Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The many faces of The Newt Who Would Be King

Or, a week in the life of Newt Gingrich*
Sunday:  “Oh Callista”, I call as I rise from my slumber and position my splendid self at the edge of the bed.  I’m momentarily uneasy, and think, “Is it ‘Callista’?  I do so have trouble keeping them straight”.  But she wanders in, radiant in the pastel that makes her look so lovely on-screen productions (I’ll win an Oscar if not the Presidency), apparently happy enough, so I must have got it right.  “Yes Newty-Pie?” she croons. 
“Callista”, I declare.  “I think I should like to be King.  I mean President.  The country is being led downhill by a man who might be a Christian but could be a Muslim; who might have been born in Hawai’i but could have been educated in an Indonesian terrorist camp.  I don’t know what we are coming to.  Shall I run?”  “Of course, Newt”, she replies, which was a great comfort to me, because I had already decided to run, and if she had demurred, I should have divorced her or sent her on a pheasant shoot with Dick Cheney.  “Well, that’s settled” I proclaim.  “Let us pray for victory”.
Monday:  I send an e-mail to my subjects—I mean, supporters—confiding in them (and through them in the mainstream, leftist, radical media) my intention to become Master of the Universe—I mean, President.  I receive touching support from an elderly farmer in Iowa, who declares that Obama is the Anti-Christ, and that I am the man sent down to God by earth to rescue my country.
The critically-minded academic in me is on the verge of pointing out that someone on Social Security, working for a government-subsidised industry might not be the best person to rage against Obama’s secular socialist machine politics, but I send the unworthy thought to an early death and thank the good man for his wishes.
Tuesday:  Today I thought I’d go for the Elder Statesman mien.  The mainstream, leftist, radical, fascist media is assembled at a designated meeting point, fawning over the prospect of my triumphant return to government.  “Ignorance”, I declare, from the podium, “is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star”.  I pull my cloak around me and sweep off the stage.  I can hear them murmuring, wondering what it all means.  I’ll have them eating out of my hand before this is done!
I’ve just fallen asleep when the phone rings.  “Yes?” I mutter grumpily.  “Newt?”  “Yes”.  “I have a proposal for you”.  “Who is this?” I ask, confused.  “Never mind that”, the voice, which sounds vaguely familiar, cuts in.  “What’s important is that I’ve got some great properties you might be interested in, and they can be yours, with a not insubstantial bonus, if you’re prepared to drop out of the race”.  “Preposterous!” I shout, waking Callista.  “You’ll regret, this, Gingrich” the voice snarls before hanging up.  I lie awake, trying to place him.  Could it have been Donald Trump?
Wednesday:  I signal to an assistant.  “It’s time to hit Obama on foreign policy.  Get me the name of one of these Far Eastern intellectuals.  You know the kind...looks like one of these terrorist fellows against whom we’ll be prosecuting the Long War, but is actually an upstanding citizen”.  “I know just the man, Mr Gingrich” he replies.  “Dinesh D’Souza”.  “Is he an Arab?” what’s her name asks.  “Not exactly, but he should do”.  “What’s the long war, dear?” she inquires (what is her name?  Jackie?).  “Oh, I don’t know...just sounded rather grand.  But now that you mention that, I kinda like the sound of that”.
Thursday:  I’m feeling professorial today.  I deliver a lengthy lecture on Lee’s strategy against Hooker at the Battle of Chancellorville, and reporters leave looking confused.  “Did that go poorly?” I ask an aide.  “Not your best, sir.  We must have confused your Historical Society Lecture notes with the ‘Why-the-Environment-is-a-Communist-Plot’ speech papers”.    
I give the correct speech at an event later in the day.  “Mr Gingrich, sir”, a reporter from the mainstream, leftist, radical, fascist, Muslim media asks, “Does President Obama love America?”  I pretend to think for a moment, pausing, head raised, forefinger resting lightly on my chin, my best side towards them as the flashbulbs go.  “Well you’d have to ask him, wouldn’t you?” I reply silkily.  The pens scribble across the notepads.
It’s ridiculously late when the phone rings tonight.  “Do you realise what time it is?” I groan.  “It’s just after 10 pm” a woman on the other line says.  “It is not!” I groan, reaching for the alarm clock, sure it’s at least a few hours ahead of that.  “It is so!” she insists, “Doncha know that Dancing with the Stars just ended?”  “I can promise you it’s not 10pm” I say, less politely.  “Well, in Alaska it is!” “Sarah?” I ask, incredulously.  “No”, she says, sounding flustered, “it’s, er, uhm, Ann Coulter!  I was just hoping you could do us all a favour and drop out of the race.  Y’know, maybe be Vice-President or sumthin’ like that?”  “Get lost!”
Friday:  I go to an event.  The audience are a bunch of men in black suits with sunglasses.  I am somewhat confused.  “Are they blind?” I ask an aide.  “Am I giving the welfare speech?  I only have a copy of the ‘Obama-is-a-radical-racist-Kenyan’ speech”.  He assures me that I have the correct speech, and that these gentlemen merely wish to remain discrete.

I launch into my speech, starting with Obama.  "What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?  This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president.  I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating--none of which was true.  In the Alinsky tradition, he was being the person he needed to be in order to achieve the position he needed to achieve.  He was authentically dishonest".  Applause, and I move onto the best bit.

"This ideological wing of Islam is irreconcilable because it does not accept freedom of conscience [...] Because this war is at its core an ideological war, it is most accurate to think of and identify this war against the Irreconcilable Wing of Islam as the "Long War" [...] The Long War might only last 50-70 years.  Yet, it will probably last much longer".
Rapturous applause.  “Why are they clapping?” I ask an aide.  “I would have thought that solemn nodding would have been more in order”.  “These aren’t members of the public, Mr Gingrich”, he explains, “they’re defence contractors”.  “Oh”.
I seem to be getting the cold shoulder from Callista tonight.  Maybe it was me accidentally calling her ‘Marianne’ this morning over my scrambled eggs.  That was ever such a long time ago, and it could have been worse...I could have called her Jackie--and that was an even longer time ago!
The phone rings.  “Make it fast”, Callista snaps from across the bed.  “Who is it?” I bark.  “It’s, I mean, no-one!”  “What do you want?”  “I was hoping we could declare a truce” Mitt says.  “I won’t mention the divorces and you won’t mention my Mormonism”.  “Deal!” I say, generously, also eager to cut the conversation short so as to not incur Castilla’s ire on this particular subject.  “What about a supplementary truce”, Mitt continues.  “You won’t mention Massachusetts’ healthcare system, and I won’t—”  “You mean Romneycare?  Fat chance!” I laugh, and hang up.
Saturday:  “Oh honey”, I call, playing it safe just in case the memory slips up again.  “Yes, Newty-Pie?” she calls back.  Forgiven.  One does peculiar things when driven to distraction by love of country.
I go to another event in the afternoon.  A heckler, who is probably also a member of the mainstream, leftist, radical, fascist, Muslim, atheist media, calls out, “How can you call Obama weak on foreign policy when he’s bombing Libya?”  “What a silly question”, I sneer.  “He’s got a nuclear arsenal at his disposal, and he’s using conventional weapons!  The man is clearly a gutless anti-American!”  That ought to shut the doubters up!
“But Mr Gingrich, sir”, one of the little swine comes back, “Although you were initially for the no-fly zone, you’ve recently declared yourself against it...could you explain your position at the moment”.  “I’m sorry”, I say snootily, “your microphone doesn’t seem to be working”.
The phone rings just after dinner.  “No Barack, I will not drop out!” I shout into the receiver.  “Calm down Newt”, the voice—not Barack’s—says.  “How much did Trump offer you?”  “What?!” I say indignantly.  “Well I’ll double it”, he says firmly.  “I need Michelle Bachmann to win the nomination so that I can enter the fray as the rational third force, competing against a witless buffoon and a socialist”.  “Well, I don’t need your money!” I say, my face contorting with anger.  “Because even if I don’t become President, I’ll be the next Spielberg!”
“That’s right, my Newty-Pie” says Callista after I’ve hung up.

*Needless to say, this is purely an imaginary exercise on the part of the author, who would not want to be confused with Newt Gingrich—indeed, would take mortal offence at any such confusion.  I am sure that there is a much more sensitive and complex explanation for The Newt’s moral and political triangulation than the rank hypocrisy that I would hypothesise. 

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