause me to be very unhappy.

Donna B.   ·  July 28, 2010 5:26 PM

Well, Gingrich epitomizes Big Government Conservatism. (Which many people think is an oxymoron.) But many of the conservative think tanks like him, so he can count on plenty of support.

Eric Scheie   ·  July 28, 2010 5:31 PM

Conservatism was destroyed in the early 1900s when conservatives allied themselves with the Progressives.

Since then the Progressive movement has bifurcated. The left handles the economic side of the Progressive goals and the right handles the social goals.

M. Simon   ·  July 28, 2010 8:36 PM

With all respect, Mr. Simon, there were no conservatives (in the modern Buckleyesque sense) in the early 1900s. There was nothing to be conservative about, despite Wilson's fascination with Progressivism. True, there were people called conservative, but reactionary or status-quotarian might be more appropriate. "If it was good enough for my father, and my grandfather, it's good enough for me." As long as you were a white, Protestant male. :)

I would say the reactionaries in the GOP before the mid-1950s helped establish the modern meme of "the party of NO," since they had no real ideology for framework. Modern conservatism was arguably born from the Buckley-Goldwater-Reagan axis.

I suspect that if Goldwater were campaigning today, he would be labeled a libertarian, or at least conservative/libertarian.

One major reason modern conservatism is in a mess is the fall of the USSR. Anti-Communism was one of the keystones of the ideology, and once most communist regimes fell apart, there wasn't much left to resist. For all their trouble-making, North Korea is a bigger concern to China and South Korea than the US, and Cuba is just, well, sad. China is migrating to a capitalist/totalitarian form of government, and Vietnam is officially Communist and actually capitalist.

Alas, vigorous support for the GWOT just isn't the same, especially considering the large role neo-cons have played there. We all know the definition of neo-con, no? :) Nope, not a useful tent post for conservatism.

Another major source of confusion was the Clinton era. Slick Willy declared that the era of Big Government was over, balanced the budget (yes, I know, the GOP pushed him {g}), and people thought we were facing the end of history. No one could touch the US, the government wasn't screwing things up too badly, and folks were making money. Only crazy Federalists were still unhappy.

Finally, for the past 30 years social conservatives have been insisting that they're the only "real" conservatives. Absent major existential foreign threats, or internal debacles like Obamacare, there's been no other core issue to differentiate social conservatives from political conservatives.

As for the current crop of candidates; Gingrich is a pretty decent policy wonk, but not so hot on running the party. Add to that other issues such as trying to preempt the Democrats as the 'green' party (Global Warming), and I'll pass.

Huckabee is too populist. Romney is Obama-lite. I like Sarah, but she shot herself in the foot when she quit the governorship, if she's aiming for the presidency. While I still yearn for Fred Thompson, and wouldn't mind Giuliani, let's not forget Bobby Jindal, or (better yet) Chris Christie. The latter is starting to look pretty good to me, and us "big" guys gotta stick together. :)

Casey   ·  July 28, 2010 9:19 PM

Gingrich's big government attitudes and "kill 'em!" policies towards the Drug War are what I find most alarming about him. His anti-secularism rants I just put down to background Republican base-pandering.*

Huckabee's big govermentism and hard-core social conservatism annoy me.

Romney, as Casey said, has the record of an Obama-lite.

Palin's reputation is shot with a lot of independents, but at least she mentions reducing government power.

More nose-holding, methinks.

*At least, so many seekers of the Republican nomination decry secularism that I treat it as the default position unless they declare otherwise.

Hortensio   ·  July 28, 2010 11:04 PM

Of course the threads are hard to untangle, but W. H. Taft (Republican) opposed alcohol prohibition.

The business of manufacturing alcohol, liquor, and beer will go out of the hands of the law-abiding members of the community, and will be transferred to the quasi-criminal class… large numbers of federal officers will be needed for its enforcement… elections will continuously turn on the rigid or languid execution of the liquor law, as they do now in the prohibition states.

I note it was on practical rather than liberty grounds.

M. Simon   ·  July 29, 2010 12:13 AM

From Salon Magazine:

"The most notorious incident in Gingrich's marriage ... was when he cornered Jackie in her hospital room where she was recovering from uterine cancer surgery and insisted on discussing the terms of the divorce he was seeking. Shortly after that infamous encounter, Gingrich refused to pay his alimony and child-support payments. The First Baptist Church in his hometown had to take up a collection to support the family Gingrich had deserted. Six months after divorcing Jackie, Gingrich married a younger woman, Marianne, with whom he had been having an affair."

This was his first wife, 7 years older and his former teacher, the mother of his children, who put him through college, and this is how he repaid her.

The marriage to the second wife, Marianne, was pretty much of a farce. He carried on an adulterous affair for the last 6 years of this marriage with the woman who would become his third wife.

With this kind of baggage, he doesn't have a hope of being elected President. So why is he running?

Frank   ·  July 29, 2010 1:12 AM

I have told my wife that BO will be reelected. It would certainly happen if this bozo Gingrich was the nominee. Egos of some of these people get in the way of real thought.

LYNNDH   ·  July 29, 2010 3:15 AM

I'd say the Republicans need to start from scratch. The only politician in that list I remotely approve of is Palin, but the so-called independents have bought the left's slanders, and she is probably too wounded to win.

As for the rest of the list, if they were patriots, they wouldn't run. We need a candidate with a political philosophy worth voting for. All these guys have shot their wad.

Brett   ·  July 29, 2010 8:24 AM

Gov. Christie anyone?

I don't know how the man is on social issues (which seem to come to the fore here), but at least he seems honest and straighforward.

William O. B'Livion   ·  July 29, 2010 12:03 PM

"The most notorious incident in Gingrich's marriage ... was when he cornered Jackie in her hospital room where she was recovering from uterine cancer surgery and insisted on discussing the terms of the divorce he was seeking. Shortly after that infamous encounter, Gingrich refused to pay his alimony and child-support payments. The First Baptist Church in his hometown had to take up a collection to support the family Gingrich had deserted. Six months after divorcing Jackie, Gingrich married a younger woman, Marianne, with whom he had been having an affair."

Well, at least he won't be lecturing us about sexual immorality or family values!

Will he?

Eric Scheie   ·  July 29, 2010 6:16 PM

You can count me in as one who will vote Libertarian if Newt is the nominee. His treatment of his wives alone, or his drug warrior insanity alone, would take him out of consideration. Together, they make him a callous, homicidal, untrustworthy and evil man. (Eric, sure he would talk pompously about "family values"; he *is* a hypocrite, after all!) Palin, as other have noted, shot herself in the foot by resigning her post in mid-term. Christie sounds like our best shot,at this point-again, we need to know more. Jan Brewer might be worth considering...

Stewart   ·  July 30, 2010 3:38 AM

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