Apr. 18th, 2009

sisyphusshrugged: (Default)
so did you know Newt Gingrich is making a comeback?

Not in the general sense, in which it would be equally correct to say "Newt Gingrich is a bipedal hominid" or "Newt Gingrich is very popular with people who are impressed by Newt Gingrich," two other things which have remained constant since the brief period a decade and a half or so ago in which Newt Gingrich had attained something to come back to (that attainment, specifically, having been a series of press releases with a shallowly wonkish populist air which sanitized his actual revolution in governance, the discovery that as long as the other party is getting the work done you have all the time in the world to huddle with a thesaurus and a focus group to come up with new ways to say that they suck, earning the deep gratitude of lazy reporters and periodic maybe-comeback stories since to fill us in on his growing influence—did you know that Newt is a major cause of teabagging in others? or not, maybe, or maybe not. But that's news, right?).

No, this is more in the specific soft promo from the AP showing our boy running through the fields in a gauzy sundress with a pound of vaseline on the lens sense, in which we learn that Newt Gingrich is a bipedal hominid, Newt Gingrich is very popular with people who are impressed by Newt Gingrich (lord only knows he never fails to slay Grover Norquist), and that the target reader for this story is some combination of sixteen years old, without access to Google, and/or spent the nineties in a coma.

Thus, in the below-the-fold plausible deniability section in which we discuss the bagatelles which sunk all his unmentioned previous comebacks (the circumstances of his meet cute with the current Mrs. Gingrich, not here identified as the current Mrs. Gingrich, presumably as it would clash with her current public persona of The Deeply Holy Woman who Brought Him Prayerfully and with a Really, Really Loud Joyful Noise into the Arms of the Church a Lot of Hispanic Voters and Disaffected Urban Blue-Collar Ethnics Belong To, Which Entrance was Made Retroactive to the Days Before Vatican 2, understandably get pride of place), we get this

In those days, his temper was notorious. After complaining about the seating arrangement on Air Force One returning from a state funeral in Israel, Gingrich was famously depicted on the cover of the New York Daily News as a wailing baby in a diaper. He was blamed for shutting down the federal government in a budget dispute.

Oh, the dire poverty of that sad little "he was blamed."

See, for a while after his public ethical issues and semi-private marital difficulties (Howard Kurtz and his friends knew, his then-wife didn't) damaged the Republican brand to the point that he was driven out of congress in a grand revenge-tragedy explosion of backstabbing and intrigue (watch for a particularly juicy cameo by previous fresh face of Republican Change Mr. Boehner, in the role of Yon Guyye who Cant Wynne for Losingge, who finally came down hard on the side of the other guy with the zipper issues), Mr. Gingrich was reluctant to own the whole mindless public relations obstructionism thing.

That was then. Now it's official strategy (per same Mr. Boehner, whose position as the Republican leader in the House is that they can't be asked to work under these conditions), and as recently as September Newt wanted very badly to let you know that he owns Republican congressional obstructionism, thank you very much

Gingrich's political game of chicken with then-President Bill Clinton led to two government shutdowns in late 1995 and early 1996. The moves backfired, and polls showed more Americans blamed Gingrich. But he defends his decisions.

"We shut the federal government down, for a brief period, in order to get a balanced budget," he told CNN Radio. "That was a deliberate systematic strategy."

But, you know, context is everything, and removing this particular statement from its context robs half the fun from it.

The former Speaker was explaining what the thinking was behind his government shutdowns (yeah, there were two) in the context of threatening another government shutdown

House Republicans brought Gingrich to the Capitol on Wednesday, partly to revive media coverage of their speech-making protest in the chamber, now in its fourth day.

The rest of Congress is gone for August recess, but several Republican House members have been speaking on the floor of the closed-down chamber, calling for a special session to vote on drilling and energy.

Gingrich did attract more camera crews, and he used the opportunity to point to what may be the GOP's next strategy: If Democrats refuse to hold a separate vote on oil drilling, Republicans could try to block the votes needed to keep government running past September 30.

"Are [Democrats] really prepared to close the government in order to stop drilling?" Gingrich asked. "Because I think the country will find that to be a suicidal strategy."

You may recall that Mr. Clinton similarly forced Newt's hand last time by not letting him use his preferred door to deplane from Air Force One

I confidently expect that Newt will spend much of the coming year in a confessional attempting to negotiate, but for now he's definitely back, at least until private polling once more convinces him that the nongovernmental sector needs him more, or Sarah Palin throws the towel in, whichever comes first.

In either case, history teaches us that essentially this article will appear at regular intervals til then, and be equally as hard-hitting and timely.

In other hard-hitting and timely news, Mike Allen will get back to us with the on-the-record thoughts of former Bush administration figures about Obama and how funny his mother dresses him just as soon as he can find some who aren't too intimidated to be willing to speak on the record, as opposed to, say, writing a piece on the subject for the Wall Street Journal.

and because the world needs more freak shows, Rod Blagojovich is trying to get permission to go on reality TV as a contestant.


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