As this post’s title says, this is about Newt Gingrich’s demon — in the singular, not plural. While his failings, both public and private, are numerous and gravely troubling, one blog post cannot begin to offer the fair and thorough treatment that those many issues warrant. If Newt stays in contention, our future blogs during the next year will examine his ethical lapses, influence peddling, hypocrisies, inconsistencies, duplicity, grandiosity, breaches of candor, marital infidelities, political treacheries, disloyalties, and other transgressions. But, in an important sense, these other calamitous failings all trace back to the same root character flaw: arrogance. And that arrogance is what seems likely to prevent Gingrich from getting elected. Even more predictably, it is what would cause the decline of America in a Gingrich presidency.
Just listen to what those who have observed him say:
- Charles Krauthammer, Fox News commentator, makes clear that Gingrich’s prideful arrogance makes him an unreliable and, by unstated inferences, even a corrupt ally: one who betrays Republicans and conservatives in order to team up with Nancy Pelosi on global warming…. who takes $30,000 a month from Freddie Mac, a “parasitic federal creation” even while he urged that “those in Congress who aided and abetted it should be imprisoned”…. Who took more than $1.5 million as an influence peddlar. Krauthammer then goes on to voice warnings to Republicans and conservatives: “Thinking of himself as a grand world-historical figure, attuned to the latest intellectual trend (preferably one with a tinge of futurism and science, like global warming), demonstrating his own incomparable depth and farsightedness. Made even more profound and fundamental — his favorite adjectives — if done in collaboration with a Nancy Pelosi, Patrick Kennedy or even Al Sharpton, offering yet more evidence of transcendent, trans-partisan uniqueness.” The warning to Republicans is clear: Gingrich’s arrogant pride makes him unreliable, unpredictable and potentially disloyal — not the candidate you want to lead your party as its presidential candidate.
- George Will, conservative commentator, also sounds an alarm in speaking about Gingrich’s prideful arrogance: “This is the guy who sees himself as the combination of Churchill and DeGaulle and the embodiment of a nation in deep peril. The stage has to be lit by the fires of crisis and grandeur to suit Newt.” Will continues: “[Thinking that] he’s the smartest guy in the room”, Wills says he has been ensnared by grandiose big government plans and “intellectual fads” for decades. And Will further warns: “Expect these patterns to manifest themselves again. If Newt Gingrich has any pattern at all — and he does– it is a pattern of getting himself into trouble. The reason is he thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room.” And his arrogance also leads him to think that the usual rules don’t apply to him. For that reason, his track record “embodies almost everything disagreeable about modern Washington.”
Note that Krauthammer and Will are Republican conservatives … just imagine what independents will come to think of Gingrich as the 2012 election approaches.