Of course Jackie Gingrich’s daughters aren’t going to line up behind Marianne, whose interview struck me as an anticlimax. I mean, yeah, the guy’s a schmuck–many of us had that one figured out 30 years ago. In the immortal words of the Austin Lounge Lizards, “Gingrich the Newt is puffed up like a toad/So full of himself that he’s bound to explode.”
I was moved listening to Santorum trying to explain to Anderson Cooper or whoever he was talking to after the debate last night about what happened back in the olden days when Newt became Speaker. “In three years,” he said, “They tried to fire him. In four years they did. And the people that led the revolt were conservatives.” Gingrich’s surge is as improbable to me as a triumphant Vanilla Ice comeback tour would be, but so is the idea that America is teetering on the brink of socialism–and that Obama is the “most dangerous president in US history.”
People who hate Obama so viscerally really do want to turn back the clock. So why not reach back into the past for a champion? It makes a kind of rough sense until you remember that Bill Clinton–one of the most villified and certainly one of the most vulnerable presidents we’ve ever had–beat the living crap out of Gingrich. From Katie Bacon’s 2005 interview with John Harris, author of The Survivor, in The Atlantic:
“Mr. President,” Newt Gingrich once threatened Bill Clinton. “We’re going to run you out of town.” Clinton told him in return, “I’m the big rubber clown doll you had as a kid, and every time you hit it, it bounces back. That’s me. The harder you hit me, the faster I come back up.”
Clinton, of course, turned out to be right. Gingrich was the one who was run out of town, while Clinton survived scandal, electoral setbacks, and intense partisan fighting to leave office as popular as he was the day he was elected.
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